International Travel Preparation- Part 2, by O.D.

Yesterday, in Part 1, I shared about the importance of getting your vaccinations before travelling to international destinations. I also shared various preps, including some of the things I find helpful to carry, where I recommend a person stay, and what not to bother with. I also shared that from time to time when I was staying some place for awhile, I have purchased and stashed an old bicycle to have on hand in case I needed to “get out of Dodge” quickly and quietly. No matter whether you are having to get out of Dodge or you are just going about your normal business, you need to be able to walk comfortably. Let’s take a look at what is required for this.

Outfitting The Walkin’ Dude- The Essentials

  • Boots for walking. You need well broken-in boots with toe protection; they need to be tough enough to kick-and-stomp with if it comes down to that.
  • Water storage. I carry two empty Platypus flat-bag water packs in my carry-on luggage plus whatever water bottles I can pick up. Also, I take water purification iodine and a filter straw (I also always carry packets of oral rehydration powder, not just because I might end up despite this precautions with dirty water but in case I come across a child who is dying of dehydration. Some things can’t be passed by). (BTW, recipes for making a fair replica of ORS (oral rehydration solution) from commonly available ingredients are freely to be found on the net. This is absolutely worth knowing.)

  • Personal hygiene. This especially includes gear to clean my teeth, which is necessary to prevent a nagging toothache, plus it’s excellent for morale. In this same way, (excuse me) never forget folded/flat toilet paper and wet wipes Also toss in spare underwear, socks, Vaseline, and foot powder.
  • Cash. I carry cash in four or five places on me and hidden in my gear. Usually, I carry two or three different currencies in small denominations.
  • Miscellaneouis. I pack candles, safety matches, a compass, spare glasses, meds, and bandages.
  • Folding knife. I prefer a straight blade Bowie-style knife. However, I don’t travel with one even inside my hold luggage. I do, however, check out where the nearest kitchen supply store is if assigned somewhere for any length of time, so I can pick up quality knives on-the-fly. Lakeland or Le Creuset are my preferred brands. Generally, I will pick up one 3-4” vegetable blade and one 8-10” meat blade. Empty sheaths in your hold luggage raise no eyebrows during security x-rays. Kitchen supply stores often have knives well after hardware stores and sport stores have sold out. (Also, know where the nearest fishing shop is, because fishing line is something that most people won’t buy early in an emergency; but it’s extremely handy for setting snares and providing early warning, when it’s arranged as appropriate trap lines while you have to sleep. But I digress.)
  • A “sacrificial” wallet, which is an addition to my usual billfold. I need to have something to give up at a government or informal checkpoint so they don’t get too frustrated and either take it out on me or search my gear very very closely and find concealed cash and documents. It should have a reasonable assortment of small bills in currency, a couple of club cards, which are close to expiring and can’t purchase anything anyway, and a sacrificial debit card with about $150 on it in case I get taken under threat to an ATM only to be held to give them some money. (This happened once in Ashgabat 15 years ago.)
  • Copies of passport and visas. I already have these stored online along with all my medical and other travel documentation, but there may be no “online” any more. So, I have a couple of laminated passport copies– one folded down and carried inside the side of my (steel-capped) boot and one plus some $20 bills in the middle of my laundry bag with my dirty underwear. Dog-tags are too military in appearance. For ID, I suggest laminating a goodly selection of your business cards (unless you work for one of the three letter agencies that specialize in domestic and international destabilization, such as CIA, NBC, CNN, DNC, et cetera).
  • Backpack, of course. It should not be camo. I steer away from everything camo because of the likelihood of being mistaken for one side or the other in an insurrection or civil war or invasion scenario. It should be waterproof, capable of expansion, but compact enough to fit in an overhead locker by bus, train, or plane. Most luggage sold for commercial airline travel is totally not fit for our purposes. Shop at a hiking shop instead.
  • Rain gear (unless you’re somewhere where it never rains). I prefer a grey or black poncho with a hood.

Add-on Items Based on Problem, Location, and Capacity

  • Magnesium fire striker,
  • Larger-than-straw-capacity water filter,
  • Freeze-dried food,
  • LED head torch,
  • USB charger,
  • Paper maps,
  • More clothing layers,
  • Newspaper (for impromptu torso armor),
  • Neck protection (both thermal and against choking holds, remember James Woods’ kit-out in the movie Vampires, and
  • Shin protection.


I have experimented with various rocket stoves et cetera. They are difficult to pack and carry, in my opinion. My cooking plan is a couple of foil trays and a folded pack of aluminium sheets. Also, my canteen has a “heatable” lower half cover.

Phone Charging

Maybe I’ll take some extra power capacity for my phones. If so, I’ll have a solar panel (the same size as the phone) to recharge, and use a strict 12-or 24-hourly schedule of five minutes use at a time, listening out.


  • Field glasses,
  • Small toolkit (screwdriver, pliers, hammer), which be needed to opportunistically enter deserted facilities,,
  • Can opener,
  • MREs,
  • Beef and fruit jerky,
  • Back-up TP,
  • Duct tape, and
  • If feasible, a hatchet/tomahawk in a belt carry.

What I Used To Carry and Ditched Long Ago

It all got too bulky. If there is anything more futile than trying to escape from a difficult situation with a suitcase-on-wheels I’d like to know.

  • Clothes. By the times the ones I’ll walk away with are wearing out, there will be other sources available I believe.
  • Food. Nah, I can’t carry that much bulk. Freeze-dried food gives me the best bang for the buck for medium-term use. Living off beef and fruit jerky has worked well for me in the short term. I’ve checked in the field. Luckily, I’m not caffeine-addicted; and while for a while I used to carry flavor sachets to make drinking water more palatable, I am now quite used to drinking straight iodized water.
  • Gadgetry. While I would like to carry my Kindle with 2,000 books on it, it would be one of the first things I would drop at side of the road. I’d carry my phone and a solar charger for as long as the grid was up. Thereafter, there’d be no point. I really lust after night (i.e. thermal) vision, but it is way too expensive, way too power-demanding, and it doesn’t fit my look of end-of-life geezerism.
  • Distractions. The only book I carry is the Merck Manual, because that’s the handbook of my profession. I would try to keep that to the bitter end. (The pages from the psychiatry section could be useful as emergency TP, too.)

Personal Security

My preferred tactics for personal security are to avoid and/or run away. If however trouble is unavoidable, I want deterrence to start at your first sight of me. I wanna look scruffy, underequipped, and down on my luck. Basically, I want you to think I’m not worth your trouble. On second glance, I want you to think I’m gonna be too much trouble. If we come into close contact, I want them to find I’m more trouble than I looked to be.

I do practice running and yelling, running at you and yelling, and running away and not looking back, because if I look back I will slow down and may trip and fall.

“Why no guns?,” I hear you ask. From my point of view, with very rare exceptions in all of the places I have worked and travelled, foreigners can’t legally buy guns. Getting picked up with a firearm by the local law means a very long time in a very bad jail. Also, I blame it on Heinlein’s juvenile science fiction masterpiece Tunnel in the Sky (again); I’m pretty sure I will not be inclined to swagger down the main street for a showdown armed with only a trusty walking stick and a pair of steel capped boots. If I was wandering around with a Mossberg at high port, my mouth and attitude might write a check that I wouldn’t want to cash. YMMV, I’m doing what I think is best for me.


Maybe I would make it only as far as the nearest coastline in the direction of home. Maybe I wouldn’t get even that far. But I intend to try, and my plan will be to get all the way home, somehow. Wish me luck.

See Also:

International Travel Preparation- Part 1, by O.D.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part two of a two part entry for Round 72 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value), and

Round 72 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. OK! I assembled all the gear and It’s more than I can lift. This seems to be the problem every time I see someone’s BOB or GHB as well. My wife and I travel a lot and everything fits in a carry on sized bag. Am I ready for that unpredictable SHTF event. I guess not. It also seems to be the case for all the 1st aid kits I see described. My theory is that if it isn’t truly something that is easy to carry all the time you won’t carry it and thus when TSHTF it will be a perfect survival kit at home in your closet. ALL of these kits need to go on a diet. How to do that is the tough question.

    1. A upgraded memory card in your phone will easily fit your maps,charts,back up passport,records,books,photos(wife,kids-conversation starters to make you more human to someone you are trying to influence) and no weight/space penalty.

  2. Camouflage is actually illegal in some countries (specifically in parts of Africa). I buy clothing on the local economy right away as nothing quite makes a person stand out as clothes for the US market.


  3. Thanks for the info. Might start bringing a few more items that you listed. I have been reading these from Saudi Arabia. I have to come here for 3 weeks every year for work. It’s hard to travel for business and be prepared. Hope and a fighting spirit are the two best things we have. God willing we will make it home if anything happens.

  4. One thing that worked for me in a couple of places, and really saved my bacon once was to pick up a fillet or kitchen knife using a makeshift sheath made of cardboard or newspaper; tucked into my waistband under a shirt is quite useful. Another item is a short machete (around 12″) wrapped in newspaper or cardboard tucked under my left arm was comforting and unobtrusive. Of course that would depend upon your location: In much of South or Central America, it wouldn’t raise a glance, however in London you would get arrested! Of course a roll of quarters, a jaunty cane, or a sock with a (unopened)can of soda in it were always old standby security items of us old sailors when in foreign ports.

Comments are closed.