Tips on Being Prepared, While Traveling

At Dark Angel Medical, we spend a decent amount of time traveling around the US, and all of us have experience bouncing back and forth between the US and foreign assignments. We’ve learned that limitations in your daily carry, time zone changes, and unfamiliar geographic areas can put you behind on your preparedness game.

Your destination and mode of transport play a huge part in influencing how you prepare. This week, I’m flying to a Critical Care Medical Conference in Texas so it got me thinking about the issues I face while making my travel plans. on this topic. For instance:

  • What do I know about my destination? Do I have any friends or family there?
  • Where is my lodging? Is it in a safe part of town, accessible to stores I may need, and is there a hospital nearby?
  • Are there any political, civil or other unrest issues in the area?
  • Are there any local environment health issues for which I need to prepare?
  • Do I have a layover? Do I know anyone in that area, and what’s my plan if I get stuck there unexpectedly?
  • Transportation: How am I getting to where I’m going? What’s my contingency plan if the rental car company doesn’t have my vehicle, or if my ride doesn’t show?
  • Packing
    • Checked bag (s)
      • Am I bringing a firearm and are there legal issues involved (CHL, etc.)?
      • Do I need extra layers for specific weather or activities?
      • Duffle vs. wheeled suitcase: how far will I need to carry my bags? Will there be space for a larger, wheeled bag, or should I opt for something more lightweight?
    • Carry-on
      • Power for my devices:- I always bring a battery to charge my phone, and to data- isolate it from USB ports, batteries, power cords etc. This helps keep my secure information from being hacked.
      • Rain or inclement weather gear- it could be warm and dry at takeoff, but cold and wet at my destination.
      • Clothing for 24 hours +/- Checked baggage can go missing, and it follows Murphy’s law- if you don’t prepare, your suitcase will vanish into thin air!
      • Meds and hygiene items. You’ll need a written Rx for overseas travel (your pharmacist can print them out for you). Don’t forget contact lens supplies!
      • “Sterilizing” for TSA- make sure nothing in your carry-on is on the forbidden list. It’s a great way to lose a Swiss Army knife.
      • Snacks, water/water bottle (water purification if needed)
      • Headlamp- unfamiliar places are even more unfamiliar at night
      • On international trips, I bring a small sleeping bag, or poncho liner. The Snugpack Jungle bag packs super small. If you end up having to crash some place unplanned, this a great comfort item to have, as well as being more hygienic.
      • Medkit. This one’s a non-negotiable, because you can buy replacement supplies, but you can’t buy more time if someone’s injured. A pro tip: carry standard trauma shears instead of rip shears, because TSA agents aren’t always familiar with the larger rip shears. Carry a Resqme tool in addition to your trauma shears to cut through clothing as well as seatbelts. Additionally, a Hi-Vis orange tourniquet will never be mistaken for anything else by the TSA.

This is my basic list. There are tons of resources on the Internet on suggestions based on your travel locations and so on. It goes without saying that I bring standards like clothing, hygiene products etc. Copies of your IDs/Passports are always a great idea. The important thing is to plan ahead for when things don’t go to plan.

I was carrying my medkit on my person this trip, and walked right through security. It was the old- fashioned metal detector type, but still proves that you can bring your med kits in places you can’t bring your firearm. So pack yours and keep it around when you travel. You never know when someone might get injured on a plane.

Until next time, Stay Frosty.