In my last article, I focused on the knowledge you need to keep yourself safe and make the most of your travels on the government’s behalf. Responsibly researching your destination is a reliable way to take care of yourself, but there’s only so much you can learn before getting there. The other half of preparation consists of making the most out of what you bring with you and how you bring it. Reliable gear isn’t just something for the battlefield; reliable gear means less stress and more enjoyment while anywhere away from home.
The first place to start fixing your travel hardware is with your luggage, a problem easy to solve without resorting to throwing money at the problem. For the budget option, a canvas, military-style duffle bag is invaluable. While packing and unpacking it can be a pain, it’s a surprisingly secure and easy to transport option for long trips. For a more expensive solution, look for a hard case, latching suitcase. Look for models without zippers when possible; a thief can open and close them with something as simple as a pen and bypass the lock. Properly sealed duffle bags and hardtop suitcases with latches require damaging the container to get past the lock. Speaking of locks, skip the TSA approved locks. Criminals can easily obtain the tool to open the lock, and it doesn’t protect you against the occasional airport personnel thief who has access to your luggage when you don’t. A name brand padlock with the thickest shackle that fits in your luggage is the most economically efficient solution.
Not all trips require checked luggage, and it’s important to invest in a good day-pack that meets most airline specifications for carryon. I personally own a 40-liter Osprey framed backpack that I’ve dragged across four continents to great success. A good backpack isn’t cheap but pays dividends from the frustration and back pain it can save. I’ve had to repack a few items from it when traveling on some budget airlines, but those instances are few and far between. Another important item to consider is a second, collapsible bag for use in emergencies. Instead of having to buy an over-priced $40 cheapo pack at the airport because you overpacked, buy a $5-15 nylon pack that compresses into a small size when unused. If for some reason you need to be separated from your carryon (more common than you would think), you can pull out the second bag, put your expensive electronics and travel documents in it, and not worry about what’s happening to your valuables bouncing around under the plane.
The last important piece of gear to own while traveling is a high quality, concealable travel wallet. In my last article, I mentioned that someone pickpocketed my phone in Barcelona. Thankfully, that’s all they got. My passport, wallet, and any documents were tucked away in my waistband. There are two types of travel wallets, around the neck and the waist, and both serve the same purpose of concealing important documents on your person. Backpacks are a frequent target of pickpockets; it’s better to keep the things you need to get back home as secure as they can be. It can save you an emergency trip to the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate (which you know thanks to looking it up before, right?)
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.