A Complete Prepper’s Guide to International Travel

Prepping, for most of us, typically involves assessing the potential risks and taking steps to at least mitigate them. When we are at home, addressing these risks can be pretty simple.

To avoid starving, grow your food or practice food canning or freezing. In case of power outages, prepare backup energy sources. And to be prepared if ever someone gets sick or injured, store a comprehensive first aid kit.

We are best prepared when we are at home. But what if you are traveling by air? Most people take international trips either for work or leisure. Not having your prepper kit within arm’s reach may make you feel worried and less prepared.

However, this should not be the case. In this article, we talk about the must-haves and must-dos so you can continue to travel like a prepper.

We will discuss what you must do before and during your trip to keep yourself safe and ensure you can make it back alive in case a disaster struck while you were away.

woman traveling

Do your research

Research is crucial because knowledge is one of the best prepper ‘tools’ you can have and carry with you everywhere.

This step even becomes more important if you are going to a foreign country where you don’t speak their language and if you don’t have a friend or family who can act as your guide there.

Before you leave, familiarize yourself with at least some of the basic words used for everyday conversation. Go to Google maps and look at the street view of your hotel and the nearby stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and police stations.

Here are some other things you need to think about:

  • How far away from home will you be?
  • Is your destination a major urban center or more rural?
  • How will you get there?
  • What dress codes and limitations are there?
  • What are you allowed to carry?
  • Can you make it home on foot if needed?
  • What is the best/safest route?
  • How long would it take for you to get home?

The goal is to assess your travel destination so that you can plan well what items you need to bring that can help you in case some emergency happens. Emergencies from minor travel disruptions to a crazy grid-down mess can happen.

Prepper tools you can bring when traveling

It’s common for most preppers to leave their bug out bags at home before they travel. If you are out for a business trip, for example, it’s just impossible to bring your prepper essentials without going through so much headache.

However, there are some staples and multi-use tools that you can bring with you. Even if you don’t have your complete arsenal with you, these staples will still put you at an advantage compared to casual travelers.

Also, aside from the tools, you must also make sure to maintain your situational awareness even if you are in an unfamiliar place. Observe and spot the exists at all times, ensure you know the route back to the airport, and watch news to stay updated.

Everyday carry (EDC) items

Today, most people who take flights prefer to pack all of their things in a carry on. Doing so has some benefits and drawbacks.

One main disadvantage for preppers is that you can’t bring anything that can be considered as a weapon – this makes knives and firearms automatically out of the picture.

Yes, it makes sense for people to prefer putting their carry on in the compartment to avoid lost luggages. But, it’s way better to take your chances than to risk not having defensive tools with you when you travel.

Having said that, here are some everyday carry items you can bring on your next trip:


A tactical knife makes the top of this list because it’s advantages and utility are too great to ignore. Yes, you can easily purchase one at your destination, but being prepared is way better than taking chances, right?


Illuminating your surroundings while hands-free is a great benefit in many situations. Car broke down at night in the middle of the road? Use your headlamp. An earthquake suddenly hits at night? Wear your headlamp and quickly find your way out.

Also, unlike knives and firearms, this EDC item will not be questioned by security when they check your luggage.


A bandana seems to be a cheap and simple item. However, in the hands of a prepper, it can be used as a bandage, sling, shield from the sun, protection from air contaminants, and more.

It’s a simple yet multi use everyday carry item. You can actually carry more than one because it basically weighs nothing and doesn’t even take up space.

Source of Fire

Fire has been used in the medieval ages as a source of light, method of cooking, and even protection from animals and intruders. Throw in a couple of lighters and matchboxes in your luggage so you can easily start fire if needed.


One thing to check before flying into another place is if has a reciprocity agreement with your state on concealed carry. If it has this agreement in place, bringing your firearms is perfectly legal and hassle-free. Before traveling, make sure to check out the USA state gun laws to see whether or not you will be able to bring your firearms with you on your travels.

You can also bring a spare holster, box of ammo, and magazine. If something goes wrong especially when you are an unfamiliar place, a firearm will help you protect yourself better.

Covert Backpack

Preppers need a proper covert backpack. A simple day-pack that can carry a decent amount of supplies and gear will do well.

In just one backpack, you can throw in your other EDC items, some food, and maybe even a shelter option. Additionally, make sure you save space for a water reservoir.

Portable Water Filter

Water is crucial for survival and emergency preparedness. Whether you are trapped in your house, along the road, or at a campsite, water is needed to keep you alive until help arrives.

The fact that water makes up two-thirds of the world we live in is a major advantage for us. At home, water is almost always abundant. On a camping or hiking trip, a river, lake, or some body of water is most likely nearby.

However, not all sources of water are safe to drink. This is why bringing a portable water filter every time you travel is crucial. Today, a lot of portable filters in the market are small, effective, and affordable.

There are water filter brands that are small enough to fit in your pocket, some of them are as light as 2 ounces. A decent water filter should be between 6 inches to 13 inches.


If you are already wearing a watch daily, might as well invest in one that has a compass. So if ever you get lost, you have something to help you know the right way.

Backup Power

These days, mobile phones have become multi-functional tools that can help us in a variety of ways. Aside from sending messages and making calls, you can use your phone as a flashlight, calculator, compass, map, translator, and so much more.

To make sure your phone is always fully charged, bring a backup power source with you. There are a lot of really good power banks these days – including those that offer wireless charging – in the market.

There are models that can charge your mobile phone up to six times! It will really come in handy especially if you are onboard a longhaul flight.


Going cashless has a lot of benefits. It’s always more convenient to carry one or two cards and swipe when making a purchase instead of carrying bills and coins.

However, when traveling internationally, err on the side of caution and always carry some cash. A lot of things can happen like a malfunctioning ATM, a problem with the seller’s point-of-sale machine, an issue with your card being used in a different country, etc.

Bring an amount that you are comfortable with and just enough to get you out of minor inconveniences. A couple hundred dollars can already go a long way.

How to make it back home in case of emergencies

The EDC items listed above give you a lot of advantages and can help you get out of emergency situations. You can defend yourself, cut things, light your way, and so on.

But, what if you find yourself in a situation that forces you to try to go home by foot? How can you prepare for such circumstances? Here are three tips that can help:

Consider your clothing

Most people dress either to feel comfortable or fashionable. But imagine something tragic happens (like an emergency landing on a mountainous area). How do you think people wearing flip flops or high heels will fare?

For starters, you can never go wrong with a comfortable laced-up pair of shoes. In case you find yourself walking on either sharp or hot terrain, your feet will stay protected and you can continue walking comfortably.

Next, pack with you a simple outfit that can survive the climate of the place you are going to in case you need to walk home. It doesn’t have to be fancy nor require you to load up with several pieces of clothes – stick with the basics.

Know your way home

This tip falls under the research process mentioned earlier. Pull up some atlas, map, or quickly check out Google maps. Try to look for and remember the best route going home.

You might want to make a list of the main roads and those which lead to larger cities or residential areas. These are places where you can find other people to help you.

Discuss plans with your family

Before you leave, tell your family where exactly you’re going and when you intend to come back. It also helps to establish a schedule of communication. Like if they don’t hear from you at all for two days straight, then they know something is wrong.

Discussions like this are crucial especially if you travel alone or with a group of newly met people. Your family should know when to alert the authorities so they can immediately send help.

Also, your family should know what to do in case emergencies happen at home while you are away. Tell them where the supplies are, how to reach you or the authorities, and other contingency plans that will keep them safe.

No such thing as ‘over preparedness’

In summary, the items and tips discussed above are just some of the hundreds of ways to keep yourself safe when traveling internationally. Preparedness is key. Do your research and bring as many multi-purpose tools with you.

Make sure that you know your way home and you have discussed plans with your family before leaving. It’s better to be ‘over prepared’ than to find yourself helpless in an emergency situation far away from home.


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