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You got excited, you packed your carry-on bag (TSA-approved) with supplies. You safely landed at your new destination, ready for adventure. You set yourself up for success, now carry that idea through to when your plane touches down.
What to do to ensure continued preparedness while traveling:
#1 Check Your Bags
Whether you are retrieving your bags from baggage claim at the airport or from under the bus, check you bag for missing or broken items. When traveling by plane, some airlines have strict deadlines when you need to claim damage luggage. However, on a more practical note, you need to know if the survival items you packed survived the journey.
It’s all well and good if you packed an extra water filter in your checked bag, only to find when you need it that it was damaged by the flight. An accurate inventory (even in your head) will help you when deciding your course of action quickly in an emergency. When you are confident nothing got lost, stolen or broken in your luggage you can proceed on to the rest of your vacation relaxed and confident about your preparedness supplies.
#2 Check Your Rental Car
Most people when they receive a rental car, assume that it is in perfect working condition. They grab the keys, take a quick look at the fuel gauge and are ready to ride. While most of the time this is true, rental cars are similar to any other car, in that they need regular maintenance and can break down. For your own car, you know the last time the oil was changed, and you know what’s in the trunk. For a rental car, these are not given.
When you get a rental car and plan to drive beyond the limits of urban civilizations drive to a gas station and quickly look over the car.
- Does your rental car have a spare tire?
- Does your rental car have a tire iron/wrench + jack to change the tire?
- Check the fluid levels: oil, windshield wiper fluid, coolant, etc.
- Check the tire pressure.
- Do you have jumper cables? (Probably not.)
Now that you know the status of your rental car, what do you plan to do about it? Most rental cars don’t come with jumper cables. You could hope that if you needed a jump then the other car (hopefully a prepared local) would have cables. You could go buy jumper cables, if that makes you feel safer.
If any fluids are low, then the gas station you are checking your car at will likely have the supplies you need. If your tire air pressure is low, then the gas station may be able to provide you air probably for a few quarters.
Most people don’t check over their rental car, and most of the time it isn’t a problem. However, if you are flying to San Francisco then planning to drive down Route 1 in an epic California road trip like we did in the summer of 2016, you may want to prepare the car for the extended drive. Take a few moments to get familiar with the car, and be confident it is prepared to carry you safely.
#3 Buy Extra Supplies
Before you head out for your vacation, is there anything you felt nervous about leaving at home that you could purchase on destination? Are there items you could not bring on the plane or train that you would like? Are there items you just didn’t have space for?
For example, I don’t often check a bag when flying which means I must leave most self-defense weapons at home. I could go to Walmart or a department store and buy a simple folding knife. A knife can be valuable in a range of situations, and often can be cheaply acquired. At the end of your trip, you could either mail it to yourself or donate it to a thrift store.
Supplies You Could Consider Buying on Arrival:
- Bottled water
- Ready-to-eat foods (granola bars, jerky, etc)
- Extra blanket
- Pepper spray/self-defense items
- Liquids over 3 ounces:
- Liquid soap
- Alcohol based hand sanitizer
When You Arrive Checklist
- Check your baggage for missing or damaged items.
- Check the fluids and tire pressure of your rental car.
- Buy items you don’t feel safe without.
What are your standard actions when you arrive at your new destination? Let us know below.
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Mic Roland says
Actually, on several of my business trips, I HAVE gone to Walmart and bought a cheap folding knife upon arrival. There’s just too many things you need a knife for. Much of my basic survival gear can travel in my carry-on, but TSA won’t allow a real knife. I usually leave it in the rental car for the guy who cleans the cars. Figure he could use it more than some TSA guy.
I like this thought, as long as the TSA “guy” doesn’t use it some type of felony!
Nice! Small knives can be cheap to buy, and invaluable in many situations. I like the idea of leaving it for the rental car, or donating it rather than turning it over at the airport.