We may earn a small commission from any link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you real information about homesteading skills and preparedness.
“Situational awareness is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event.” ~Wikipedia
While preparing for and going on travel, a certain amount of situational awareness is required. This skill has to be developed and honed as you gain greater understanding of the world and possible events.
As young children, we walk in traffic or bump into people because we don’t watch where we are going. We have a sense of safety in the world, and a lack of understanding of the dangers around us. Children also tend to be focused on their desire (ice cream truck), and lose the situational awareness to perceive on-coming traffic.
Parents have to spend lots of time, first looking out for their child then training their child to look for dangers themselves. Just like children, we must train our eye to look for new dangers we are not accustomed to look for. While traveling, situational awareness is even more important as you interact with crowds of people in dense environments.
Situational Awareness While Traveling:
- In airports, and train stations keep your eyes open. While waiting for your plane to board, don’t become complacent even if you are tired.
- Keep an eye on your fellow passengers, and don’t sit with your headphones in staring at your phone.
- People often travel with their cell phones, laptops, cameras, extra cash and purchased goods. A camera could easily get swiped off your luggage if you aren’t paying attention.
- Drunk people in public spaces can cause nuisances and fights. Keep an eye out for the aggressive behaviors in others, and get out of the way if you see a situation rising.
- As you are walking to your gate or platform, look for the exits. Where would you go if there was a fire?
- While rare, watch for suspicious behaviors that could turn into a shooting. Where would you run if someone started shooting into the crowd?
- On a crowded street, watch what the locals do. While you may need your cell phone for GPS, in order to get to your next place, keep looking around at your surroundings.
- Regulars to that street may know to avoid the left sidewalk near the wall, as there is a giant trench but you may not.
- Locals may know that buses pull up on top of the curb to stop, but you may not.
- Residents know which streets are safe to go down at night, you may not. You will need to keep your eyes open for potential threats.
- Driving in a new city can be confusing and disorienting. Keep your eyes open for your options and location of basic necessities.
- As you are driving, making note of the hospital signs. Where would you need to go if you needed the emergency room or walk-in clinic?
- Watch for pharmacies and grocery stores. If you need a medication you didn’t pack, where would be the closest store to your hotel? Can you walk there?
- If you see a police station make a mental or physical note of it’s location. If you need to report a crime or want friendly advice on which districts to avoid, they should be able to help you.
Situational awareness is about watching the environment and other people for potential dangers. It's about getting a good understanding in your head about the layout of a building and your closest exits. Situational awareness can also mean you aren't as relaxed in the airports, as you are constantly watching other people. But you should never be 100% zoned out and unobservant; always keep an eye on what's happening around you, especially as situations can change very quickly.
What have you spotted while traveling that others around you missed? Share your story in the comments below.
Enjoy our articles?
Subscribe to Modern Self-Reliance get our latest content by email.
- Fitness: Working Out as Physical Preparedness - February 22, 2021
- Backpacking or 72hr bag meals - December 23, 2020
- 8 Security Concerns for a New Home - October 28, 2019
We landed in Cozumel last summer. Got our luggage and went out front to hook up with our hotel transfer. Standing there , I was grabbing a quick smoke and noticed a very attractive Mexican woman standing over leaning on the wall. She was watching me or us. Or I thought she was. We walked down about 75 feet to where our van was and started getting checked in with the driver. I looked up and there was that woman again , over against the building 20 feet away. Looking at me. She continued to stare, not looking off. You tell me.
Well even if she didn’t turn out to be a threat, it still seems very unnerving. Strange behavior.
Unfortunately it’s become necessary to watch out for the “social justice warriors” when you’re sitting waiting for a plane, train, bus or ferry, or sitting in a restaurant or rest area or park. An SJW is always looking to get famous by creating the next big fake outrage. So you can be sitting somewhere in public and suddenly find a SJW up in your face trying to goad you into saying something politically incorrect that her buddy lurking nearby can capture on video and upload to social media. (The SJW is always, always accompanied by a pal aiming a video/audio recording device at you.) If this happens to you, you need to say nothing, gather your belongings, get up and walk away. If she and her pals follow you, or if they stand in front of you to prevent you from walking away, you need to pull out a cell phone and dial 911. The SJW will also try to goad you into pushing her aside by sticking her face into yours so that your noses touch, or standing so close to you that her breasts are touching your chest, or standing in front of you refusing to move so you can’t walk away. She is deliberately trying to goad you into pushing her aside so she can have you arrested for assault.
Traveling with another person is a good way to thwart the SJWs; they prefer to harass middle-aged women traveling alone. The best thing you can do when traveling is not get relaxed, not spread out your work or food (making it too hard to quickly get up and go), not get out your laptop. Skim a paperback, look out for troublemakers, and if you see a troublemaker zeroing in on you and heading your way, immediately leave.
Wow. I had not heard of this, but it seems another case for good situational awareness. Thanks for adding this advice.
Linda S says
I really enjoy your messages; your information is succinct, well written & pertinent. And, by reading your little bio sketch, I see you are a fellow quilter! I knew I liked you.
I am glad you found it useful. I love quilting, I especially love making quilt from torn sheets or old sweaters as a way to give them another life. Thanks for reading!
Three times this year, last weekend being the most recent,I have notice a total of three customer at a well known shopping center in my town carrying a gun. Security and door greeters both missed this. I am always on alert for anything that looks unusual.