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  • The Ultimate A-To-Z World Travel Safety Kit

    8/23/2021 1:28:11 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Article written by Harding Bush, a former Navy SEAL and associate manager operation for Global Rescue, the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services. Bush is an expert in procedures for high-risk travel, cultural awareness, crisis preparedness, leadership and operational planning.

    Going into the backcountry? Taking a fishing trip? Traveling to an area prone to extreme weather? What are the ABCs for the ultimate world travel safety kit whether you’re traveling for business, solo or with your family?

    No single list is all-inclusive for every travel experience and every traveler. But the world’s leading medical operations and security experts have co

    Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

    Long before the coronavirus pandemic, hand sanitizer was the best way to wash your hands without soap and hot water. If you’re traveling, it’s portable and easy to pack — and now the Transportation Security Administration allows passengers to bring up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer in carry-on bags.


    Pack extra batteries for everything: communication devices, cameras, radios, headlamps and flashlights, to name a few. If you’re driving, consider packing a portable jump-start battery pack. If you’re in the backcountry, pack a solar charger you’ve tested before the trip.

    Communication Devices

    It’s ideal to have two cellular and satellite communication devices available, especially in the backcountry. If you need rescue, then you must have the ability to make emergency outreach.

    Duct Tape

    “Duct tape is about the handiest adhesive ever invented and the uses are endless,” said Patrick Pendergast, director of international travel at The Fly Shop and Global Rescue Safe Travel partner. “I once watched a bush pilot in Alaska repair the skin on an airplane wing that got gnawed on by a bear and flew us out. In a pinch you can use it to repair a torn wader or bandage a blister.”

    Energy Bars

    Whether you’re road-tripping, camping, hiking or traveling on business, it’s always a smart idea to pack some extra food. Make sure you have a day’s worth of rations if you’re in the backcountry.

    Eye Protection

    Pack and wear eye protection, like wraparound sunglasses with photochromic lenses (lenses that darken upon exposure to light) and block out 100 percent of UV rays. Snow blindness, a painful eye condition caused by overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, doesn’t occur only in the polar region. It can affect anyone enjoying outdoor activity in the sun.

    Electrolyte Powder

    “You don’t just need to drink water when you are dehydrated; you need to replace your electrolytes,” said Jeff Weinstein, medical operations supervisor at Global Rescue. Consider packing an electrolyte powder since it’s lighter than bringing an electrolyte beverage and easy to add to your filtered water.

    First Aid Kit

    Pack useful items in a small, waterproof container so you’re prepared for the frequently encountered issues — blisters, stomach upset, scrapes and cuts — on a trip. You can start with a commercial first aid kit, then personalize contents to match your adventure travel needs.


    Gloves will protect your hands from heat or cold, bites and cuts and provide extra grip for activities like rock climbing and fishing. Match your destination (hot or cold) and location (land or water) with the appropriate glove options: fleece gloves, wool gloves, sun gloves – also include medical-grade gloves in your first aid kit.


    A headlamp leaves your hands free to do other things, such as render aid or perform survival tasks unhindered. “Light is the primary obstacle to proceeding safely. Consider carrying a secondary light source in addition to your primary headlamp,” Conrad Lucas writes on Skyblue Overland’s blog.

    Iodine Tablets

    Clean drinking water is crucial. There are many different techniques to purify water: UV rays, boiling and chemicals, including iodine tablets. The benefits of iodine tablets: they are portable, easy to use and will kill most of the bacteria, viruses and protozoa swimming around in the water.


    It’s easier to stay warm than get warm. A jacket, appropriate to the activity or destination, is key.


    It’s must-have gear for fishing and hunting trips — and it also comes in handy if you need to cut a zip tie, shave, pop a bottle cap or cut clothes to access a wound. “Make sure you pack it in your checked bag; TSA will not let you board a plane with one,” said Pendergast.

    Lip Balm

    The Wilderness Medical Society adds it to a winter rescue pack. It can soothe cracked skin on your hands, unstick a zipper and clear fog on sunglasses or goggles.


    Moleskin is a thin yet heavy cotton fabric used for blister prevention and care. It is soft on one side and has adhesive on the other. “Nothing will stop a trek, ascent or hike like a bad blister,” Weinstein said.

    Navigation Tools

    No matter how well you know the area or terrain, mistakes can be made. Never leave home without navigation tools, including a GPS unit with cellular or satellite coverage, a map and a compass. Know how to use a map and compass, and store it in a waterproof case. There are no substitutions for a printed map.

    Over-the-Counter Medications

    Be prepared to treat minor ailments long before they turn into an emergency. “Travelers should be well stocked to treat colds, pain, swelling, diarrhea, constipation, cuts and dehydration, to name a few,” Weinstein said. Many countries require medicines to be transported in original packaging. Prescription and over-the-counter medications without packaging run the greater risk of being confiscated.

    Parachute Cord

    Parachute cord, a lightweight nylon rope originally used in parachute suspension lines, is often used as a general-purpose utility cord. “The uses of parachute cord are endless: clothes line, wading boot laces, making a splint or replacing an outboard motor cord,” said Pendergast. Pair parachute cord with a tarp for a quick shelter.

    Quality Footwear

    Jeff Callison, co-owner of Deadhorse Outfitters and a Global Rescue Safe Travel partner, recommends a set of boots that fit the environment but are comfortable and capable of environmental changes. “Your feet are the most important part of your body when in the back country,” he said.

    Rain Gear

    Even if rain is not in the forecast, bring a rain jacket because if it is waterproof, it is windproof. Anything designed to keep water and wind out will keep heat in. Throwing a waterproof shell over a light fleece can form an effective cold weather solution.


    “Great socks — ideally made of Merino wool — can make all the difference,” said Danielle Aronson, co-founder of travelhelix and a Global Rescue Safe Travel partner. “They let our feet breathe when we’re working up a sweat during the day and keep us warm when it’s cold at night.”


    “The injury that will kill you the soonest: bleeding out within minutes if you hit the right artery,” said Weinstein, a critical care paramedic with an Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS) certification. “You should always have a commercially available tourniquet with you. Don’t buy the cheap ones. You want it to be combat proven and quality made when you are trying to save a life."

    Travel Protection Services

    Help is just a phone call away if you have a travel protection services membership that includes emergency evacuation from the point of illness or injury regardless of where you are in the world.


    Women’s Hiking Crew Adventures, a Global Rescue Safe Travel partner, recommends “eliminating all cotton, including cotton underwear, and replace it with synthetic or polyester clothing with moisture wicking properties to avoid rashes and chafing. Synthetic underwear can be a bit pricey, but worth it, especially since they are quick drying.”


    Petroleum jelly can be used as a fire starter, a candle, a lubricant for hinges or zippers and for removing resin from your hands.


    Even items “guaranteed waterproof” need to be waterproofed. A product’s waterproof guarantee only means the manufacturer will replace the item if it’s damaged by water. For example, a manufacturer’s waterproof guarantee for a backpack will not fix your flooded out GPS three days into a nine-day wilderness trip. You can line your backpack with a heavy-duty trash bag and shield it with a pack cover on wet days. You can store items needing protection in a zip-lock bag, then in a waterproof sack, then in a standard backpack.

    X-tra Copies

    Make color copies of your passport, any visas and driver’s license. Keep a copy with you, separate from your passport, and keep a copy at your office or with friends and family. This can speed up the replacement process, if it becomes necessary. In today’s travel world, you’ll also want documentation of a negative PCR test and vaccination certification and make extra copies of those as well.

    Yellow Card

    If you’re traveling to a country with a high risk of yellow fever (mainly equatorial Africa), you’re going to want to bring your Yellow Card, a paper certification of vaccination issued by national health agencies and enforced by The World Health Organization. “Many countries may have certain viruses or parasites you should protect yourself against — even if it is not required on entry. Typhoid fever, Japanese encephalitis and Hepatitis A are some examples,” Keaveny said. “We highly recommend the rabies vaccine. Rabies is 100% deadly if contracted. Some countries, especially developing nations, do not have the medicines available to treat a potential exposure.”

    Zip Ties

    A zip tie is a thin, flexible nylon strap. One end is threaded through a locking mechanism on the other end, making it a convenient and effective tool with many uses. “I have used zip ties to strap a reel to a rod, splint a broken finger, as a zipper pull, attach a luggage tag and secure zippers on my duffel bag. They are light, don’t take any room and essential,” said Pendergast.

    Every day, travel health and security experts provide travel, health, safety and security information for outdoor adventurers, families with children, students and business travelers. Learning how to prepare for your travel adventures is the best way to optimize your experience.

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