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International Travel scenario

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by powersbj, May 19, 2010.

  1. powersbj

    powersbj Seattle Area Active Member

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    My wife and I are going to Rome and then through Athens out to an island in Greece. Needless to say Iv been putting together a small kit for the trip. I plan on wearing a daypack anyhow as we walk around Rome for a couple days and will bring the small kit that mostly consists of first aid kit. The highest risk portion of the trip is most likely Athens.

    In this real life situation what would you pack and why?
    Restrictions are, International travel aka flying. No firearms no knives.
    Wife will be with you.
    Chance of flight diversions due to volcano.
    Chance of civil disturbance.
    Chance of being stranded God knows where.....
    All laws must be followed. ;)
     
  2. MrNiceGuy

    MrNiceGuy between springfield and shelbyville Well-Known Member

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    as soon as you land, find the biggest rock you can carry.

    Other than that, I'd imagine you're limited to things like keys on a rope... and prayer.

    pack bandages, antibiotic ointment, and some of that quickclot.
     
  3. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    Get a good money belt/travel wallet to carry your cash, credit cards & passport. I like the kind that go around your neck and tuck under your shirt. Carry some walking-around cash in your pocket so you aren't digging your money belt out (thus letting thieves know where it is).

    Maybe invest in some kind of "tactical pen" - but I wouldn't try getting away with anything else. Even the pen might attract unwanted attention at the airport - you just never know what they are looking for.

    Quick Clot might be a good investment, but a better investment will be Imodium AD. Some kind of multi-symptom cold/flu tablet is also useful. Some Neosporin is good to have.

    Have fun - Greece is one of my favorite places to visit. And, while people slam Athens, I enjoyed my visit there. Stay in the Plaka at the base of the Acropolis. Bring your appetite - food is great & cheap. People are super nice.
     
  4. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    Buy a cheap kitchen knife when you reach your destination and keep it in your bag next to some of the wonderful fresh food you hopefully bought for lunch at the street market.

    Now that I think about it, you'll be able to buy your knife there too.

    If you haven't already, learn basic greetings, how to shop, and how to count from 1-100 in the languages of the countries you visit. Most people in Europe can at least count in English, but you'll get better bargains, more respect, and have a better time if you speak their language a little bit. Communication skills are the most important part of any survival kit overseas. It's also nice to have a phrase book in your pocket so you don't have to dig around for it when you need it.

    If you're going to Greece, learn how to read Greek. It's not difficult - I bet you already know this phrase: ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Pick up a cheap local calling card in case you need to call home. Rates are dirt cheap, and you can buy them almost everywhere.

    Make a copy or two of the picture page of your passport and keep them in a separate place from your real one.

    There's a possibility you'll come across a bathroom without TP at some point. Pocket packs of Kleenex are a great substitute that takes up almost no space. Wet wipes for your hands are also a good idea too.

    Get a prescription for drugs to deal with food poisoning should it arise (I think these are generally old-fashioned sulfa antibiotics). And stay away from hotel buffets - small restaurants and street food is the best and often the safest.

    Pack any other over-the-counter medications you think you might need. They might not be OTC in other countries.

    In addition to the first aid kit, bring a tiny sewing kit, tweezers, and small scissors. A little pocketknife won't attract any attention if it travels in your checked luggage. I carried a big Kershaw all over Europe (including the UK) and Central America and did not run into any problems.

    etc. etc. etc.

    Just imagine you're going on a 3-month lightweight backpacking tour of the Mediterranean and you'll do well.



    If you get mugged, it will likely be by multiple attackers from behind, and you won't even know what hit you until it's too late. You almost certainly won't get mugged.

    Watch out for the Roma (Gypsy) children selling cigarettes and candy on the street. They are the Gypsies your grandmother warned you about.


    Finally, one more vote for Athens.

    edit: Be sure to save your shorts and sandals for the beach, no matter how hot it is. "When in Rome..."
     
  5. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    great post, zach. the only thing i would add is to find out where the US embassy's are and the phone numbers for them. that said, find out if your cell phone works in those areas. if not and you want one, you may look at getting a prepaid phone once over there.
     
  6. bwells

    bwells Longview Member

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    When I was in the navy, every time we had a port call I always carried my pack with me. I always carried band-aids, imodium, spare socks, a leatherman, camera, extra batteries, phone cards, and a local map.
     
  7. bwells

    bwells Longview Member

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    It would be nice if your cell phone worked overseas, but international rates are commonly $2 a minute or more. Phone cards are much cheaper. Depending on how much time you plan to spend on the phone it might not matter much.
     
  8. e28rusty

    e28rusty Newberg Member

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    I totally agree with buying a knife when you get there, i bought one in germany and packed it all through europe. I fortunately never had to use it, but im glad i had it. I also carried 2 wallets, one with my passport and cash buried deep, and a second one in my hip pocket with small bills in it in case of pickpockets.
    Sounds like a fun trip though :) have fun.
     
  9. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good recommendations on this thread. Definitely Imodium :D What is with the "no knives" thing though? It has been a few years since I was hopping around the globe, but I couldn't imagine traveling anywhere without my Swiss Army Knife! (I always put it in checked baggage).
     
  10. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    Trust me, you'll also want to have something stronger than Imodium, just in case. If you have a virulent bacterial infection in your stomach (i.e. food poisoning), Imodium won't help you at all. Any travel clinic, and probably any doctor, can hook you up with what you need.

    A knife won't be any sort of problem in checked luggage, but the OP made "no knives" a condition in his post. Many, if not all, European countries have stricter rules about carrying knives than most, if not all, U.S. states.

    I can't imagine any realistic scenario where a European cop or border agent would have a problem with a tourist's Swiss Army Knife - but who knows. (I'm assuming that the OP is not a 20 year old with dreadlocks who's going to be carrying around hashish. Even then, the knife would probably be ignored.)
     
  11. TheHossUSMC

    TheHossUSMC Eugene Member

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    Polymer items

    Cold Steel Jungle Dart
    big-92fjd.jpg

    Cold Steel Skean Dhu
    big-92fsd.jpg

    Comtech Stinger
    fistload6.jpg

    Cold Steel SD2 Mini Koga
    koga-sd-series-mini-91mk.jpg

    You get the idea. Or a roll of quarters and a sock!

    Edit: I wouldn't recommend carry these onto a plane unless in your checked baggage. I have had multiple bad experiences in airports, but then again I was carrying an empty c-4 bag that had become my hygenie kit when coming back from deployment. For some reason they don't appreciate explosive residue on your clothes. I was lucky that I was coming back from a military charter flight from the base and I had been sitting next to a full bird Col. who assured the TSA that I was an explosives engineer for the Marines. You shoulda seen the look on that TSA agents face when the little cloth came out of my bag bright pink.
     
  12. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    +1 for they money/passport belt which hides under your clothes. We had two, count them two attempted thefts in one day at the Colosseum in Rome, both within an hour.

    The first was a group of Gypsies which surrounded me. An older woman, smiling, started to pin a flower on my jacket. That was the distraction, along with some kids milling close around. The theft attempt was a pickpocket of my back pocket by another person in the group. I had a dummy wallet there (my small amount of cash was in my front pants pocket.) I expected the attempt, felt it, and threw an elbow knocking the woman pickpocket down. They all ran and that ended it. They will get arrested and jailed if caught so they are sneak thieves, not robbers.

    The second attempt was successful on a woman tourist who we didn't know. She had a purse over her shoulder by its strap. A teenage boy simply and suddenly violently snatched her purse, knocking her clear down. He ran about 150 feet to a waiting, running motorcycle which had a driver/rider on it. He simply jumped onto the back of the motorcycle and they were gone with the purse.

    I've been to Europe a lot, been there, done that, and wasn't fooled, but that woman tourist lost her purse in a heartbeat.
     
  13. nixuser

    nixuser nw Member

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    as soon as you get there buy a bottle of water with a pop top. and after you drink the water buy a bottle of household ammonia the white kind. and if trouble starts act like you are going to take a drink and hose them in the face it will put them down asap and give you time to vacate the area works for me :)
     
  14. M.Link

    M.Link Guest

    I would bring a Flashlight from Surefires "Defender" series. Upgrade to a 200+ Lumen LED assembly. And extra Batteries. They make a great weapon and last time I flew, about 3 months ago to Cal., I carried mine in my carry on bag. No problems. I have a lot into mine, but I put a defender bezel on a Z2 Combat light and bought a 500 lumen LED from ebay and I used the 6PLED tail cap. Awesome light with lots of use, and it has a lanyard and can be worn around the neck.
     
  15. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    Things that look like weapons, as opposed to tools, are not wise choices for carry in the situation described - most countries x-ray international baggage for customs purposes, and having items like those above could lead to the kind of long and uncomfortable conversation that is best avoided.
     
  16. CEF1959

    CEF1959 Willamette Valley, Oregon New Member

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    You're going to Europe, not Kabul. You'll be fine. Just don't be any more stupid with your belongings than you'd be in Seattle. Drink bottled water if you're worried about belly stuff. They have antibiotics, pharmacies, and doctors in Europe, so you can leave the antisporin and first aid kit at home. Relax. And don't take any weapons other than your common sense.
     
  17. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    It's easier to carry a few pills around than to find an English-speaking doctor at an inconvenient time and place. Especially if you're on a small Greek island, and bubblegumming all over the guesthouse bathroom or being inflated like a balloon by intestinal gas. Other than that, you're absolutely correct.
     
  18. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    They still have curfews and limited Metro hours in Athens and some other cities. Greece is very unstable, recently having serious riots. The economy is in shambles. Police are really cracking down and they don't have the civil rights we have.

    I'm not going there anytime soon, but that's just me...
     
  19. MrNiceGuy

    MrNiceGuy between springfield and shelbyville Well-Known Member

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    You're right. Greece right now is all smiles and lollipops. It's like a veritable Disney Land.

    Just relax and enjoy the atmosphere. What's the worst that can happen?

    greekriots.jpg
     
  20. CEF1959

    CEF1959 Willamette Valley, Oregon New Member

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    That's just one small district of Athens for one short period of protest. Looks like Seattle during the WTO protests (or downtown Chicago in 1968, or East Central LA after Rodney King, or the Paris Suburbs a couple years ago, etc. etc.). I still go to Seattle, Chicago, LA, Paris, etc. without blinking.

    Greece is not erupting in flames all over. There might be general strikes in Athens this summer. Maybe even street violence. Or there may be street violence in Omaha this summer. Tough to say. If you're paranoid about it, just stay home and watch TV. Fox will cover the mayhem for you.