Prepper’s Travel Diary: What I’m Packing

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Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

A while back, I wrote an article to let you know that I was heading to Croatia this spring to attend a survival course. Well, it turns out that I’m going to be able to stay in the Balkans for a little while longer and meet with Selco. I’m pretty excited about that opportunity! It’s one thing to read the articles but it’s going to take things to a whole different level to be able to walk in the same streets where it all went down.

I thought that some of you might enjoy a little something different – basically a travel diary of my trip. I know this won’t be of interest to everyone – no hard feelings if it’s not for you. Maybe some of the things I learned will be helpful. Maybe it’ll just be entertaining. But let’s try it out, shall we?

Selco’s privacy is essential, so some things, like locations or any identifying information, will be vague or omitted altogether. Please don’t ask me to be more specific about that stuff, okay?  🙂

If you have anything you want to know or anything you want me to ask Selco, just post it in the comments and I’ll do my best to cover it over the course of my trip.

What I’m taking for a month in the Balkans

First things first – packing.

I have a 50-pound limit before the price of my luggage goes way, way up. So the goal is to keep it under 50 pounds. Because I don’t completely trust my scale, I’m shooting for more like 45 pounds. Normally I pack light, but I’m bringing lots of goodies that they can’t get over there (at least not for a good price), as well as a few pieces of survival gear for the course.

I’m limited, of course, by the TSA regarding what I can take in my carryon, but as long as you don’t have flammable stuff, explosives, or guns, you have a lot more freedom in your checked luggage.

Aside from the items covered below, I have a loaded Kindle, a few physical books, a voltage converter, my laptop, cosmetics, and my curling iron. Oh, and peanut M&Ms. Yeah, I know, I’m the Organic Prepper but these suckers are the perfect survival snack. Protein, fat, and sugar that won’t melt or get squashed in your luggage.

Clothing

I’m bringing clothes for a variety of occasions. Your first thought when choosing what to take for a survival course might lean toward 511 tactical clothing or camo. But personally, I don’t think that is a great idea. I spent a lot of time watching videos from the areas where I’ll be going to get an idea of how the locals dress and learned that ladies there tend to be well-groomed and nicely dressed. Dressing down too much would make a person stick out like a sore thumb, and that certainly isn’t very gray (wo)man, is it?

The clothes I’m bringing will hopefully be appropriate for a variety of outings. I’ve packed:

  • 4 pairs of jeans
  • 4 pairs of black leggings
  • 2 pairs of capri pants
  • 1 pair of dress pants
  • 4 long skirts
  • 5 dresses (2 dressy, 3 casual-touristy)
  • A bunch of neutral t-shirts
  • 5 nicer shirts
  • 2 scarves
  • Sneakers
  • Casual flats
  • Dressy sandals
  • Pajamas
  • Socks and undies

So why did I choose what I did?

Well, first of all, the course is urban survival and the most important thing in those situations is blending in with the people around you. So I wanted to have comfortable yet wear relatively stylish clothes. Also, I want to dress fairly normally. Imagine if the balloon went up while I was shopping in the city.

Secondly, I mostly stayed away from shirts with writing or overt symbols on them. Since I’ll be in a non-English speaking country, slogans would be a dead giveaway. Since people all over the world seem to have opinions on our politics, I didn’t wear anything that could be controversial. Why ask for trouble?

As for the scarves and longer skirts, some of the places I’ll be visiting are very conservative. If something happened while I was there and I wanted to blend in, a scarf could quickly turn into a head covering. Plus they’re handy-dandy for tourniquets, too.

I always wear comfortable shoes so I’m just bringing my usual stuff. Also, when I wear a dressy shoe, I always have a pair of canvas  Bobs in my purse. (Those suckers are comfy and more supportive than you’d imagine.)

My EDC

Generally, my everyday carry kit is fairly small and lightweight. I have my car with me 99% of the time and that’s where the heavier stuff is. My usual EDC consists of my Glock 19, an extra magazine, a small med kit, lip balm, a pocketknife, a lighter, and a Sawyer mini. My keychain is on a carabiner with some paracord and a little LED flashlight. I always have a scarf or bandana tied to my purse. It looks decorative but it’s very useful.

For the purpose of this course, I’m going up a step with a few extra things. I’m carrying a smallish leather backpack that looks like a purse as opposed to something loaded with survival gear. And I’m making sure it’s not too heavy. I had surgery a couple of months back and I’m not supposed to do much lifting.  Also, nothing will wear you down faster than carrying something that is too heavy for you. So, no matter who you are or what your fitness level is, be honest with yourself when figuring out what you can actually carry.

I’m adding a full bottle of Benadryl (foreign country + food allergies), a bigger med kit,  a teeny little shelter that I got at Wal-mart (it’s easily purse-sized – I’ll report back how it holds up, a fixed blade knife, a multitool, and sunglasses.

Because the weather there can be fine one moment and then have 70 mph wind and torrential rain the next, I’m bringing a hooded and water-resistant jacket that rolls up small, extra socks and hair elastics. You guys may wonder why on earth I need hair elastics, but trust me – it’s not to be fashionable. Ask any woman with hair long enough to get in her eyes. Imagine having shoulder-length or longer hair worn down with 70 mph wind. Your hair will literally blind you. It will blow in your eyes, your nose, and your mouth. Hair elastics and a scarf will be very helpful in such a situation.

I also have a big water bottle that can clip onto my belt loop with a carabiner. I’ll let you know how successful all this stuff is after the course.

My carryon

The TSA is the bane of my travel-existence, but I play to win. How do I win? By not getting fondled and not to get anything taken away.

In my carryon, I have 3 full outfits from the skin out, my laptop, make-up, a hairbrush, and a couple of books. I also have a toothbrush and some PJs so that I can get comfy faster when I get to my Airbnb. The real goal of my carryon is to be comfortable if for some horrific reason my luggage didn’t arrive when I did so for that reason, I am also carrying my prescription medication.

From a survival perspective, I have baby wipes, hand sanitizer, an N95 mask, and a small variety of OTC meds to cover heartburn, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, or allergies. I swiped an almost-empty pack of cigarettes from my neighbor to justify my lighter and ball of yarn and a plastic crochet hook to justify my scissors. I have my trusty Sawyer mini, sunglasses, and a bandana, too.

Because it’s an overnight flight, I hope to catch a few Zzzs. I have headphones, a bluesy playlist on my phone, and one of those weird neck pillows. My daughter swears by them, so I agreed to give it a try. I have a long, soft cardigan that is big enough to use as a blanket and a pair of cozy socks. I’m wearing leggings, a t-shirt, and running shoes. Oh. And a fanny pack. My kid swears they’re in style again. In the fanny pack are my wallet, phone, and passport.

I’ll say hi again soon!

All said and done, my travel time from airport to airport is 16 hours and 45 minutes. I have a layover in Munich just in time for breakfast and I’m open to recommendations for what I should eat while I’m there. Anyone?

Be sure to let me know in the comments what you’d like me to write about while I’m away. And if there’s anything you’d like me to ask Selco, I can do that too!

I’ll probably be draggy for a day after all that travel time and jet lag, but I’ll be sure to regale you with stories from the flight soon!

Other articles in this series:

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company.  She lives in the mountains of Virginia with her family. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Prepper\'s Travel Diary: What I\'m Packing
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Daisy – I fly in/out of Munich 3 times a year and all I can tell you is the food at the airport is ridiculously expensive. The Bavarian bakers make some pretty good pastries. If you can get a Krapfen, do it. Similar in concept to a jelly donut in the US, but so much better. If you really feel like going native, order Weißwurst and a Weißbier (Hefeweizen). Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea for breakfast, but Munich natives swear by their Weißwurst. Have fun and travel safe!

  • Wear the fanny pack in front unless you want your pocket picked!

    When Selco offers this course for couples, my wife and I are going to attend.

  • Caution: The airlines confiscated my multitool from my luggage. Considered it a ‘weapon.’ Safe travels.

    • Yes, Bobs is a brand of shoe. Comfortable. When you purchase a pair of Bobs, you are also giving a pair of shoes in the third world.

    • Scissors
      Carry On Bags: Yes (Special Instructions)
      Checked Bags: Yes
      If packed in carry-on, they must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point.

      Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.

      The is from the tsa.gov website. Of course everything is subject to the discretion of the agents at security. Bringing yarn, a crochet hook and scissors together is something I have done and never had an issue with my carry on. Daisy did your scissors make it through? What about the lighter? I am going to Greece in a few weeks with nothing but a carry on, so your article was very timely for me thanks!

  • Suggestions for jet lag that work: Homeopathic Boiron Jet Lag Relief (found on amazon or larger health food stores) However, if you can’t find that: Arnica 30 or 200 for soreness, tiredness (one dose every 6 hours – after the second or third dose you should notice a difference, then stop). Cocculus indicus 30 for for extreme fatigue of jet lag, out of sorts ( 2-3 times per day, should feel a difference after two or three doses, then stop), and Nux vomica 30 or 200 for internal clock disruption (twice daily until back on track). Also the cell salt Nat Mur 6x (or #9) is good to keep you hydrated – put in your water. All dosage info will be on bottle/tube. Google: Joette Calabrese jet lag Also, Arnica is good to carry around for soreness and tiredness.

  • Visit Slovenia right across the northern Croatian border. While the Adriatic coastline is nice, Slovenia offers the Julian Alps, valleys, lakes (Bled/Bohinj), cities (Ljubljana), forests, caves and much more, each close to each other. Slovenia is very affordable, and the people are warm and friendly. Slovenia is very beautiful.

    What would you take in a real-life light weight B.O.B.?

    Extra shoes and socks, moleskin, poncho and a protective pad for when it rains. The pad would be good if you must sleep on an abandoned concrete factory floor. Large plastic garbage bags/blanket to sleep in. Canteen and cup, drinking and cooking. Pencil and pad to take notes. Serbian-Croatian dictionary. Recorder if allowable. Gorilla tape and some Para cord wrapped around your items. P-38 (or John Wayne can opener). IR lens cover or some night vision device. Extra AA batteries (any electronic item is probably more expensive in Europe). If you feel like it, leave the night vision device with Selco. In a real -life situation chances are you’ll move at night, rest in the day. GPS device. Compass. Communication device. Extra glasses if you wear them. Maxi-pads for gunshot wounds. Ok, I doubt if there’s going to be live fire. Heck, you’d think Selco will give a lesson in bartering? I don’t know if it’s cheaper to buy some types of knifes in Europe or not, Mora Kniv, Falkniven, any Swedish knife. Maybe Selco would appreciate an American brand knife? Bark River, Gerber, even a Ka-bar, Ontario/Esee? I guess it depends on what can be taken as baggage, not carry-on. How’z the exchange-rate?

    (ps. ‘Gabriel Traveler’ is a You Tube budget-wise travel log I like to watch. He has videos on Croatia and yes, Slovenia.)

    Enjoy your trip

    • Ps.

      Ok, one last note about Slovenia.
      Considering Vienna is relatively close by, the pastries are very good.
      Good to know.
      Best

  • Let us know, please, how the actuality differs from what we think happens during a catastrophic event. I’m sure we have the ‘watered down’ version of SHTF in the USA.

  • I always have a huge pashmina (scarf) with me, to use as an emergency blanket. When you get to the final boarding gate, fill your scarf (which has been laid flat) with everything you will need DURING the flight. Fold/tie up the corners like a hobo would do. When arriving at your seat, throw your hobo pack on your seat which frees up your hands for putting your carry-on bag in the overhead compartment ACROSS the aisle (if possible). If across the aisle, you can keep an eye on it.

    This process will get you out of the aisle, allowing a quicker and easier boarding. Make sure you have wet wipes to wipe down trays, arm rests, etc – you would not believe how filthy some of these are. This boarding procedure will allow you to un-hurriedly collect the things you will need, without getting in anyone’s way, and will allow you to maintain situational awareness. Plus the big pashmina is a great extra blanket to use on those long overseas flights.

  • How exciting! Cannot wait to hear all of the good-and bad-of your trip. I have Facebook friends in Slovenia: we send pictures of our cocker spaniels and surrounding homes. The place looks gorgeous. I second the use of a Pashmina scarf, they are so handy. And who doesn’t love M&M’s? Peanut or plain-just yummy!!

  • So pleased to learn of your visit to Selco. Please tell him how greatly appreciated his information is. We have learned so much from his posts. (And Jose ‘s about the situation in Venezuela. ) The Organic Prepper is one blog we never pass over!
    I Second the use of homeopathic remedies! Arnica is superb for aches and especially reduces bruising and any swelling from sprains, etc. Apis is great for bee stings and insect bites, Byronia Alba is fantastic at alleviating sinus type headaches.
    Safe travels, Daisy! We look forward to sharing your adventures vicariously through the travelog!

  • Be sure to call your fanny pack a ‘waist pack’ in Europe. Fanny doesn’t have quite the same meaning as here. Closest I can get is our C$=^ word.
    Enjoy your trip!

  • For persons like me who are basically unfamiliar with Arnica or Homeopathy.

    “Arnica is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and southern Russia
    Arnica was used extensively in European folk medicine and alcoholic tinctures were produced by early North American settlers …
    Arnica is classified as an unsafe herb by the FDA because of its toxicity and should not be administered orally or applied to broken skin where absorption can occur.”

    “Homeopathic doses of arnica are unlikely to exert any adverse reactions because of the small amount ingested. Arnica irritates mucous membranes and causes stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Allergy and skin reactions have been reported.”

    The key phase is “Homeopathic doses of arnica”, a very very diluted solution, almost non-existent to the point that it is a signature reflection of the original compound.

    Perhaps Daisy, time permitting, can report back to OP the overall current use of homeopathy around the Bosnian region.

    • … make that “around the Croatian region”. But, since Selco is Bosian, so maybe he has an opinion on the matter.

      Please note I am not brashing Homeopathy. As preppers learning the edible and medical plants, the poisonous and side-effects should be considered first. During SHTF most likely there will be no urgent care centers and any mistake can be fatal.

  • My first thought, why so many clothes?

    For one, I’d skip the jeans. Just take some quick-drying slacks that you can wash in the evening, hang them up over the bathtub and they’re dry by morning.

    I spent six weeks in China with just two pair of slacks, one pair of comfortable shoes, two pair of socks, three shirts, three underwear, all in addition to the gifts that are hard to find in China for people I know that filled up more than half of my luggage. It all fit into my carry-on.

    My laptop fits into a special bag with a sling over one shoulder, tucked under my other arm that I made myself. I bought the smallest Apple Mac laptop, so that when I have it in that sling, and under a windbreaker, it’s not noticeable that I’m packing (a laptop). There are smaller laptops that take Linux that cost only about a third of what the Mac costs, and I found they can do most of what the Mac can do.

    I’m a guy, so I know a woman needs a few more amenities. It might be good practice to see how lightly you can travel. After all, should the worst happen, you may not be able to take more than a few items.

    One thing I learned is that I should have brought along a sewing kit for mending, when a seam came unraveled.

    Of course, the water is not safe to drink (in China) so even the locals buy all their drinking water. So I can see taking along a way to purify drinking water.

    As far as carrying a knife, I’ve been informed that all knives are confiscated by U.S. customs upon entering the U.S. It doesn’t matter if it’s a U.S. knife being brought back, it will still be confiscated. Unless you have a way to hide it.

    Get as much sleep on the plane as possible. After 16 hours on a plane, sleeping as much as possible, I was surprised at how little jet lag I suffered. In fact, the last time, I don’t remember any jet lag. It might help to allow yourself to get tired before getting on the plane, so that sleep comes easier.

    As a man, I have pockets to fill with odds and ends, so carrying a waist bag for those makes sense.

    A small umbrella that opens to full size should be part of your carry-on.

    Dictionaries for local languages are available on both iPhone and Android phones, so that even if you don’t get a prepaid sim card, the phone is still useful. I’ve even used it to access to WiFi and on the web (actually that was an iPod Touch with a small folding keyboard, but the same idea).

    These are just some ideas to consider.

    I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

  • Looking forward to the rest of the series, and this post was great!
    The only additional items that I would have brought would be some zip-llock baggies, a couple of trash bags and a water filter straw. But that’s just me.
    Have fun and learn lots of stuff! 🙂
    Miss Kitty

  • We flew through Munich last year and found the exchange rates for dollars to Euros very high in the airport terminal. Try and see if your bank can get currency for you before you travel.

    We were on our way to Romania and I had notified out bank that we would be going there. They set our ATM cards for use in Romania and nowhere else. This was very inconvenient when we took a side trip to Greece. To make matters worse. our Trac phones didn’t work out of the country so we couldn’t notify the bank.

    I expect you will have as good a time as we did. We loved Romania. Food was great as were the hotels and the prices were about 2/3s of what you would expect to pay in the US for comparable service.

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