My duffle bag lay on the bed stuffed with four days worth of clothes. Socks and undershirts, pants and unmentionables all placed as neatly inside the REI bag. My shaving kit and a few other odds and end round out the space inside. It’s just the right size for nearly a week’s travel.
As I stared down at the bag, I had the internal struggle that most every prepper faces while packing for a trip that involves commercial air travel. “Do I check my bag, or not?”
Traveling Before Prepping
Before I began preparing for the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), I traveled on a regular basis. I didn’t live out of a suitcase as many young professionals do, however I did spend approximately 10 to 20 percent of my time traveling to remote cities.
In those days, I greatly preferred to “carry on” rather than check my baggage. This was in the days prior to baggage fees, so it wasn’t a cost issue for me but rather a convenience factor. Checking baggage meant spending extra time waiting at the luggage carrousel for my bag to be delivered for me. I was in a hurry and didn’t want to waste a moment’s time waiting for my luggage.
But it wasn’t just the waiting, it was the hoping as well. Hoping that my suitcase made it to my destination. “The plane change in Denver was only 25 minutes, I hope my bag made it; I’ve got to be onsite at 8:00am tomorrow.” Most times it did. Occasionally it didn’t.
Times Have Changed
Today, travel is different. It changed forever just over 10 years ago when three planes crashed into key landmarks of our nation, and a fourth fell into a field in Pennsylvania.
Gone are the days when you quickly move through the airport, carrying most everything you may need. No, today there are scanners and random security checks, long lines and color coded threat advisories. Things are different today.
And so am I.
Traveling as a Prepper
Today I am much more conscious about what I have with me at any moment. I like being prepared.
My vehicle has a well-stocked get-home kit along with some food and water. I always have an EDC (Every Day Carry) kit with me in my pocket or computer bag. And I typically make full use of my Concealed Carry Permit.
These items will be useful for me should it really hit the fan when I’m 20 to 50 miles from my little slice of creation.
However, these items are not permitted in a carry-on bag. I understand that. I’m not lobbying to have those rules changed, although I do question the effectiveness of some of them.
So, I’m left with a dilemma. I would still prefer to carry everything I need onto the plane, yet I really don’t want to be 1,000 miles from home without at least a good pocket knife and my EDC.
My analytical personality tells me that the likelihood of the airline losing my luggage is far greater than a TEOTWAWKI event occurring while I’m in a remote city. So statistically speaking, it would make more sense to forego checking a bag and leave my EDC at home.
But, I cannot help but factor in the other aspect. If my bag is lost, I can always replace it. But if I’m caught halfway across the country when TEOTWAWKI happens, not having the bare necessities with me to help me make it back home will be dire indeed.
Probability tells me one thing, my gut tells me something else.
So, when I was faced once again with this dilemma recently, I choose to err on the more recoverable side. I packed a good pocket knife along with my EDC into my green duffle bag and dutifully checked it at the ticket counter.
When I arrived at my destination, I nervously waited at the baggage claim as felt a great sense of relief as the carousel brought my clothes, my shaving kit, and more importantly the peace of mind knowing that I have at least a resemblance of a get-home bag should something bad happen.
So, what about you? When you travel, do you check a bag? Or do you pack light and hope for the best?