Emergency Travel Essentials
When traveling to a foreign country, whether it be for business or pleasure, it is important to carry a few items with you in case of an emergency. These items are rather small and can be carried in commercial made belts or concealable fanny packs.
Cash: an affordable amount of large denomination bills folded up and placed into a concealed location in a belt to pay for emergency items or a last minute flight out of an isolated country.
Handcuff Key: It is highly encouraged to only use this key in the event of a kidnapping and/or hostage situation. If you are taken into custody by a foreign law enforcement agency, it is advised that you comply at all times and let their legal system and the local United States Embassy sort out the alleged crime.
Copy of Passport/ID: It is always smart to carry a paper copy of your passport and identification in a concealable belt. In the event that you lose your original passport, a paper copy will aid the local embassy in acquiring you a new one.
Precious Coin/Metal: In some countries, you can purchase gold coins/bars right at the airport mall. A small gold coin/bar that is small enough to conceal in a belt could be worth thousands of dollars. This item could be cashed in or traded for emergency items if needed.
Cash: Same as stated above.
Original Passport/ID: Always carry your original passport/ID with you at all times and keep it in a safe location. Carrying them in an outside pocket or purse could be too risky.
Local Cell Phone: Purchase a pre-paid cell phone for the local area and carry it in a concealed pouch. This phone can be used on an emergency in case you lose your cell phone or it is stolen. Pre load all local emergency numbers in the phone to include the number for the local United States Embassy.
Calling Card: In the event that you are in a remote area and cannot acquire a cell phone signal, you might have to resort to using a pay phone. Use a permanent marker to write any important numbers you need on the calling card for future use.
Local Cash: Depending on the environment of the area you are visiting/working, some local residents will not have the ability to exchange United States Dollars (USD) for their local denomination. Having local denomination with you will not only make it easier during a confusing loss of translation conversation but will be less likely to expose you as an American. Take a few minutes to research the exchange rate and have a basic understanding of the local monetary system.
Remember, many less advanced countries do not have the same lifestyles or law enforcement systems as in the United States. Someone offering money to a law enforcement officer in the United States would be a direct trip to jail, while in some other countries, handing an officer a handful of cash to proceed on your way, is a routine activity. We’ve all heard the stories of someone having to pay their way out of Mexico. When traveling in countries that have a reputation for these types of activities, remember to stay calm and assess the situation. If you’re on a family vacation, traveling on dirt roads on a sightseeing trip and approach an officer on the side of the road that insists he has evidence of you trying to smuggle drugs into his country, remain calm and assess your surroundings. You know the difference between a legitimate operation with many officers and one officer stopping you with no witnesses. This is a common shake down heard about many times.
If a bad situation has become worse and the only thing you can do is get out of the country, you should have enough money in your concealed belt to leave everything and exit the country with your cash and passport. You can worry about replacing everything else that you lost once you’re safely home.