Wednesday, January 20, 2010

On-the-go Preparedness and Winter Travel Tips

(adapted from my grandma's newsletter)

I know it comes after the holiday season, but I hope you will read this if you are FLYING anywhere, DRIVING anywhere, or TRAVELING at all. Dangerous road conditions and grounded flights, due to natural or manmade (e.g. terrorist) disasters, can have far reaching consequences for any of us who travel unprepared.

I have added my personal advice to these excellent, creative, and practical suggestions from Carolyn Nicolaysen's article "Surviving the Hazards of Winter Travel" to help us be prepared for any such travel exigency. Again, even if you are just driving around the "happy valley" or flying into Denver for the weekend, it is important to consider carrying some of these items in your car in case of any emergency.

"Carry-On" Essentials:

Next time you or a family member is traveling, especially during the winter months, there are a few things you should be sure to include in your baggage.

1. Carry your cell phone charger : A cell phone is no use without a charge. Unless you use it for slingshot ammo or a doorstop.

2. Emergency ID Card : Always carry an emergency card with your name, home address, allergies, and medical conditions, in your carry-on bag. Also, carry phone numbers for family and friends. When stressed, we can forget these numbers.

3. Carry cash . Small bills are best. Don't be caught short.

4. Carry some food for backup . Carry a few high-calorie bars like those in a 72-hour kit. For best taste and energy, I recommend (my fav-Black Cherry and Almond) Clif Bars or Luna Bars. For your travel day, pack a lunch with variety. I usually carry a self made mix of nuts and dried fruits- for example pecans, cranberries, and granola. Avoid salty foods that will make you thirsty like beef jerky and saltines. I always travel with fresh fruits and veggies, and recommend

5. Drinks . Airports won't let you bring water through security any more, but you can ALWAYS carry a container. Metal containers and thick plastic containers are the best for carrying and storing water and other fluids. Glass containers are also very healthy and good for storing and carrying. ALWAYS CARRY A WATER CONTAINER!!!!!!!!!

6. Vitamins . This in not necessary, but a good idea if you have some already. You can get all of your vitamins from a healthy diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

7. Medications . Always carry your prescriptions in your carry-on bag. Add pain relievers, stomach medication, cold relievers — you know the drill.

8. Change of clothing . Include a change of underwear and a clean shirt in your baggage. It is amazing how much better a change of clothes makes you feel.

9. Personal hygiene items . You can get toothpaste, bars of soap, shave cream, deodorant, almost anything, in travel sizes now. All of these will be some of the first things to sell out at the shops, not to mention feminine supplies. Anything you couldn't live without goes in the carry-on.

10. Mark your luggage in a unique way . Its yours. Make it yours. I sew patches onto my bags.

11. Insect repellent and sunscreen. Sounds crazy, I know, but I would really rather not be bug bait or painfully sunburnt.

12. Pack a diversion . Ipods run out of charge quickly. I recommend packing an entertaining book or small projects such as sewing, crocheting, making necklaces, or anything else to get your mind off stress or take a break from being serious.

13. Mylar survival blanket, extra thermals or coats, SOCKS!!, WARMTH!!! . If you are lucky enough to get a blanket you will want to use it as a covering and that leaves you sleeping on a filthy floor. Place your mylar blanket on the floor and even though you may still be visited by insects, the surface under you is clean, and the foil side of your blanket will reflect and retain your body heat.

14. Travel soft . This is especially important when traveling by plane or bus in case you need to rest a bit, or set up camp for the night. Most airlines don't allow personal blankets or pillows on the plane anymore, but I usually travel with a fleece blanket that doubles as a poncho. Big or comfortable sweatshirts have the same purpose. If your driving or riding the bus, I recommend carrying a sleeping bag (you cant get lightweight ones, and even rent them from BYU outdoor's unlimited if you want to be super prepared)

Moist towelettes . When you are stranded, or help and supplies can't reach you- restrooms run out of supplies (like TP), food courts and stores run out of napkins and other paper products Kleenex. Again, if you NEED it, bring it.

Lists like this one, along with the LDS church's preparedness guidelines (found at and suggestions from your grandmother and other people will help you become personally prepared! Share them, and even add to them. But mostly, these suggestions are to get you thinking about what you can do to become personally prepared. You may never face an emergency or need to use these suggestions; but if you do need them, they will be priceless.

You can follow these steps, use them as guidelines, or add to this list. Remember, preparedness is for the well being of yourself and the people around you. Please share this info to any family or friends that may find it useful!


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