Editor’s Note: This article is an adapted excerpt from Jim Wagner’s acclaimed e-book Protecting Others: Self-Defense Strategies and Tactics for Third-Party Protection, now available in the Black Belt Store!
A lot of people seem to drop their guard when they are on vacation. They are so preoccupied with having a good time that they forget that criminals prey on unsuspecting tourists. Although having a good time is the primary focus of any vacation, situational awareness must remain paramount to protect yourself and others with you. The same is true for the business traveler. You not only must take precautions at your workplace, but you also must be just as vigilant when traveling to unfamiliar destinations and checking into a hotel.
Part of protecting others is having tools and items you need for a wide variety of incidents while you are traveling. A Go Bag is a tactical bag that has essential emergency supplies in it that you can grab and take with you immediately. A Go Bag should not stand out or attract any undue attention. You don’t want anything that looks militaristic if you plan to use public transportation. You want it to be a bag that looks like it could have been bought in any travel store, and stay away from any bright, flashy colors.
As a professional traveler and a person with extensive tactical training and experience, I carry certain personal equipment with me at all times anytime I travel both on my person and in a Go Bag. I suggest that you carry the same items that I do. Let’s go over each piece of equipment.
PHOTO A: I am in my typical traveling attire. I wear a shirt that has lots of pockets and pants that have lots of pockets. I also wear sturdy boots that have a zipper along their sides; this helps me get through airport security quickly.
PHOTO B: Attached to my key chain is always a small LED light. A light, even a small one, can be used in a variety of tactical situations in the event of a subway attack, a smoky tunnel or a blackout. It is also useful in everyday situations, like finding a light switch in a dark room.
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PHOTO C: Always have a throwaway wallet to give to the criminal should you ever be robbed. Inside this wallet are fake family photos. You don’t ever want the criminal to have photos of your own family, but having photographs of children, even if they are not your own, may get some sympathy from the criminal. You can also say, “Please, don’t shoot me. I have a family.”
PHOTO D: Inside your throwaway wallet should be some promotional credit cards. They are cards sent by credit card companies and usually have the impression “your name here.” They look like real credit cards when they are in the wallet pocket; a person can’t tell the difference. If you don’t receive these promotional credit cards in the mail, you can always take an old credit card you no longer use and cut your name off it. Also in your throwaway wallet, always carry enough cash to satisfy a criminal. I actually purchase things using the throwaway wallet so that if I am under criminal surveillance, the robber will see me hand him the same wallet that I was using to make my purchase. For a woman, I suggest wearing a money belt where personal identification and credit cards can be kept. There are companies that make form-fitting money belts for women. All other items, such as makeup, brushes, breath mints, etc., can be kept in the purse.
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PHOTO E: You must be prepared for car fires, structure fires and terrorist chemical attacks. You want a compact smoke hood that is designed to filter out not only toxic fumes from a vehicle or structure fire but also chemical weapons that a terrorist might use in a public place.
PHOTO F: I always carry a pair of flexible nylon handcuffs with me. They usually run less than $5 each, and two or three can fit into the change pocket of a pair of pants. There is no metal in them so they can go through any metal detector at an airport security checkpoint. I carry a minimum of two on me because they are one-time-only devices. If you pull it too …