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IdentificationThis includes your passport, driver's license, healthcare insurance and/or Medicare card, and proof of insurance. The passport, if you're traveling to another country, is especially important. Make photocopies of it and have a scanned version of it on your laptop, flashdrive or CD. Always make sure you have a copy of the 24 claims number for your insurance provider.
Have preprinted labels with your address, home phone number, and e-mail address with you at all times. Make sure each piece of luggage has at least two. Attach one label to a handle and put the other label in the luggage in case something happens to the outside label.
MoneyBring two credit cards, so you'll have one in case one gets stolen or lost. Also make sure you have the credit card customer service numbers written down and kept somewhere other than your wallet. If you lose the wallet, you'll want to be able to call the credit card companies about the missing cards before some thief goes on a spending spree with your card. Keep some blank checks on hand. If you're travelling in another country, keep some of the local currency with you, too.
Get a prepaid long distance card. Some places either have no cell phone service at all, or they have really steep roaming charges. Keep a written, preferably coded, list of passwords that will let you access online financial data and your e-mail accounts.
Medical SuppliesIf you take prescription medicine, sort it out into daily dosages. Bring an extra three days' worth in case your trip back home is delayed for some reason. Take a First Aid kit that includes antibiotics, antibiotic cream, bandages, instant hot packs, diarrhea medicine, pain medication, and anything else you frequently use or believe you might need. Consider the local conditions when deciding what to add to your kit.
Insect repellent and sunscreen will both protect you from common causes of outdoor injuries. Hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes can also protect your health.
Trustworthy TransportationWhen it comes to survival on the road, a number of factors must be taken into consideration when choosing your vehicle. If you need to carry lots of essential items, a larger car is probably best. Similarly, if you must travel long distances, a fuel-efficient vehicle will not only save you money but will reduce your likelihood of being stranded if you cannot find working sources of fuel at regular intervals. The ideal vehicle, according to an expert at a Hyundai dealership, should be spacious enough to safely transport your group and items and efficient enough to give you over thirty-seven miles per gallon.
Emergency SuppliesA two-way radio will enable you to stay in touch with others. Get one that includes a NOAA weather scan and emergency alert. Have a pocket poncho for yourself and everyone with you. A poncho is lightweight raingear that really can fit in one's pocket. A Mylar emergency blanket will keep 90 percent of your body heat inside—even if you’re not headed to a chilly destination, it’s good to have a few of these blankets around just in case. Again, make sure there's one for everybody.
Keep water purification tablets on hand. If the water supply in your area or at your destination gets contaminated, you can use them to make sure you have safe and potable water. Protein and snack bars make a good, on-the-go food source. They keep a long time, don't require any cooking, and many taste good. A small LED flashlight, and possibly a LED headlamp will make good emergency light sources. LED lights last much longer than other lights, and they use a lot less energy. Other emergency supplies you should pack include an emergency whistle, a paracord or parachute cord, chemical light sticks, a Swiss Army knife or pocket knife, and duct tape with some tie wraps.
Other ItemsHave a list of emergency contacts that includes people's e-mail addresses and phone number. Pack your cell phone charger or a USB cable to use as a charging cable, batteries (or rechargeable batteries plus a battery charger) and travel tissues and a travel-sized roll of toilet paper.
A lot of the items listed are, admittedly, things most people would take on a trip. Some are not, but all of them can help you in a sticky situation, which is what being prepared is all about.
Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.
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