Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Commercial Travel Survival Tips

By: Sebastian Berry

I just came back from a trip from Utah to Las Vegas. Because I like to have my articles be relevant and timely, I like to use recent experiences to fuel my material.

My brother and I have been planning a man trip for a couple of months now. My brother and I both grew up watching boxing and Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the planet at the time. Well, Iron Mike is currently having another run with a Vegas show where he talks about his life and boxing. He's actually a very funny man and the show was really good. I digress.

I could see him sweat on stage

I am not a stranger to commercial, especially airline, travel. Most of my musings to follow will apply to air travel but can be applied to any travel scenario.

  • Hunt for bargains
With the internet today, finding a bargain on travel can be as easy as just Googling it. Really. Google Flights can find flights, track prices, and notify you of changes. I was able to purchase my round trip flight from SLC to LAS for $68.
    • Use your loyalty programs
As a subsection for bargain hunting. Always remember there is a loyalty program for everything. Hotels, Flights, Cars, Groceries, Ground Transport, Players Cards. Use as many as you can to get your best deal while traveling.
  • Packing 
Please don't try to take everything with you. Especially with how many airlines charge for luggage. If you can get by with a small carry on-DO IT! You can always do laundry at your destination if you need to. I can pack 3-4 days worth of clothing in line with the weather at my destination, keeping in mind that I need something to wear that is appropriate for the weather from my departure city and return.

If you have daily meds, they need to stay with you. Do not pack these in a carry on that will leave your side, like a carry-on that goes in the overhead storage bin on a plane. Meds need to be on your person or in a backpack or purse that will remain with you at all times. The last thing people with maintenance/survival meds need is to not have their meds exactly when they need them. It is also not unheard of that your luggage in the overhead bin gets robbed in flight or taken during deplaning.

If you are one of many travelers that absolutely needs to check a bag or multiple bags to survive, bless your heart (read in the most southern of twangs). Mix what you pack in your luggage. Do not pack all clothing in one and all your tchotchkes in another. In the event a piece of luggage does get lost you still have something to wear. Make use of your small carry-on and keep a change of clothes with you (and your meds).
  • At the airport
I found a nice corner with an outlet at SLC
We've heard it all before, but really, don't be a jerk to security. It's not the time to make jokes about bombs or anthrax or leaving your bag unattended. You will get hemmed up and it will not be pleasant.

Pro-tip: from the time you check in until you actually pass through security (assuming you do it all in one motion) just keep your ID and other travel documents in your hand. Don't be that person that has to fish around in their bag or wallet right as you get to the TSA checkpoint.

Amazingly enough, different airports have different requirements about taking off shoes and coats. When leaving SLC it was shoes and coats off and on the belt for inspection. When leaving LAS I could keep both on unless TSA specifically indicated to me that it might set off the metal detector. TSA has a travel checklist here that you can review. Specific airports have their own websites that you can find for answers as well.
  • At your destination

Enjoy yourself and have fun but be diligent. In the blink of an eye your situation can change. Think of the music festival attendees in Las Vegas not so long ago. I wrote an article mentioning that specific instance here

Situational awareness and survival go hand in hand. Know the place where you are staying-entries and exits available, emergency numbers, assistance locations, consulate or embassy location are just a few things to keep in mind.

Do your best not to stand out. Be the gray man (this would be a good article some other time). Do everything you can to present yourself as a hard target. As is the case in Las Vegas, recreational marijuana is legal. Limit your consumption of drugs and alcohol-have a good time, just in moderation.

Trust your gut! If something doesn't feel right don't ignore that feeling, especially while traveling. The adage of "See something, Say something" comes to mind. This tends to be much easier while traveling with a group but don't hesitate to get other people involved if you are traveling solo. Ask for help.

What other travel survival tips might you add? Let us know in the comments.

As a personal aside: I am thankful to have an outlet to impart my knowledge to others and that there are people that are willing to use that knowledge to make their lives better. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Vehicle Tips For Winter Survival Situation

During the winter, there are a lot more opportunities for things to go wrong in a survival situation. In fact, being stranded in certain geographical areas could cause great health problems and even death. That’s why it is so important that you be prepared with a proper vehicle survival kit.

The kit should be kept in your car throughout the winter, especially if you often travel in sparsely populated areas. It could potentially become a life saving kit, for you as well as your passengers.

General Vehicle Survival Tips
When it comes to survival, we cannot stress “preparation” enough! This is definitely the case when it comes to your vehicle. Prep it and make sure it stays prepped at all times. For instance, make sure your gas tank has an ample supply of gas, given the terrain you will be traveling. Also, we sure to check your antifreeze before each trip.

It’s a lot easier for someone to come to your aid if you’re easy to find. Tell a trusted friend or family member where you’re headed, what route you plan to take and make sure you contact them once you arrive at your destination. Let them know that if they don’t hear from you, that they should first contact the area to which you are going. If you did not reach your destination, they will know which way to go and greatly increase your chances of survival.

If your vehicle becomes stuck, make sure to leave a flag tied to an antenna and keep those dome lights turned on. Rescue personnel can see the smallest glow in the distance, especially at night and in the snow. If you’re worried about draining your battery, keep an ear out for approaching emergency vehicles and only use your emergency flashers at that time.

If Forced To Stay In Your Vehicle
If you do become stuck, it’s always questionable as to whether you should get out and go for help or just stay in the car. We suggest the latter in most cases. Walking in a winter storm can be incredibly dangerous and it’s easy for exhaustion to set it in cold weather. Your vehicle makes a good shelter, and you won’t suddenly find yourself lost.

However, if you have been in your car for a longer period of time, there are other things to keep in mind. For instance, if the snow is falling hard and fast, your exhaust can become blocked or plugged. Continuing to run the vehicle in this situation will cause carbon monoxide to build up inside the car, which can be deadly in a very short period of time.

If this is the case, only run the car for ten minutes on every hour. Make sure that the exhaust is free of snow, if possible and keep your windows cracked while the engine is running, just in case. It’s better to be cold than to risk the outcome of staying warm.

Avoid Overexertion
If you become trapped in a snow storm, it’s very tempting to try to free yourself, in any way that you can. However, pushing the vehicle or attempting to shovel snow to free the vehicle takes a lot more effort in extreme weather conditions than it normally would.

Don’t attempt this, as you could sustain an injurty that would make things worse, or you might possibly have a heart attack. Additionally, you will become hot and sweaty. While warming up always sounds like a good idea in the extreme cold, the aftermath could cause frostbite or death. Wet garments that have become sweat-soaked will quickly lose their insulative properties and can cause hypothermia.

Put Together A Survival Kit For Your Vehicle
We mentioned a survival kit earlier, and now we’re going to tell you a few items you should make sure to include. While you may not use every single one of them, it’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!

Here’s what you have in a kit in your vehicle during the winter:

  • A shovel, for keeping the exhaust free of snow buildup or to move a light amount of snow from around your tires.
  • A scraper for your windshield, or a small hand broom. It’s important that rescuers and emergency personnel be able to see inside the vehicle.
  • A flashlight with an extra supply of batteries. In the event that your car battery dies, a flashlight can be used to alert rescuers to your location.
  • A battery powered emergency radio. Not only will it give you something to listen to in order to pass the time, it can keep you up to date on any special weather conditions and whether they will let up or worsen.
  • An ample supply of water. Always keep at least enough for 24 hours, but if you have room, keep more.
  • Snack foods. Make sure you have snacks that provide ample energy and are of the utmost nutritional value. In any emergency situation, nutrition is important, but even more so during cold weather.
  • Matches, candles or other small items such as this. This will make sure you don’t use up all the battery power of the car’s battery or your flashlight batteries.
  • Extra pairs of socks, mittens and hats. Remember that in cold weather, dressing in layers is always the best route. It’s one of the main cold-weather survival skills taught in the military.
  • First aid kit.
  • Any medications that you simply cannot do without. This would include medications for blood pressure, diabetes and breathing disorders such as asthma, which can be made worse by cold weather.
  • Blankets or a sleeping bag. This adds another layer of insulation for protection against the elements and can sometimes be used by more than one person. Two people inside one sleeping bag, especially children, can create more heat than just one alone.
  • Tow chain or a rope that is big enough to tow  a vehicle. If you happen to be found by someone other than emergency workers who are well equipped, having this one item could potentially be a life saver.
  • Sand, cat litter or road salt.
  • Booster cables.
  • Emergency flares. These can be used to alert someone to your location who may not be very close to you.

If possible, store the kit inside the vehicle instead of the trunk. In extremely low temperatures, the trunk lid can become jammed or even freeze shut. A kit you can’t get to is like having no kit at all, so think ahead.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

33 Recommended Books For the Prepper and Survivalist

By Karen Roguski

Being a prepper, farmer, or survivalist can be difficult for those that are not ready and prepared. It takes knowledge of just about every detail that one might have or didn’t realize that they will need.

To help one be as knowledgeable as possible we have gathered together our recommended 33 books. These reading materials are to help ensure accurate and hopefully complete knowledge for the all - the beginner to the proficient.

  • Prepper Handbook: Road Map to Advanced Disaster Preparedness by JR Ray
  • Living Well on Practically Nothing by Edward H. Romney
  • The Encyclopedia of Country Living – by Carla Emery
  • Country Living by Carla Emery
  • The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen
  • Just in Case by Kathy Harrison
  • Real World Survival by Richard Lowe Jr
  • Live Off The Land In The City And Country by Ragnar Benson
  • SHTF Prepping: The Proven Insider Secrets For Survival, Doomsday and Disaster Preparedness by Gavin Williams
  • Off The Grid Living by Oliver Stokes
  • The Self-Sufficiency Handbook by Alan Bridgewater
  • Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills by Abigail R. Gehring
  • Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Jack A. Spigarelli
  • Countdown to Preparedness by Jim Cobb
  • SAS Survival Guide: How to Survive in the Wild, on Land or Sea by John 'Lofty' Wiseman
  • Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales
  • Prepper's Homesteading by Nathan Chester
  • Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton
  • Prepping Made Easy by Terry Garreth
  • Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury
  • Little House on the suburbs by Deanna Caswell, Daisy Siskins and Jacqueline Musser
  • Prepper: Complete Prepper’s Survival Guide And Self Sufficient Living by Greg Adams
  • The Home Survivalist's Handbook by Christopher "BigBear" Eastin  and  Ryan Acker
  • Prepping: How To Survive Off The Grid by Martin Luxtonberg
  • The Prepper's Workbook Scott B. Williams and Scott Finazz
  • Survival Hacks: Over 200 Ways to Use Everyday Items for Wilderness Survival by Creek Stewart
  • Survival Theory: A Preparedness Guide by Jonathan Hollerman
  • The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way by Joseph Alton and‎ Amy Alton
  • Practical Prepping (No Apocalypse Required) by Randall S Powers and Steven Konkoly
  • How To Survive The End Of The World by James Wesley Rawles
  • Doomsday Prepping Crash Course Book by Patty Hahne
  • Barnyard in your Backyard by Gail Damerow
  • PREPAREDNESS NOW! by Aton Edwards

One will find hundreds of additional topics, handbooks, tips and tricks books and PDF’s. Keep in mind that with new books coming out on a daily basis one's library will never be totally complete. With this in mind, we at Family Survival Farm hope that you will list any additional recommendations below.