List Of Items In A Suitcase For “Get Home” Preparedness

Patriot LEO said, “The wife and I have scheduled some vacation trips this summer, at least one via airlines. When I travel via car I’m usually very well prepared with ‘Get Home’ supplies and equipment (much to my wife’s displeasure due to space), but traveling by plane presents a different situation.”

“Ken, do you or anyone else have a Get Home “list of items” that could go in a suitcase without costing a fortune in over-weight costs and/or space?”

Excellent topic, Patriot LEO! I have posted about this a few times. However it’s a good one to brainstorm about again.

I used to travel a lot during a previous career. It involved overnights stays ranging from one night, up to several weeks at a time. Most all trips were flights (versus driving).

I will list some of the items I would take with me (in a suitcase or carry-on) for Get-Home preparedness…

This will be in no particular order.


Sure, a credit card is required to rent a car (emergency “get home” if air travel is a non-option). But cash can go a long way towards all sorts of purchases for all kinds of “items” if necessary. I carried a somewhat considerable sum, in a few different places on my person.

[ Read: Being Far Away From Home When It Hits The Fan… ]


I would carry a mini flashlight (pocket). I also have one on my keychain. Additionally, a small but efficient tactical flashlight in the suitcase for nightstand. Powered by lithium batteries for longevity.

[ Read: Keychain Flashlight That Fits On Your Key Ring ]


Energy bars. A Variety. They’re smallish, calories, and will keep you going. Good snacks too. I like the CLIF BARS.

[ Read: CLIF Bar – One Of The Best Energy Food Bars For Survival Kit ]


I would buy bottled waters when I got to my temporary destination. I would always be renting a car, so I could keep this in the vehicle (e.g. buying a case of water).

[ Read: Water & Food (Level 1 Preparedness) ]


Sometimes carry-on bag would be a backpack. I had several types of carry-on bags. Some were more “business” type bags – depending on my trip. But other times I would stuff a backpack inside a checked-bag if I felt the need. It worked out well because some of my business would be “business” while later on the same trip I would be at a job site getting my hands dirty, so to speak – backpack over my shoulder with my tools of the trade… (and/or a real toolkit – my own customized ‘Jensen’ tech kit).

[ Read: Bug Out Bag Kit (Checklist – Packing) ]


There are lots of good reasons to bring a small battery operated radio. I’ve had several over the years. Though they don’t make it anymore, I often took the Sony SW7600GR.

[ Read: Best Portable Shortwave Radios ]


The BaoFeng is a nice little 2-way radio. If you’re into the tech of it, you can program a wide variety of frequencies to suit your purposes for communications. Basically it’s just another comms gadget which may or may not be within one’s wheelhouse.

[ Read: Best BaoFeng Antenna Upgrade for Ham Radio and GMRS, FRS, MURS Bands ]


Yes, today’s smart phones and GPS apps can get you most anywhere on the planet. However, there’s nothing like a map or road atlas. I’ve always liked maps. Topo maps. Road maps. You name it… It’s quite a different perspective viewing a map than a small screen on a smart phone or GPS. Prior to any trip, I would review the area with online maps – so I would have a better idea. Sometimes I would print a map or two.

[ Read: Road Atlas Maps For Each State ]


Assuming you still can’t take a knife on a plane (I haven’t flown in a while), I would put one in my checked bag. If TSA didn’t steal it, great… I would then have a pocket carry at my temporary destination. If I also checked a tool kit, well, problem solved there too. Be aware of any knife laws at your destination. I recall one trip to the UK where knives are considered pretty scary over there… whoops.

[ Read: The Best Pocket Knife Is The One You Are Carrying ]


Important. Keep at least the basics in a small first aid kit. Do-it-yourself, or buy a small one for your bag.


Spent many a night in a hotel. A door stopper of some sort is always a good idea, depending on what kind of hotel/motel you’re at! (or where it is…)

[ Read: 10+ Personal Security Tips For Hotel Stays ]

The request was about items to help “getting home” that you might fit in your suitcase(s) while on a trip.

Consider how far away from home. This may adjust your thinking a bit.

Think about the various “what if” scenarios that may have you “getting home” right quick…

Methods of getting home. Then, how might you accomplish that.

Know the directions to get home.

You’re either getting home by plane, train, automobile, bike, boat, walking… they haven’t invented the “transporter” yet.

Water. Food. Security.

Shelter. Shelter includes your clothes, outwear gear, overnight stay issues or preparations. Weather considerations?

In essence I would be packing a mini survival kit of sorts within my overall luggage. At least the basics. Then go from there.

It’s always a challenge deciding what preps to take anywhere. When space is limited you really have to think about risk-reward and risk-tolerance thresholds.

Okay I’ve said enough, what about your further ideas?

[ Read: Some Of The Preps That I Took With Me During A Long Road Trip ]


  1. The thing that sorta freaks me out about air travel away from home, you are pretty much defenseless, TSA makes sure of that, they like victims.

  2. The first time I flew overseas I made sure I had a floating waterproof flashlight, it is also orange. ha ha, like it would really matter if the plane went down in the ocean, I would more than likely be dead.
    Keep a Leatherman in my vehicle. One with a lot of tools on it.

  3. I quit flying long ago since I saw a tail fall off an airline ready to take off while waiting for my flight, so I shouldn’t be restricted for what I bring in car travel.

    I bring the usual spare tire, tools, blanket, bug out bag with goodies and TP with a bucket. Never know when you have emergencies and can’t find any toilets in time.

    1. Curious about the bucket. I am assuming you would be on the side of the road somewhere if this emergency came up so why the bucket? If you were that worried about carrying your waste away a zip lock would work. I guess the bucket could be used for other things

  4. Sensible footwear for walking because you never know if, when or how far. Remember the people having to hoof it out of NYC after 9/11? Would hate to have been someone with high heels trying to navigate the debris.

    1. ‘Sensible footwear’.
      I absolutely never went anywhere without a good pair of ‘Hikers.’
      Essential !

  5. For the two-way radio, use caution during international travel. Sometimes, two-way radios are restricted by certain nations.

  6. Pre 9/11 I travelled extensively, over 100k miles/yr. I generally tried to not check bags but if I did, the items marked * were moved to checked bags.

    Always with me on plane:

    • Never wore synthetic clothing on plane – It is bad in a fire and many times people survive the crash but die of toxic smoke or fire. Wore long sleeve cotton or wool shirt and jeans most times. There is a way to roll up a suit, shirt and tie to carry in a shoulder bag and not wrinkle.
    • A fold flat activated carbon gas mask. (Doesn’t look like one and never rose suspicion with TSA types.)
    • Smoke hood.
    • Pair of leather gloves
    • 100 ft of 5mm climbing rope*
    • carabiner*
    • Always wore a belt made from 1” nylon webbing with steel ring buckle system. (With the above items I could always repel out of a hotel window if needed)
    • Leatherman tool (had to move to check bags after 9/11)
    • 6” AA minimag flashlight. (defensive item) Spare batteries
    • Several gal ziplock bags (can be filled with water and put in backpack/bag or filled w/ air and put in bag for flotation.
    • Fleece for cold/wet survival but don’t wear in a fire, it can melt to skin.
    • Change of underwear
    • ziploc with baby wipes.
    • Fire starter*
    1. If I was checking bags, usually put in these:

      • first need water purifier
      • Rain gear or poncho
      • more cash (hidden in hollow nylon straps in bag)
      • gear marked * above
      • Small jar of peanut butter
      • Delorme topo atlas of states I would be in
      • Compass
      • More clothing (mostly business attire)
      • Shoe polish (the old kiwi would burn and was good to help start a fire) Cotton shin rag (can be burned)

      As you see if smart, some items can do double or triple duty.

        • A handheld 2m ham radio (FT411) with AA battery case and repeater guide
        • Names and phone numbers of people I could connect with in towns I was traveling to.
  7. I’ve found it useful to have non-TSA approved items FEDEX’ed to my destination. I also flat pack the return FEDEX box in the package for returning to home.

  8. – Used to carryon a small duffel bag with a class “B” uniform, extra underwear, socks and tee shirt. Small shaving kit with stuff for uniform maintenance/Kiwi for shoes (yes, burns quite well). This was back in the 80’s/90’s. Also had a freshly fueled Zippo.

    Kept a small water bottle and a couple of snickers/butterfinger/payday candy bars in the bag (This was before Clif bars). Hand carry another water bottle.

    Could not do checked baggage, but did at least have my SAK and a 1911A1 with 3 full 7-round mags tucked under my armpits to go with my other carryon, an aluminum briefcase.

    Made several trips across the Atlantic with that and about $200 in my shoe, and typically around forty in my billfold.

    – Papa S.

  9. A very interesting article BUT I live in Anchorage, Alaska. to walk home from Sweetgrass MT. to Anchorage, Alaska is around 2,500 miles. Or about 250 days at 10 miles a day if you were to walk every day then the question is will Canada allow me in? I make plans for other things.

  10. don’t know if things have changed as I haven’t flown in a couple of years but in the US you used to be able to put a gun in your check-in luggage as long as it was in a locked box and you notified the airline.

    1. The regs may have changed, but you could also check up to 11 pounds of ammo.

      1. Alaskan Airline will allow 50 pounds of ammo in checked luggage if flying Alaskan all the way. 11 pounds if making a connecting flight!!

      2. Still the same, at least on Southwest. Will be doing this next month to Denver.

  11. Putting convo here for retention. . . Commercial jets require 2 pilots, 3 if the flight is over 8 or 10 hours long. We know the co-vax was mandated for pilots and can expect that to impact pilot availability. Retirements of boomers, and of those laid off during covid travel limitations, coupled with fewer available military-trained pilots, is hampering airlines big-time. Fortune has an article that says more than 40 (European) countries have asked the ICAO to approve single-pilot flights. See ( See also ( Another good thing to have along on a trip is the alternative of staying longer where you go, or an alternate way to get home.

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