How to Pack When going to a War Zone?

Posted on: March 6th, 2011 | No Comments

Packing depends a lot on your expected length of travel, gender and personal preferences but it’s helpful to think in the layer system (discussed in a previous post) and climate throughout the trip (not just at the destination).  It’s often cold in deserts and sunny in cold places, there could be a pool at your overnight stay while in transit and then there’s that unplanned requirement to sleep in the airport (here’s a worthwhile link to consider).  All these should be considered on one trip. 

Almost universally, things that stimulate the mind are carried by those traveling to Libya: books, MP3 players stuffed with music, laptops loaded with cheaply acquired movies and TV series.  But ballistic body armor is not: freelance stringers can’t afford it and aid workers are usually not that close to the fighting.  Besides vests and helmets are heavy, take up lots of luggage space and makes you stick out like a sore thumb.

So in most ways, packing to go to a war is no different than going to any place that is severely underdeveloped with a (possible) lack of electricity, clean drinking water, the presence of bugs and other annoyances that make travel more interesting. Even if conditions are fine today, what if the power suddenly goes out for three straight days?  A candle, matches and a flashlight that doesn’t need batteries would be great.  What if I need to wash my clothes in my hotel sink? I’d need a long cord to dry them.  What if my camera strap breaks, pack rips or jack tears at the elbow?  A bit of duct tape is essential.  This is what the Essential Journey’s Kit was made for and is included on my bag on the way to Libya.

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