William Petty of Centrifuge Training has made a name for himself in the training community with his excellent vehicle close quarter combat course class. As you might expect, his specialization in vehicle-based tactics forces has him flying all over the country to teach officers and civilians how to not die should they get in a gunfight in or around a car.
Since many gun owners also do a good bit of flying and often use bags or cases that they also use when going to the range, a few words of wisdom from a dude who travels with guns, ammo, and body armor for 200-plus days a year comes in handy.
I recently was asked several times about traveling and thought I share what I’ve learned from being on the road 200+ days a year (for 3 years straight now) with all of them being outdoors…
1) Don’t over pack. (Check the weather and always pack for contingencies). That being said I’ve found less is more and good clothing is essential in the elements.
2) Always decon your carry on packs before heading to the airport. Nothing is worse than finding that loaded D60 in your backpack as TSA searches your gear.
3) Water and food. Lots of both and quality of the latter. Pack what you can in your carry on / rental car / hotel.
4) Wash your hands. A lot.
5) Learn to sleep on planes. I travel with a small fan (it does wonders when you’re at a place that doesn’t have AC or need white noise). Tylenol PM does wonders if you have a full 8 hrs on your side.
6) Charge all electronics whenever you can. There have been tons of times where I was at 50% on whatever and thought I was gtg, only to be delayed or sitting on a tarmac for hours and at 2% when trying to schedule an Uber etc.
7) Pack what your minimum is on your carry on. I.E., in my carry on I have a full med kit, Arcteryx rain jacket, light Arcteryx jacket, eyes, ears, electronics, 2 Surefire lights, thumb drives, aspirin, markers, pens etc. Everything that is my bare minimum to run a day or two on the range if the rest of the luggage is lost (which had happened). I can (and have) bum a handgun / carbine on the range.
8) An easy smile and laid back demeanor will get you farther than throwing a temper tantrum or being all honey sheep hitting wolf badger on TSA or your Airlines personal etc etc.
9) Travel in comfortable clothes…but also the clothes you could do your job in the next couple of days if needed.
10) Work out. It sucks and it’s hard to do on the road. Do it anyway. I use Anytime Fitness and there have been very very few places I’ve ever been that didn’t have a gym local or within a 20 min drive (at furthest).
11) Direct flights. Always.
12) If you don’t travel much… notify your bank. Keep a secondary form of payment on your person. Even if you notify your bank, sometimes they will cancel your debit card.
13) Researching good rates is really time consuming, but well worth it. We have had a lot of success with AAA discounts on airfare and rental cars. The government rate at hotels is usually cheapest, but occasionally AAA is better. Take time to compare before you book. Accumulating points and status via rewards programs with specific vendors can take time and cost $$ up front, but it pays off long term. We save a ton on checked bag fees and upgraded seats with American, get upgraded cars and free rentals with Hertz, and lots of free nights and upgraded rooms with Marriott.
14) Yelp everything. Nothing is worse than working all day and sitting down for your only meal of the day and it’s terrible.
15) If you’re working outside, pack heavy on underwear and socks… light on everything else.
16) Stay alert. Be aware of exits, shady people, where your luggage is, things that are odd and out of place, where the other good guys are at etc.
You can learn more about William Petty and the classes he offers on the Centerfuge Training website.