Vacation Safety and Survival

Simple steps and trips to have a safer vacation this summer

In years past I would carry my Glock 19 in a pelvic pack versus a belt holster.  Driving a distance this allowed me to transport my handgun, spare mag and a small BLACKHAWK! or similar flashlight in relative comfort.  Since I purchased a Kydex Raven Phantom holster I have opted to carry in this rig as is my standard off-duty practice.  I still had the flashlight in my vehicle's center console and could slip it into my pocket if necessary.

Recently, based on my own study and recommendations of the late firearms instructor Paul Gomez, I updated the first-aid kit I carry in my car.  I now include a CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet), Israeli Combat Dressing, and Quick Clot hemostatic Sponge as well as my standard kit.  During vacations in years past I've had the unfortunate experience of seeing my buddy in the car behind me have his car hit and totaled by a driver in a truck, had my youngest dislocate her toe on a play ground, fracture my arm, as well as various accidental lacerations and other injuries.  Since I carry a gun for self-defense against an armed threat, it only makes sense to have the lifesaving gear to stop death from exanguination for me and my travel companions.

I purchased a Garmin GPS travel system years ago and still travel with it even though my iPhone has a navigation app.  The Garmin allows you to exit your standard planned route of travel in case of detour or traffic back-up as well as aid in finding locations to dine, get gas or motels.  Fortunately the price of these GPS devices has dropped considerably from my original purchase price.

Used to be that having a smartphone was a luxury and when you're trying to have a relaxing vacation constant connection to the world can be a pain but in their ability to surf the net and locate emergency contacts, navigate, summon aid as well as stay in contact with the driver's of other vehicles you are traveling with, smartphones are well worth the expense.  Many a time when flying I've used my phone to communicate to my family my flight has been delayed or some other important travel data.

When staying at hotels or motels, a little advanced search on-line can provide to with safety issues such as if there has been a meth raid at the hotel where you're planning on staying.  Even decent chain motels can be the site of mobile meth labs.

I like to make reservations in advance during my travels to ensure I have a room and the motel or hotel is clean and safe.  Regardless, I check out the floor diagram and emergency exits prior to bedding down for the night.  Having once worked security at night at a hotel, I'm more aware than most about the thefts, robberies, drug activity, prostitution, partying and related activity that can take place at these locations.  Always lock and double lock the doors.

AAA membership aids the traveler in getting road side assistance as well as services such as TripTics and getting into your locked car when your 8 year old locked and then closed the doors with your keys in the ignition.

Wrap Up 

Yes, you deserve a break from it all to enjoy the "fruits of your labor".  But as an off-duty police officer responsible for your own as well as your family's security you cannot travel blindlywith your "spidey sense" left in your locker at work.  LEOSA offers you the opportunity to travel while armed and I will take advantage of that option to improve my safety and the safety of my loved ones with whom I am traveling.  Like safety on the job - a little prep landing and awareness go a long way to ensure you have a safe and violence free vacation.


Web Links:

Related Forums Discussions:

About The Author:

Kevin Davis is a full-time officer assigned to the training bureau where he specializes in use of force, firearms and tactical training. With over 23 years in law enforcement, his previous experience includes patrol, corrections, narcotics and he is a former team leader and lead instructor for his agency's SWAT team with over 500 call-outs in tactical operations.

  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.