Let me introduce myself, my name is Tom, I’m an EMT who just graduated from the 40 day course at Sigma 3 Survival School Survival Instructor Program. I’ve practiced emergency medicine in a variety of areas, and these tips I have listed have helped me greatly in my travels in Central America and Mexico. Prior to graduating the instructor program I lived in Central America for 6 years doing various security jobs and working in remote spots in the jungle.
Recently I took a trip down to Cananea Mexico to do some work with the Cruz Roja Mexicana or Red Cross of Mexico. While I was there in addition to my work, I wanted to pick up some Lidocaine for suturing and some antibiotics and bring that back to the states for personal use.
Now jumping across the border to get supplies isn’t something you want to do without prior preparation. Proper planning prevents piss poor performance! A couple of things that you definitely want to remember when traveling to any foreign country is to make absolutely sure that your paperwork is in order. If all your documents are squared away, it will make the wait time a little less difficult. Second to that is making sure that your story coincides with what your doing there. You don’t want to be heading to Mexico or leaving and tell them your just there visiting, you will have a mile long list of questions to answer. If you were just visiting then have a good answer prepared, an example would be, just coming back from Cancun were I was on vacation for x amount of days. Leave it very simple and basic. Most of the time all of your questions are going to be when you are coming back into the U.S. But don’t say you’re going on vacation to border guards and not have the proper items in your vehicle to substantiate your travel. If you say something, they are trained to look for items in your vehicle to back up your claims, so make sure your story is well thought out beforehand.
Now a couple of little tricks that really help out your situation is speaking the language, if your somewhat fluent you will be able to navigate the situation a whole lot smoother than someone who is not. Know who you are going with, if your headed into a hostile environment then you need to know who is watching your back.
CLEAN your car! Your car should be sanitized before you leave the house! What do I mean by that? Also you want to ask yourself what is in your car right now that may have some shady questionability? Not necessarily to you but to the other person, to the trained professional that is paid to look for something, anything he may be able to use against you. Documents in the glove box that pertain to an old ticket perhaps or that ATM stub. Now they have reasonable suspicion to see if you paid that ticket or if you have any FTA’s. All of this will delay the process of you having a speedy exit. That is your goal, a speedy exit without divulging a whole lot of info about yourself or where you were or what you were doing.
So guys here’s a small list of thing’s that you can do before you head out
1) Sanitize your vehicle, Clean out the trunk and glove box except for necessity items
2) Make sure your passport or travel card is up to date and everything is squared away
3) Check your bags to make sure there is nothing of a suspicion nature. http://www.mexadventure.com/MexicoTravel/Items_Bring_Mexico.cfm
4) Always bring a small medical kit with you this is a real good kit that is just the essentials http://www.amazon.com/Adventue-Medical-Travel-Medic-Kit/dp/B001RN35GU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401997020&sr=8-1&keywords=adventure+medical+kits+travel
5) If traveling to a Spanish speaking country and you don’t speak the language then get an app for you phone that helps translate or a small translation dictionary.
6) Get maps of the area if possible, even in Mexico they have car rental places, they always hand out free maps of the area.
7) Make sure you have means to charge your phone if for some reason you cannot plug it in. The Goal Zero’s are great and have been tested in the field at Sigma 3 extensively.
8) If your there to procure medical supplies then you need to get a script, most Pharmacia’s will write you one for a small fee. Buy in bulk and keep your doctors “note” while coming back over the border.
9) Make sure you have some sort of personal protection on you and the proper training on how to use it. I would always recommend a quality neck knife that’s easily deployable. Coldsteel has some great one’s for a very reasonable price, if nothing else Kubotans are useful as well.
10) Have an Exit Plan put in place, have money put aside in your shoes or bra or somewhere out of site that if thing’s go wrong or your robbed you have something to fall back on. Keep some kind of escape and evasion kit on you for potential SERE situations. Hidden handcuff keys, etc.
Next time I will cover how to move about in hostile environments and what you need to do to not arouse suspicion. Thanks guys stay safe and stay ready! Semper Paratus “Always Prepared”