I hope I hurt some feelings and deflated an ego or two with the title. It is difficult to accept for many folks, but there aren’t that many CIA agents, Green Berets, SEALs, etc. in this world. Even so, when they are giving out these best gear and what to do list, they are often referencing something official in the past. Their past operations within the complexities of government travel.

The rest of us and even those guys, now in civilian status will get our collected asses nailed to the wall when attempting to pack in and pull off these shenanigans, or in ruck “tactic-cool” to a foreign land, or even a cross-country flight. The damned TSA won’t let you take a tube of toothpaste, let alone a Bat’leth. The TSA has no honor.

Anyway, welcome to part three of the mercenary series, check out parts I and II to catch up on that. Today we are going to cover a decent packing list because the lists I have seen online are just begging to get a few people locked up. For the most part, this focuses on leaving the country, so my first point to you is that you are not going to be in America anymore. You are not going to, “I need to talk to a manager,” your way out of the situations you can here. Although, you can bribe your way out of most situations, so pack cash.

A wise man, a Method Man, once said: “Cash rules everything around me.” Outside of the typical Western world, or the safe places in the suburbs, the well-lit hipster parts of downtown most people are content with plastic. The credit/debit card solution, electronic transfers. More like a trackable dependence in unreliable places, which will most likely be hacked. Bring cash and your cards, but for the sake of sweet baby Jesus in a tuxedo shirt – avoid using the card as much as possible.  As I’ve stated above, you’ll need cash for bribes, and you really don’t want to give your credit card to most of the places that may accept it. That is unless you’re some super-paid corporate type, and you stay at the exclusive places with arranged drivers and security. Well, if you are I hope you get hacked and robbed. Sorry but I’m poor, so go to hell.

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Sometimes the local currency is bullets. Image courtesy of Buck Clay

It is also wise to exchange money before you leave. A lot of larger cities have exchanges that are not in the airport, and the airport will rob you on fees and rates. AAA exchanges money for members in any currency, and you can always get someone else to place the order. While you’re at AAA that would be a good time to pick up an international drivers license, or at places such as IDL which will allow you to order online. This is a solid document to have if you plan on operating a private motor vehicle while abroad, if so update your insurance, USAA is good for international coverage as is AAA.

Cash is king, hide it on you and never leave it anywhere; that includes a safe or with anyone. Keep your mind on your money and your money in your sock. You should only keep a little walking around money in your wallet, and a few folded up bribe bills on you in clever places like under the face of a watch or behind the cover of your phone.

Phones are something to seriously consider; and sure, you can keep your regular phone and a tablet. In fact, call your carrier and add international service. It’s really not as expensive as you would think and you can typically change it up per country as to where you’re going, just cancel it when you’re home. This will save you money, and a means to easily communicate with your contacts, just be careful about when you have this phone turned on. If you’re not aware, and you should be -it’s 2016 but a mobile device it is too easy to track. When you go beeping about abroad with your foreign phone signal, they won’t have to look for you as you’ll just pop-up on their radar. If you aren’t hip to that, stay home – you’re a liability. That said, being tracked is also an asset at times, for your safety – just be mindful.

You’re also going to need two other phones at a minimum. Both of these phones should be paid for in cash, in person, not be an iPhone, be unlocked/jailbroken. These phones should not once, ever – have your name, your Facebook, Gmail, VK or any other account you’ve ever used once, anywhere. This phone must operate on SIM card technology and if you shop around you can often find phones with dual-SIM technology, meaning that you can run two numbers off of the phone simultaneously. Don’t get a plan. No plan, no pre-pay on contract, no names . . . at least real names.