Skip to main content

How to Pack Firearms for a Family Vacation

How to Pack Firearms for a Family Vacation

Over the last few years, I have taken a number of vacations with my wife and kids, or just my boys. I normally carry a gun every day, and that's something I have to take into consideration when getting ready to travel.

People carry guns "just in case," but bad things don't always happen at home. I and a lot of people I know carry guns while on trips, but before you decide if and/or what to bring/carry while on vacation, there are a lot of things to think about. All of those things, however, can be covered by looking at two simple questions:

1. Where are you going?

2. What are you doing?


If you plan to travel to a state or country where transportation or carrying of firearms isn't allowed, there's not a whole lot to think about. However, what if you're traveling through a restrictive area (i.e. Chicago) en route to your final destination? Knowing what the laws are of the states/big cities you pass through is something you need to do.


Also, if you are legally carrying a gun and get pulled over for a traffic violation in a different state, do you know what the state regulations are for declaring that gun to the officer? You should. You should also know local regulations regarding carrying guns in establishments serving alcohol, or in large venues seating in excess of any given number of people.

Carrying a gun on vacation may require you to make some hard decisions. For example, as far as I'm concerned, Disney World would make a very attractive target for an active shooter or a terrorist. As near as I can determine, there is no prohibition in Florida law for someone with a CCW to carry in Disney World. However, Disney is very anti-gun and does not allow concealed carry in their parks, and they do search the bags of people entering the parks, so carrying a gun into Disney World to protect yourself or your family is not against the law, but if spotted, you may be ejected (and those park passes cost a lot of money). Life is full of decisions, some of which are easier than others.

What you plan on doing on your vacation can also affect not just if you can carry, but what. I know someone who was recently at a Six Flags-type amusement part with their kids, and they had to trade in their full-size gun for a small pocket gun because they decided big belt guns and high-speed roller coasters that turn upside down are a bad combination.

Are you going to be spending the majority of your time around a pool or on a beach? If you want to have a gun with you, where are you going to put it when you're in the water? These are questions you need to think about before you leave the house.


Taking a cruise? Check the regulations of the cruise line. Even if your boat doesn't travel to a foreign country, chances are they won't allow you to bring along a gun. In this post-9/11 world, there's a good chance both you and your luggage will go through TSA-type screening before you're allowed on board.

Most vacations involve some sort of hotel stay. If you have your car or a rental car, I would highly recommend not leaving anything of value, including a gun, in that car or in your hotel room when you are not in it. Guns, computers and other valuables are always with me when I travel, not left in the hotel room during the day or in the car at night. I know too many people whose cars have been broken into while on vacation, and I know someone who had their Kindle stolen from their hotel room by the maid not two weeks ago. Luckily, the Kindle was recovered, but what if he'd left a gun in the room?

Deciding to carry a gun is never a decision to take lightly, and you should always try to plan for the situations you'll find yourself in, even if that situation is a family vacation.


 

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Dealing with Subcompacts

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Going To The Range

Going To The Range

Jim and Scott show you how to make each trip to the shooting range a quality experience.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol.Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhatPro Tips For Controlling Recoil Training

Pro Tips For Controlling Recoil

Richard Nance - April 11, 2017

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo with these 10 low-priced pistols.10 Cheap Guns Under $250 Compact

10 Cheap Guns Under $250

Evan Brune - September 24, 2015

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo...

Kahr Arms officially broke ground on their new headquarters in Blooming Grove Township, in PikeKahr Arms Breaks Ground on New Pennsylvania HQ Industry

Kahr Arms Breaks Ground on New Pennsylvania HQ

Handguns Online Staff - June 04, 2014

Kahr Arms officially broke ground on their new headquarters in Blooming Grove Township, in Pike

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Law enforcement agencies make few decisions that impact the safety of their officers and the publicNo Simple Matter: How Police Choose Pistols How-To

No Simple Matter: How Police Choose Pistols

Brian McCombie - April 02, 2013

Law enforcement agencies make few decisions that impact the safety of their officers and the...

Whether it's as frightening as a worldwide pandemic or just coping with Mother Nature, every Americans should be prepared to survive and thrive within the confines of their own home. Utilizing the unique skillset only a former Green Beret possesses, Terry Schappert, will keep the viewers prepared, entertained, educated and hopefully calm.Shelter in Place – What You Need to Know

Shelter in Place – What You Need to Know

Outdoor Channel Public Service Announcement - April 06, 2020

Whether it's as frightening as a worldwide pandemic or just coping with Mother Nature, every...

You're stuck at home. You've got time. Take this opportunity to do some handgun maintenance.Handgun Maintenance How-To

Handgun Maintenance

J. Scott Rupp - March 25, 2020

You're stuck at home. You've got time. Take this opportunity to do some handgun maintenance.

In this lesson, “Hollywood Weapons” host and former Green Beret Terry Schappert will talk about how to transform your “go bag” of emergency essentials into a “get home bag.”Shelter in Place – ‘Go Bag' and ‘Get Home Bag' Essentials

Shelter in Place – ‘Go Bag' and ‘Get Home Bag' Essentials

Outdoor Channel Public Service Announcement - April 08, 2020

In this lesson, “Hollywood Weapons” host and former Green Beret Terry Schappert will talk...

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now