You have probably been planning your prepping around where you live and the likely disaster scenarios that are most probable in your area.
You have done your research and you know whether or not you are in an area prone to tornadoes, earthquakes or a nuclear power plant meltdown.
That is great, but what if you want to get out and see the world?
You don’t want to spend every minute of the day focusing on what could happen.
This will hold you back from really getting out there and enjoying life.
It is important you see the world and all it has to offer just in case it is all gone one day.
Traveling is something that some preppers are hesitant to do.
Some common questions that run through the minds of preppers who are well aware of the condition of our world and the potential for disaster are as follows:
- What if disaster strikes and you are a thousand miles from home?
- What if you travel to a place where disaster strikes?
- What happens if a disaster occurs and you get separated from family while on vacation?
These are all legitimate questions that do require some thought.
We cannot possibly know the time and place of the next disaster.
There is always going to be a next disaster, that is a given, but where it will strike is unknown.
You need to do just like you do at home—plan for anything.
Be prepared for anything no matter where you are.
How do you do that?
In this section, we are going to talk about how you can implement a plan that will walk you through what you need to pack and how to create a survival plan before you ever walk out the front door.
Do Your Research Before You Walk Out the Front Door
If you are going on vacation or if you are planning a business trip, you will likely have some advanced notice.
Do some research about where you are going.
Investigate the type of disasters that are prone to that area.
If you are headed to Disneyland in California, you would want to plan ahead for an earthquake.
If you are headed to Disney World in Florida, prepare to ride out a hurricane.
Knowing the area will help you plan.
When you are prepping, you typically base your preps around likely scenarios that may strike in the area where you live and work.
You know your home, your neighborhood and your typical route around town like the back of your hand.
When you travel, you won’t have that same luxury, which is why you need to collect as much information as possible before you head out the door.
Establishing Evacuation Routes
Before you head out the door, spend some time researching the area around your hotel and where you plan on spending the majority of your time while you are visiting another city.
Most travel destinations are to cities or out of the way towns.
This is great for you in today’s world when you want to go sightseeing or experience all another area has to offer, but in a world where people are fighting for survival, this could be dangerous.
You need to have a plan to “get out of Dodge” and to safety.
If you are visiting a touristy city, this is especially important.
Imagine being in Los Angeles with the local population and the thousands of visitors to the city from all around the world.
It is a recipe for chaos when you have that many people in the same are, all fighting for the same resources.
You need a way out.
If you are in some sleepy mountain town, you won’t have to worry about the population so much as finding resources.
Mountain folk tend to be pretty possessive of what they have.
They are not likely to welcome visitors who they deem to be a threat.
You need to locate where you will be staying and plan evacuation routes from your lodging as well as any of the main attractions you will be visiting.
It is important you follow the rules of prepping and have a Plan A and Plan B.
Know the highways and learn the local towns.
It is easy to get twisted around when you are not familiar with an area.
Establish some reference points.
This will help you get an idea of where you are and which direction you need to head.
Your goal is always to find safety first.
If you are dealing with a strong storm that puts the area at risk for flooding, head uphill.
Run through various scenarios in your head and have an evacuation plan for each.
Typically, you can use the same evacuation plan for any event.
Know the sounds of emergency alert systems in the area you are visiting.
Some towns and cities have automatic road blocks that will lock you in or point you in the right direction should the alarm ever be sounded.
Pay attention to signs posted along coastlines that indicate a tsunami evacuation route.
These routes are often noted on city websites.
You can find a lot of information about a particular area by visiting their online city hall, Facebook pages for the city or town and internet chat rooms.
Learn where the good areas of town are and the places a tourist should avoid.
The last thing you want is to find yourself in a bad section of town when things are already in chaos.
Packing A Travel Survival Bag
While it doesn’t make sense to pack along your entire bug out bag, it is a good idea to pack along a survival bag that includes some basic necessities.
If you are flying, you will likely be unable to take along a knife, which means you will have to do without that key piece of equipment.
However, there are plenty of other tools you can pack that will help you survive the aftermath of a disaster, no matter where you are.
Your bag could be a small backpack, a purse or a satchel.
You want something that you can grab and throw over your shoulder or carry on your back.
You don’t want something like a briefcase or duffel that you have to carry with your hands.
You need your hands free to help balance yourself, hold a flashlight and to defend yourself if necessary.
Some items you should have with you in your carry-on are as follows:
(Note: Check the TSA website for details on allowed carryon items.)
• Passport and a copy of your passport stashed away in a pocket
• A small pocket poncho
• Mylar emergency blanket/survival blanket
• Roll of duct tape
• LED head lamp and extra batteries
• Bottle or package of water purification tablets
• Light sticks
• Emergency whistle
• Swiss Army knife or something similar
• Paracord bracelet or necklace can be worn at all times and will pass through airport security
• Hand sanitizer
• Packet of wipes
• Roll of toilet paper or pack of tissues
• Sunscreen (may have to go small to comply with airport standards if flying)
• Bug repellent—again check with airport security standards
• Small first aid kit
• Ferro rod (fire starting)
• Prescription meds
• Extra cash
• Protein bars
• List of emergency contacts
• Portable radio
• 2-way radios—these will only work within a short distance of each other, if you are traveling with a group these will come in handy; if you are alone, they won’t do much good
• Extra pair of socks will go a long way to keeping your feet happy
• A map that covers your general travel vicinity—this includes the route you are taking to reach your destination
If you have any special medical concerns, like you are diabetic and rely upon insulin or have a severe allergy and have a prescription for an Epi Pen, keep these in your on the go survival kit.
Before you board the plane, train or hop in the car to visit your destination, follow these tips so that you are ready for anything.
Remember, a disaster can strike while you are in the air or on the ground. It doesn’t wait until you are tucked away in your hotel.
You have to be ready for anything at any given moment.
• In the airline safety industry there is what’s called the plus 3 minus 8(+3/-8):
• What that means is that the first 3 minutes after takeoff and the last 8 minutes before landing are the most dangerous and where the highest probability for something to go wrong with the airplane.
• Don’t take off your shoes or go to sleep in the first 3 minutes after takeoff or the last 8 minutes before landing.
• If you are in a plane crash get out of the plane in 90 seconds or less.
• Many passengers survive the initial crash but freeze up and don’t get out of the airplane and end up dying of smoke inhalation.
• If you are travelling by air plan ahead and select a seat within 5 rows of an exit door.
• Statistics show that the highest probability for survival is people who are within 5 rows of an exit.
• Wear appropriate footwear, slippers, heels or flip flops are not going to help you when you have to walk 60 miles. Although you don’t plan on your mode of transportation stranding you, it makes sense to plan on walking, just in case.
• Dress for the weather. Don’t wear shorts and a t-shirt in December. If you end up stranded halfway between and there is 4 inches of snow on the ground, you are going to freeze to death—literally.
• Keep your bag with you. You can stow a small bag under your seat on a plane, train or in the car. Don’t put it up in the cargo hold. You are not going to be able to get to it in a hurry and there is a good chance somebody else may end up grabbing it. If you are visiting Disneyland for the day or some other attraction, take the bag with you.
• Pay attention to your surroundings. Watch for landmarks that will help you get an idea of where you should be headed if you were to head back from where you came. Watch for rivers and lakes that will provide water should you need it and pose a major hurdle for you to get around.
• Watch the people around you. Don’t advertise that you have a survival back between your feet. Do your best to blend in and be prepared to split off from the pack as soon as you are able.
• Leave a copy of your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. If you are traveling alone or with only part of your family, this will give them an idea of where you are and how long it may take you to get back home.
• Don’t put your head in the sand and forget about the world around you while you are on vacation. Spend a few minutes every morning or evening and watch the news or catch an update on the radio. Keep abreast of what is happening in the world. When things start to heat up and it looks like something could be happening imminently, don’t be afraid to cut your vacation short and get back home before disaster strikes. It is a lot like watching a major storm head your way. You can get out early and avoid the mass panic or sit and wait and flee with the other few hundred thousand people.
Hotel Safety and Security
Before you leave the house or make your travel arrangements, check out your hotel online.
Google Earth gives you a birds-eye view from the street.
This is an excellent way to identify restaurants and bus stops as well as scout the area to plan your evacuation routes.
Picking Your Hotel
Your first step is to check out a hotel as best you can via online reviews and the hotel’s website.
You want to evaluate the overall safety of the place.
Avoid hotels that are in shady parts of town.
There are plenty of pros and cons to choosing hotels that are right off a highway or main road.
- Easy for you to get an idea of where you need to head
- Access to vehicles that may have been abandoned
- Easy path
- A lot of people will likely be on the roadways, which could be dangerous
- Highways will be packed with cars, which will make it impossible for you to drive out if you have a vehicle
Hotel or Motel?
Another key component of a good hotel is to pick one that has interior corridors.
This prevents any old Joe walking in off the street and starting trouble.
However, some preppers prefer motels with doors that open to the outside simply because they prefer the privacy and freedom.
This also cuts down the risk of being caught up in a herd of people all trying to get to the same exit in an emergency.
Weigh your options.
It helps to consider the city you are going to be staying in.
Is crime a real possibility?
Is the motel behind gates that would make a room opening to the outside safer?
Remember, you are planning a vacation to have fun, not a vacation that is going to be fraught with what-ifs and doomsday constantly on your mind.
Safety at the Hotel
Once you have reached your destination, there are a few more things you can do to make your visit a little safer and more secure.
• Spend a few minutes in the lobby area locate the exits. Look for the lesser-used exits as well that may be down a hallway, in the gym or near the pool.
• Walk to your room, count the doors to the exit and note any significant details so you can find your way out should you need to do so in the dark.
• Look for the nearest exit from your room. There will be a map on the back of your door, but it helps to actually walk the path and see it with your own two eyes.
• While in your room, lock all the locks on the door. While it may not do much if you are bugging out, you need to be safe while in the room. Put up as much resistance as you can should your hotel be the victim of a group of bandits intent on looting.
• When you leave for the day, leave the television on and/or put up the “do not disturb” sign. You want would-be burglars or staff to think you are inside.
• Aim to get a room on the third floor up to the sixth. This keeps you out of immediate harm of would be bandits who are likely to target the first couple of floors, but keeps you within reasonable distance of the ground should you need to escape.
Expanding Your Get Home Plan
All of your planning will center on you getting back home.
Before you leave your house, have a plan to get back no matter what is happening.
This may be easier said than done, especially if you have traveled thousands of miles away or are dealing with a major catastrophe.
One of the reasons you want a plan is so that you have a goal.
Survival can be mentally taxing.
Each day you wake up, you have a goal.
Whether that goal is to do the dishes, go to work or watch television on the couch, you know what you have in mind and know what steps to take to get there.
Your get home plan is what will give you purpose every day after a disaster.
You will know exactly what it is you are going to do that day.
Maybe it will be to drive 500 miles or walk 100 miles.
Always have a plan to keep your mind focused.
You need a light at the end of the dark tunnel of the aftermath of a disaster.
You are not going to be the only person who is trying to get home or somewhere you feel it is safer.
There are going to mobs of people all trying to get out of the area.
Along with those mobs, there will be government officials who are trying to rein in the panic.
Unfortunately, their idea of staying safe and your idea may be a little different.
You need to put together a get home plan that will reunite you with your family and your stockpile of goods.
Do not follow the masses assuming they must know where they are going or what they are doing.
They probably don’t and will lead you astray.
They will also notice you are carrying around a backpack, which means you have supplies that they want.
A mob can easily rip away your pack.
Avoid being rounded up by well-meaning officials who want to put you in a giant shelter.
You don’t want to be there.
Stay off the beaten path and avoid people as much as possible.
Earlier, we told you to pay attention to your surroundings as you traveled to your destination.
Use these snapshot images and mental notes to help you identify places to find shelter.
You can’t walk or drive for 3 days straight.
You need somewhere somewhat safe and secure to rest.
Maybe you passed by an area of trees or saw an abandoned farmhouse that would work well as a temporary hideout.
Plan a route home before you ever leave your house.
Carefully plot a path that will get you back home.
Don’t assume the shortest path is the best.
Plot a path with the least resistance.
Climbing over a mountain pass may be 30 miles shorter, but it is much more treacherous and you risk injury.
You can’t walk far or fast with a twisted ankle or broken leg.
If you have driven your own vehicle, make sure it is properly serviced.
Having a car will be a major boon in a disaster situation.
Make sure it is ready to save your life and get you back home.
Carry extra fluids and a tool kit that will allow you to make minor repairs on the road.
Designate a rally point to meet up with family and friends you have traveled with in case you have been separated.
Choose a place that is somewhat isolated.
This is where you will meet up and begin your journey back home.
Getting Back Home If You Are Out of Town When Disaster Strikes
It isn’t often you will come across a survival or prepping publication or resource that talks about getting home when you are a long distance away.
Unfortunately, we never know when disaster will strike and something akin to Murphy’s Law pretty much dictates that when disaster strikes, it will be at the least convenient time.
It isn’t like you can sit in your basement with your bug out bag by your side and your bug out vehicle stocked with food and water and a full gas tank ready for you to go.
That would be too easy.
There is always the strong possibility you will be at work or out doing things you normally do.
If you are somebody who travels frequently for your job, you could very well be a thousand miles away when the world goes sideways.
What do you do?
Do you quit your job and find one that keeps you home all the time?
No. That isn’t really feasible.
You can’t live your life waiting for the other shoe to drop.
You just need to make some additional preparations and plans to accommodate your traveling schedule.
Coming Up with a Plan
As you have probably discovered, prepping is all about planning.
You need to spend some time coming up with a plan that will outline how you will get back home to your family after a disaster strikes.
Your plan is going to require you to spend some time thinking about the best route.
It isn’t like you are going to be walking home from your job at the office.
You are planning to cross hundreds of miles, possibly thousands over a variety of terrains.
Depending on where you are and the type of disaster you are dealing with, you have to assume it will take you several days or possibly longer to get back home.
Your plan will need to include the following elements:
- Safety — how will you protect yourself as you navigate what are likely to be some pretty treacherous conditions
- Communication — you may not be able to call your family directly to let them know you are okay and on your way. Establish an emergency contact out of town that can ask as a go-between between you and family members. Instruct family members to check in with the Red Cross or any organization that has a registry for survivors.
- Tell your family your plan. You are coming up with a plan to get back to your family and they need to know it. They need to know that you are going to do what you can to meet up with them, but it may take a bit. If takes much longer than it should, your family will know where to start looking for you.
- Learn how to use a compass. It isn’t quite as simple as you see on television.
Get in Shape
Almost any disaster scenario is going to result in the transportation system grinding to a halt.
You won’t be able to jump on the nearest train and head home or catch a flight back.
Transportation systems are going to be one of the first things taken offline following a natural disaster or act of terror.
You need to plan on using your feet to take you home.
Walking a couple hundred miles may not seem like a big deal today, but imagine walking when you are exhausted, hungry and possibly suffering from some injuries.
It isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
It will be grueling and physically taxing.
You need to get in shape now to prepare yourself for a long journey back home.
Being in good physical condition is one of the most important parts of your planning.
Your body needs to be in the best shape possible so the journey home doesn’t kill you…literally.
If you are overweight and unhealthy, you could very well suffer a heart attack or a serious injury that will incapacitate you and make it impossible for you to walk back home.
Spend some time hiking, biking and walking with your family today to help you stay in shape.
Endurance is key in a survival situation.
Create a Small Travel Get Home Bag
You probably have plenty of bug out bags at home or even at your local office, but you need to have a get home bag that you take with you every time you leave the house.
It should contain the following list of items that will help you in your journey home.
● Energy bars/beef jerky
● Bottle of water
● Fire starting supplies
● Survival blanket
● Water purification tablets
● Extra cash
● Protection device i.e. gun, pepper spray, taser
Those basic items will get you started on your journey home.
You will need to be on the lookout for more supplies as you travel.
The items are fairly lightweight and can be packed into a suitcase.
If you are flying by plane, packing a gun along for protection isn’t going to be an option.
Learn to Hotwire
While you certainly don’t want to go around stealing cars today, it doesn’t hurt to know how to start a car without the keys in a survival situation.
There are likely going to be a lot of abandoned cars along roadways and in the suburbs that you can use to your advantage.
If you can get home faster and not have to tax your energy walking, than taking an abandoned car is going to be a dream.
Obviously, you don’t want to take a car from somebody who is alive and well.
Talk with a mechanic about the art of hot wiring cars so you have the skill to do so when it is in a true life or death situation.
Navigation: Study the Maps
You need to know your way home.
When you jump on a plane, you rely on the pilot to get you where you need to be and car services to get you to and from your hotel and business meetings.
When all that is taken away, you will be left to rely on yourself to find your way home—without GPS.
There is a strong possibility satellites will not be operational, which means your GPS is going to be offline.
Study maps and identify the best routes home from your typical out-of-town location.
If you travel to various cities, you will want to get an idea of the quickest route back home from each of those cities.
Spend some time learning how to identify the directional points so you can at least get pointed in the right direction.
Some other things to look for that will help establish your route are as follows:
- Jot down the highway numbers that you would typically take should you be driving the route. These will serve as guidelines for you to follow, although you would probably not want to walk along a main highway. Other people will likely have the same idea and people could mean trouble.
- Make a note of bodies of water that are on your route. You will need the water to stay hydrated. These areas will also serve as trail markers so to speak.
- Identify train tracks to help guide you on the right path.
- Write down the cities and towns you will pass by on your way home. This can serve as a marking point and will let you know where you can look for more supplies.
Identify “Choke Points”
As you study your map, you need to identify areas that are going to give you trouble on your journey home.
These are often referred to as choke points.
You will want to either have a plan to go around or pack along necessary tools or equipment needed to get through your choke points.
The following list are some types of things you might discover along your route home:
- Mountain passes
- Roads through cities—cities mean people, which will be your biggest concern
- Collapsed buildings that make a road impassable
Do your best to avoid plotting routes through the heart of a city.
You don’t want to risk being assaulted by bandits of people desperate for survival.
If you can avoid a bridge crossing, do so.
It is very likely a bridge will be destroyed in any type of major disaster.
Have a backup route ready to go if you discover a bridge is out.
If your route takes you over a mountain range, you need to be prepared to handle the temperatures.
Knowing your route ahead of time will give you the chance to pack the proper clothing and gear to ensure you can get home.
Identifying any choke points ahead of time, gives you the advantage of creating a backup plan that you can execute immediately instead of wasting precious time and energy trying to figure out a way around and potentially getting lost in the process.