How to successfully bug out with your family

As a prepper, you need to be constantly prepared for the prospect of bugging out. While the core idea of bugging out is simple enough – avoid danger by leaving your position – actually executing it is not as simple as it seems, especially if you have a family. The first step in a successful bug out and the one you need to prepare for first, is gathering all the members of your family so you can all depart for safety. (h/t:

For most preppers, bugging out is considered a last resort. As much as possible, one needs to stay at home where protective measures have been set up and resources have been stockpiled. It is an accepted fact, however, that there are situations when you’ll need to abandon your home to get away from danger. For this reason, you need to always be prepared to bug out.

Careful planning is important to ensuring a successful bug-out. However, many preppers make one big mistake as early as the planning stage. They assume that when SHTF, everyone will be at home and ready to go. This can’t be farther from reality, of course. Children go to school and parents go to work. This means that there is a very good chance that when tragedy hits, everyone will be in different places at the same time.

Bugging out as a family, a single unit, is essential to your survival. Therefore, one of the first things you need to plan for is getting all your family members home or to your meeting place. Here are four tips on how to do that and improve your chances of bugging out successfully in the process:


A secure means of communicating among each other is crucial to the success of your plan. If you are using cell phones, you can talk to each other through text messages. Voice calls require more bandwidth than text messaging, so it has a much lesser chance of getting through to your family members. A text message usually gets through even when the network connection is weak.

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But what if you’re facing an EMP attack? Cellphones would be as good as useless in such as incident. The best thing to do is to decide that should there be a loss of power or cell phone reception, everyone needs to get home quick.

Constant communication of every family member’s whereabouts is essential for the success of the bug-out plan, no matter how they complain about their privacy. This knowledge will allow the rest of the family to make sound decisions on how to proceed further.

Getting the kids home

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is getting your kids home, especially if they are young children who can’t drive their own cars yet. The good thing is that you know where they most likely are – they’re either in school or in after-school activities – so picking them up won’t be much of a problem.

If it’s not possible to pick up the kids, they might need to walk home. You need to make sure that your kids are prepared and well-equipped for such an event, although don’t give them knives and flammable survival kits as these are prohibited in most areas. You can instead give them the following:

  • Rain poncho
  • Tactical flashlight and extra batteries
  • A map of the area, laminated for protection from the elements
  • Backup phone battery

If you foresee that it’ll take them much time to get home, make sure they have snacks, too.

Getting the parents home

Parents usually have cars, but they tend to come from farther away. To improve your chances of making it home fast, be sure your car has a full survival kit. After all, you don’t know what will happen while you are on the road.

In case you are coming from work, it’d be ideal to add rugged clothes and an extra pair of comfortable shoes in your car. This is in the off-chance that you’ll have to get off your car and walk the rest of the way. Men’s attires are usually fine for such a challenge, but it would be awfully uncomfortable for women to walk a long distance in high-heel shoes.

If your workplace requires you to cross a bridge over a river, you might want to keep floaters or a deflated rubber boat in your car. In crises such as earthquakes, the bridge might not be passable at all. The boat or floater will be your way of crossing bodies of water safely. (Related: Will you know when it’s time to bug out? 14 signs to watch for.)

Identify a backup meeting place

But what if the disaster destroys your home or renders it uninhabitable? Then you’ll need to identify a backup meeting place that your family members can gather in should SHTF. This needs to be a place that will likely not be affected by the things that would ruin your home.

You need to set a rule that whoever makes it home first should take your survival equipment to the meeting place and wait for everyone there. Once everyone has gathered, you can safely proceed to execute the rest of your bugout plan.

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