Are You Prepared For A Threat When Away From Home

This is a guest post by Hal B and entry in our non-fiction writing contest – where you could win $100 cash.

Most of your readers already have some level of preparedness with hopefully extra long shelf life food and water or are considering putting together a Bug Out Bag, Get Home Bag, preparing a retreat or a combination of some of the above.

One concern seldom considered is a threat, natural disaster or terrorist attack while we are away-on business or vacation. In most instances when away on business you will likely have only your suitcase and laptop. And, courtesy of the FSA folks, if you flew you certainly will be limited.

If on business, make sure the family is able to take care of itself should something happen that would hamper your scheduled return. A disaster response list for them is important some nothing is forgotten. Also, and assuming it’s you threatened by the crisis,they have to know that it may take days for you to clear the area, whether a major power blackout or devestation. And, evacuation should take into consideration the possibility you might prudently attempt to stop at a friend or family member’s on the way.

All this is contingent on the distance to get back home and hazards confronted.

Communications is a key benefit, both a small, portable am/fm radio so you can better determine the extent of the affected area and the best routing home. Also, ham radio can really be an asset here if you happen to be licensed.

But a different, and even more serious challenge can confront you if you’re impacted by a disaster of some sort while on the road vacationing. In this case you have the whole family to worry about. The first thing to do is try to have a local radio station on while travelling and preferably, a CB radio.

You want to know about the threat as soon as possible; the worse thing you can do is drive right into the middle of something when you could have turned off because you didn’t know what was ahead. Think about driving into a city while a riot or chemical spill was going on and then not being able to get out, for example.

And even before departing on that vacation, save some room for your emergency supplies (not enough room in this article to cover this subject) to include some easy-serve food and water. But the big issue to consider is lodging or you and the family. In any emergency you have to consider the worse case. Any-thing less will simply be easier to handle.

So, recognize that you ARE on the road, that if there is a major disaster occuring, you are only one of thousands affected! Assume the motels outside the affected area will be filled. People escaping a hurricane sometimes have to travel hundreds of miles to find lodging. In the disaster you may be confronted with the roads will likely be blocked anyway. So what are you? Nothing more than a refugee!

Hopefully, you will be contacted by the authorities who will direct you to a shelter at a nearby armory or school gymnasium. Is your travel gear separated so you can grab a some bag with toiletries and maybe a change of clothes because you are not going to be allowed to carry in the family’s five big suitcases. And maybe sleeping bags might come in handy, especially if it’s the winter season.

And if it’s not, might you want to have a family tent with you rather than sharing the night with several hundred noisy and upset people. If you’re the outdoors type, a nearby park might be a preferable option. In any case, advance thought has to be considered so you are not as exposed to whatever threat might occur when you’re possibly hundreds of miles from home and all its security.

What have you done to prepare for disaster when away from home – let us know in the comments below…

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. As a longhaul trucker I can Tell you with absolute certainty that Placing any value for any level of communication in a cb radio would be a mistake. I stopped using cb radio about 12 years ago because the trolls have totally taken over the airwaves. I still on occasion have an opportunity to hear the cb and it’s gotten even worse since I stooped emPloying the cb as a means of communication. In an emergency type situation the trolls come out in even larger force to prevent information from being relayed. They use linear amplifiers to totally block out channels for dozens of miles at a time. I gave up trying to figure out why many years ago. The cb in my opinion is a complete waste of money and should not be included in your efforts to be prepared for emergencies. Your money would be far better spent on obtaining a liscense and a ham radio. I hope this isn’t taken as being argumentative towards the author of this article but I feel like I would be remiss in not pointing out what I feel would be a bad decision. Placing any faith in the cb radio might even be a cause for further catastrophe in an emergency situation. Respectfully. Brad

    • Iowa Oscar says:

      Got to agree Bctruck. CB radio has lost a lot of it’s function because of the lack of civility broadcast today. I can barely stand to have it on travelling down the interstates. Nothing but foul language and smart alec remarks. Where did all the white knights go?
      The one use for CB radio I can still see is to carry on a personal communication with a known individual on a vacant channel. Unless you’re really into them, CB’s have a pretty limited range for those unfamiliar with their use.

      • The white nights are there my friend,just using better methods of communication. I find myself turning red with embarrassment when I hear a family talking about a road trip with a cb in the vehicle. I catch myself apologizing for the behavior and vocabulary of the smallest minority of “men” in my chosen profession and assuring people that we are not all slack jawed knuckle draggers incapable of forming sentences without resulting to the use profanity or sexual innuendoes or even threats of bodily harm to others. It is sure a dark black cloud hanging over the heads of lifelong truckers like myself who consider themselves to be professional and conduct Thier business accordingly.

        • BC/Oscar – Thank you for the real life analysis on the CB. I had actually thought about getting one for emergency communication. It’s good to hear from those who have a real reason to use it (truck drivers). My step dad was a truck driver, but he has been retired for so long, I’m sure he isn’t aware of the unflattering changes. We used to travel all over the Midwest showing horses and the CB was a great tool to have with several trucks/trailers in the group (pre cell phones). What a disappointment to hear what it has turned in to.

          Thanks again and safe travels!

          • Iowa Oscar says:

            CB’s are still handy when travelling in a group. Just don’t depend on information from someone you don’t know, especially in a shtf situation. Seems more and more people get their jollies by putting out misinformation. You may be better off just monitoring CB communications and taking it all with a grain of salt.

    • SrvivlSally says:

      Yeah, I hear you on this one. My dad went to HAM in the mid-80s for the same reason and it was much better because he didn’t have to deal with the riffraff. There is no way I would go with a CB because the FCC doesn’t really have any power over the waves as it is unless they can ACTUALLY catch the criminals, people have no respect for the machines nor others and it’s obvious that they lack responsibility when it comes to real life. Glad you put the truth out there because it would be far worse to live in bliss and something go wrong.

  2. button crazy says:

    Well, I never thought about it before. I am traveling later this week. Before i leave home i will put together a bag of things. Have not been doing prepping all that long. I am learning a lot of good info. from this blog. I will traveling thru or very close to several major cities in different states. I am taking this trip alone and driving. If anyone has any ideas what are the major items i should take let me know. I already take all my medications, address book, a few first aid items,cell phone. I have driven many miles over the years alone. Have blankets and water in the truck. My Husband will be calling me on my cell phone to check where i am.

    • Well a woman alone certainly needs something for self defense even if it is just pepper spray.
      Also emergency food, flashlights, lantern, a good pair of sneakers and have at least a case of small bottles of water.
      A backpack and warm clothes in case you have to hoof it.
      I am sure everyone else will have something to add.
      On a final note. Pay complete attention to what is going on around you. A lot of time trouble can be avoided that way.

      • P.S. Whatever you do don’t get off the main thorough fares into neighborhoods you don’t know.

    • Rain gear- and not an umbrella- and a hat or cap with brim, a couple of bandanas, sturdy walking shoe or boot, some feminine hygeine other than perfume and deodorant, just in case stuff (you probably will already, but make a point to), and, if you can, keep a folding knife in your jeans pocket- all by itself so it doesn’t get confused when it’s needed- and an extra in your purse or fany pack if you carry one. Maps- do not forget maps, and mark out your route. Also, get a set of the same for hubby and mark the route so just in case, he can say, “Yes, this is her route.” Then notify him of any changes when you make them, not after the fact.
      A small backpack (Judith knows) to carry all this in- if you have to, forget everything in your suitcases and have all you need in the pack. And double the emergency food supply you bring.
      Shy III

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      button crazy, never tell strangers where you are from or exactly where you are headed. Those questions could lead to trouble down the road. I’d advise you to carry a whistle and a small flashlight on your house key ring. And don’t keep your house key on your car keyring because if you (God forbid) lose your car keys or your car is stolen with the keys inside, you will not be able to shout for very long for help, but you will be able to blow a whistle for a very long time.

      Please don’t get frightened about traveling alone, just don’t be too trusting of strangers (male or female) because some good con artists are always looking for women who travel alone. Use good common sense, let your husband know where you are each day, and have a great trip.

      Hope you’ll tell us about it after you return home. Maybe right a guest post about it???

      • Lint, thanks for reminded us not to be too trusting of strangers.
        I am so guilty of that. I was born a chatterbox and have had a heck of a time breaking myself of being completely open and friendly with people at countertops and such.

  3. templar knight says:

    I’m going to be in a scenario next month that I hate. I will be flying into Washington, D.C., staying three days, and helping my son drive back to our home. What can someone do when flying? Is there a BOB for that? Ideas, anyone?

    • templar knight,
      You can pack a firearm and some supplies in your checked baggage if the end destination allows you to have the firearm. This means you can be somewhat prepared on both ends of the trip, but when doing the actual travelling, there isn’t much you can do with the exception of the right mindset and good situational awareness. That would mean not taking any kind of sleep aid when flying as I know some folks who do. In your case, with the endpoint in gun unfriendly DC, all you can do is get your business done and get out of dodge as soon as you can.

      • templar knight says:

        OP, normally my son, who is stationed at Ft. McNair in D.C, would have a firearm for the return trip, but since he knew he was changing duty stations, he brought his handgun home at Christmas. And if you are caught in D.C. with a firearm, and don’t have connections like pro basketball players, you’re pretty much screwed. You’re going to jail.

        I’ve thought about assembling a small BOB as soon as I get there, and that’s what I will do. My son has been downsizing what he has preparing for the move, and he has a small personal BOB I made for him, but it is nothing like what I would want. I will just try to get on the road and get home ASAP. As you said, that’s probably my best strategy.

        • Jeffrey29584 says:

          TK, I have had to fly out of state like that before. What I do is pack a get home bag (no firearm) and go down to the post office a few days before insure and mail my bag to myself at my destination. I then call the appropriate place and tell them to hold the package and what day I will be picking it up. I have mailed my GHB this way several times including a takedown Bow with a dozen arrows in PVC quiver and I just pick up a few days of quick snacks/meals when I arrive. P.S. insure for more than its worth and pray they loose it!!!! LOL

          • Jeffrey29584 says:

            P.S.S return it the same way if you have to fly back!!!

          • templar knight says:

            Good idea, Jeffrey. Thanks.

          • Jeffrey29584,
            Actually, you can probably include the GHB in your checked baggage, including a firearm. The main thing is making sure the firearm is legal at your destination, and the fact that you kind of feel naked while in transit.
            I’ll be traveling to AZ later this summer and plan to do the same. It’s just the flight itself that’s the problem.
            When traveling by ground transport we always have a plethora of items in the vehicle, along with cash and an emergency credit card with a decent limit. I always pay off the card each month, but if I needed it for an emergency, I’ll worry about paying it off once I’m back home safely.

            • Jeffrey29584 says:

              I’m sure it is no big deal, but to me its just easier to mail it. That mess the TSA has going I don’t want to be “flagged” or something. Maybe paranoid??LOL

        • templar knight – Most states recognize active duty military as residents for the purpose of purchasing guns. Have your son buy a gun in Virginia with any waiting period to coincide with your departure date from DC. Pick up the gun on the way out of town. A Ruger 10/22 is only about $200 and makes a great present for a grandchild / niece / nephew when you get home, or could be resold for about the same price. He could also get the military discount on a Glock 19 for about $400 that makes good CCW gun.

  4. button crazy says:

    When flying be a low key as possible. I hardly ever have more than a carry on bag and my purse. I always wear blue jeans with pockets. That way i can some money in one pocket. and My drivers license in the other pocket for the id. You want make sure you have nothing in your purse or carry on that will cause you problems. I always have snacks in my purse. You can not carry any drinks past security. Be sure to use travel size personal items. If you have forgotten any thing, You can purchase when you land. A good book never hurts to have for those serious delays. Have your cell phone turned off when you go thru security. Never leave your bags alone.

  5. Lake Lili says:

    I worry a great deal about the Laird who travels out west on business for extended periods of time. In our discussion, he refers to himself as a write-off as the chances of getting back to Ontario from Alberta or Colorado are miniscule if you are fit and healthy but for a medically compromised 70-yr old they are really not worth computing. While he travels with what amounts to a BOB and immediately puts a makeshift 72-hr kit into his rental vehicles, he says he has no illusions as to his rate of survival if things went belly-up. Even though he is out there for weeks at a time, there is no solid support base on which to build, and business relationships will amount to squat when the SHTF.

    • Lake Lili if he is ever in S. Calif. I give M.D. permission to give you my e-mail address. He would be welcome to shelter here.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Hey, Lake Lili, he is always welcome to stay here for awhile if he can get to No. California. I have an extra bedroom and bathroom and a few extra cans of beans. Not a problem, come on down.

    • Lake Lili says:

      Judith & Lint Picker – having “neighbours” like you makes the world seem like a much smaller place and not quite so inhospitable. I appreciate your generosity.

  6. My son is a long haul truck driver and we have discussed what to do if something was to happen if he got caught out away from home if something happened. It is scarry. Plus he will not know if home is safe or his sister’s. So it leave’s you in the learch.
    So guess you just have to buck up and do the best you can.

  7. Bubblehead Les says:

    Each of my vehicles has a backpack with 3 days of food, water, shelter, etc. Every Single Vehicle. The Backpacks come out for Stock Rotation, Medicine Expiration dates, Fresh Batteries, etc. twice a year (Spring and Fall). I am also aware that the Extreme Heat and the Extreme Cold can affect its contents, so I try to make sure that there is nothing that can go bad due to the Temperature (NO Hershey Bars in August). Then, if I know I’m going on a Road Trip, I will throw in another 5 gals of water, and a case of MRE’s to supplement it.

    As for Airline Travel, I haven’t flown since 2 weeks after 9/11, and I have nothing going on in my life that I need to do so. But friends of mine who do so regularly, tell me the easiest way is to have loose, comfortable clothing with durable shoes, a coat with a hood, watch cap and cloves in their carry on, and lots of empty pockets. Once they clear Security, they’ll go to the Over Priced Stores in the Waiting area and buy Candy Bars, Granola Bars, a Couple of Bottles of Water, some Pocket Aspirin or Advil, etc. Think EDC stuff. When asked by the clerk, they just say, “I’ve got a long Flight on a Cheapskate Airline”. But they have enough to get them through a day or 2 if they get stuck at the Airport, or if they have to leave in a hurry, just like what happened at St.Louis this weekend.

    Hope this helps.

  8. My situation is being a 25 y/0 student away from most of my close friends and family. Of course, in my current location, I have good friends I’ve met over the last couple years. A lot of whom are actually rural or survival oriented. My dilemma: do I try to get as many of my supplies together and make it to my loved ones 10 hours away? I feel that in a no-guarantee situation, this may be too risky for all of our survival. Do I try to get my loved ones here (they’re a bit less preppers than I)? Or do we all sit tight, potentially without communication? I’m looking into getting my ham license and some training but it will only work if I can convince at least one person back home to do the same. I’m more armed and have more food stored than my family, but they are not completely without. I also know that my friends where I live would turn to me because they know I think about TEOTWAWKI often. A good friend of mine says, “You have to pick the problems you want” (out of the ones that are at least optional, of course).

    Just food for personal thought. I think I would want them to come here because the setting is much more rural and not close to large concentrations of people. They would need to get out at the very hint of disaster though, which means risking false alarm. Unless, like me, you believe that time is already here. Thinking about TEOTHWAWKI (H for human) is interesting because humans are emotional creatures based on social bonds (family, friends, partners in work and toil, etc). I bet that if alligators (very solitary animals) developed a modernized world and it collapsed, it would be much easier for them emotionally.

  9. This is exactly the reason that I have decided to stay close to home now. I do have family down in Arizona though. I made up a G.O.O.D. bad for my son and his wife and my grandchildren. I hope they never have to use that bag but it is there just in case.

  10. I like packing my GHB wherever I travel. Sometimes I wonder if I can leave the (larger) photography pack and gear if I have to, but know it’d be really tough packing two backpacks and one just full of equipment to record my demise. :\
    Dunno about taking directions to the nearest shelter from local Fuzz if there’s a SHTF event of any kind: seems too easy a way to get stuck in a FEMA concentration camp. So I’d scratch that off my list. And if the Fuzz insisted, I’d have to resort to E&E with GHB. (Hopefuly I can get the rifle out of the back seat before exiting vehicle; CC is always on my belt someplace.)
    The idea of thinking ahead of what can happen is a great idea these days. Sure will be a lot to think about and plan for. Perhaps one over all consideration, such as natural event like earthquake can be lumped with tornados and floods, then make a sub category for societal upheaval? Might make the planning a little more simple and not all your nuts in one basket. Living in this cold country, most of us are usually prepared for the weather, so shelter is maybe not a serious concern other than get out of the wind, or rain, and we can hide under a tree or behind a blow down or boulder… it’s the ‘other’ stuff I’m most concerned with- unforseen or impromptu societal eruptions.
    Shy III

  11. Oh, MD- I didn’t find any colored eggs yesterday, so I think the rabbits were on strike. (Didn’t see any rabbits, either. Drat!) You think maybe they’re hiding from preppers?
    Hope your Easter was wonderful, MD, and Duke found his way home.
    Shy III

    • Lake Lili says:

      Sorry guys – the Rabbit was busy up here. He left 22 dozen eggs for the 50 kids who came to our village’s annual easter egg hunt. Great hunt and wonderful fun had by all. While they are all excited and hopeful for next year, personally I am hoping that the S will HTF before I have to act as the EB’s assistant and stuff all those plastic eggs again. If I am not so lucky, then next year I’ll do a couple for you all.

  12. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    I no longer fly, too much hassle. I have no passport, so can’t even get into and out of Canada. In my one and only vehicle, I keep a sleeping bag, mattress pad, a pillow, a pair of clean underwear, socks, and a wool blanket. I figure if I have to sleep in the ol’ SUV, I want to be fairly comfortable. And if I am forced into a government-run shelter, I will have my own pillow so I don’t get lice and my own sleeping bag so I don’t get bedbugs. Prevention is easier than cure.

    My biggest concern in any disaster, whether natural or manmade, is social unrest. IOW, rioters and zombie hordes and gangbangers making their way to my place. I hope my neighbors will stand with me, but I have not talked about it with them since they are seldom outside.

    Off topic side note: yesterday (Easter) my EDC came in handy. I carry a couple of SAW matches in a small container on my keychain as part of my EDC. I used one of the matches to light the candles on the dinner table. To strike it, I used the nail file blade on my Swiss Army Knife, which is also on the keychain. My family was impressed. 🙂

    It’s the prepper’s life for me.

    Good thought-provoking guess post. Thank you, Hal B.

  13. If traveling by car I will have my GHB. If I travel by air, I will carry my gun, knife, etc in the checked baggage when traveling to where I can legally have them. Try not to travel to the other places. When I fly, I check in utilizing a cane which I can carry on the plane.

  14. Another Idea is to ship a firearm to a firearm dealer in the first State out of D.C. so that you can have it for most of your trip. I had to do the same thing when I moved my son home from the Military. I just looked up dealers and found one that would be on my way home. Called them and they told me the laws for there state and had no problem having it sent to them. I had to have a dealer from home send it to them but it was easy to do.

  15. St. Louis Grandma says:

    Hey Y’all, my first time posting – been reading this blog for a month or so now, when current events woke up the sleeping prepper in my mind. (I turned to my DH and said, Honey, we are going to starve to death, we have to stock food and he replied, I think you are right and we started prepping) Anyway, when I traveled bP (before prepping) I still prepped some. I always made sure to have enough food to cover all the meals I would need for the next 24 to 48 hours (depending on where I was going) as well as a 6 pack of water. My checked bag was always complete with everything needed for the entire trip because I’ve been traveling all my life and you just never know what will happen. The good book idea I saw in the comments was also always a given – I have to have a book to read to keep me from being hostile to the person who is sitting way too close inside my personal space.

    Wanted to mention the St.Louis disaster this past Friday Night. There are still people without power today and St.L is having food drives to feed those folks. It was a strange storm, it struck a rich neighborhood and a ghetto (on either side of the airport) and it was interesting in a prepping kind of way to watch the aftermath. (it missed my house by miles) The rich neighborhood was out in hours putting tarps over holes in roofs and collecting belongings from shattered houses, etc. The poor neighborhood.. with gangs and drugs and all those things that make life miserable for the poor.. markedly not in site. The poor folks came out and started helping each other pick up the mess and get things fixed, etc. There was no panic, there wasn’t any looting.. yet.. and there was no violence of any kind. Now, days later, they are still without power or water in most of these areas.. but still, the folks are calm. I don’t think St.Louis is any better then any other large city, so I’m not sure what to think. The SHTF here and people are peaceful.

    Now, the flooding is starting and the river is between my daughter and I. I worry.

    MD. You and this blog and all of you writers have helped me so much to put a name on all those nameless fears I’ve had and to find a way to keep what peace of mind I can… and … because of the helpful hints here, I have been able to bring on board my adult children who have my grandkids.. and I used the kids to do it. “I don’t give a **** if you believe me or think I’m nuts.. but do you really want the kids to go hungry?”

    Thank God they believed me.

    • Welcome, S.L. Grandma. And thanks for the 1st hand account of the aftermath of that terrible tornado. People remaining peaceful is kind of surprising being what we are told all the time to expect.

      • St. Louis Grandma says:

        Thank you, Judith, I’m so glad to be here. I was also quite surprised at the peacefulness. Perhaps the S didn’t HTF hard enough to cause that kind of unrest.

  16. Rev. J.M.Chance says:

    On every road trip we have our truck. The toolbox has shelter, comfort and road side emergency supplies. My Wife keeps Her bugout bag in the cab and I bring mine with us if we are travelling more than 25 miles. More than 100 miles and we add additional MRE’s, water and ammunition.

  17. jim hilty says:

    A ham radio does not require a license for an emergency transmission. If it is a true teotwawki, what does a license matter anyway. 2 meters proved useful to many in hearing skywarn storm watchers giving funnel locations during the latest tornados. You will know a tornado’s location about 5-10 minutes before any official EBS notification. Used handheld 2 meter transceivers can be bought for as little as 100.00 on ebay.

    • There are several models of 2 meter handi tallkies available for under $100 new, with quite a few available new for under $150. Also, anyone with a scanner capable of listening to the 144-148 MHz frequency range can monitor local weather networks.

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