One of the most common topics that comes up in survival circles is bugging out. Every man and his dog seem to have a romantic notion of spending their days post-crisis in a remote cabin in the middle of the wilderness. But when it comes to auctioning these plans, that's where they fall short.
They've got the dream. But they haven't yet turned it into a real survival strategy.
However, I'd like to exercise a word of warning here.
Bugging out shouldn't be anywhere near the top of your priority list when the SHTF. It's a last resort, a plan you execute when it becomes no longer safe to stay at home.
Because bugging out is extremely dangerous. You could get caught up in traffic and stuck, hit road blocks and have your car searched, or even run into other survivors on the road who want to take what you have. You never know.
My advice is to only bug out if it's absolutely necessary. Your home should be in a relatively safe area, that allows you to fortify and "hunker down" if a disaster strikes. If it doesn't, perhaps because you're living in a tiny apartment in the center of the city, it might be worth considering how you can take action now to be a little safer when the SHTF. A shift to a smaller city can greatly increase your ability to survive, especially if you've got a little land you can use to become a more self-sufficient household.
But there's always a chance you need to bug out, and a smart survivalist is one with a backup plan for every scenario. When the SHTF and you need to evacuate your home, here's where you can go.
A remote property you own
This is the ideal situation. A crisis has hit, and it's no longer safe to stay home. So, you grab your evacuation kits and your bug out bags, and head to that remote cabin you've purchased for this exact purpose. We've got a cabin on a few acres that we've slowly been working on, but this was also a rather expensive endeavor. I know not everyone has the ability to make purchases like this on the off-chance they need it in a disaster. But it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Once you start getting out of the cities into the more rural back-woods areas, buying a few acres actually gets affordable. Even if there's nowhere to live. For a couple of thousand dollars you can get a used trailer, and while it may not be pretty, you've not got the makings of your own bug out location.
A remote property your family owns
If buying your own property is off the cards, your next bet is to rely on a friend or a family member who already has an ideal bug out location. Depending on your family, I'll bet you've at least one relative who is currently living in a home (or owns a second property), that's almost perfect for your bug out plans. So, talk to them. Forget weird family dynamics, when the SHTF you'll be glad you had these conversations in advance, and double points if you had the foresight to store a couple of suitcases of gear and bug out bags there, ahead of time. Just in case. For me, I've got a couple of boxes "in storage" at my grandmother's house, and there's a trailer parked in the back of my parent's property that's chock full of survival gear. My goal is to have multiple options if a disaster strikes, so we can cut and change our plans as the situation demands.
An established prepper community
Now these are a little difficult to find, but it's not impossible. The goal is to find an established group of survivalists, and join their community. That way, you can use their land and facilities when the SHTF. Often, they will be looking for new members (many hands make light work), though it can take time and effort to earn their trust. I know near to me there are two communities like this, and I've bumped into their members at both my local shooting range, and in training groups I've participated in. So be willing to be a little open, and if you ask around enough you will find a community you can join.
Create your own community
But if not, you could always start your own community. I'd talk to a few close friends, as you've probably already got an idea of who in your circles would make a good addition and could potentially be open to the idea. The idea here is to pool your resources and purchase a property that can be used as a bug out location for the group when a disaster strikes. Again, this is a strategy that could take a little time to execute, and there will be challenges like getting the objectives of the group sorted and setting the ground rules. With the right people, this could be the perfect arrangement.
Squat in a national or state park
It's not ideal, but without other options for your bug out I'd consider scouting and parks or state forests in your area that could suit. You want a location that has a number of different access routes, as well as running water and decent food sources. A bug out location doesn't need to be permanent, if you've got an area that's relatively remote it could prove perfect for a few days to a few weeks. The trick is to prepare in advance, so you're not completely without gear during the crisis. I'm not gunna lie, there's a couple of my favorite camping sites where I've buried small caches of gear as an extreme last resort. That way, no matter what, we've got options when the SHTF.
Of course, when a disaster strikes and the world turns to chaos, your best chance of survival is to hunker down and stay put. Fortify your home and ride out the worst of the crisis with all the gear, food and supplies you've already stockpiled. The only time bugging out makes sense is when it's no longer safe to stay in your home, and if this is the case it's important you know where you're headed.