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In the preparedness world, we constantly hear about how you can’t bug out unless you have your own property to go to. This secure property is supposed to have a home, livestock, possibly a bunker, a lush garden, a nearby stream, and so much more.
This idea of the ultimate bug out location creates the stigma that if you don’t have land, you can’t bug out, and thus, you are doomed; especially if you live in the city. There are a lot of people who don’t own land, but we still need to be prepared to bug out if need be.
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So what if you don’t have land? Or access to land? Or any resources to acquire land in the near future?
It would be absolutely fantastic to own a little piece of land to spend our weekends and create a little self-sufficient homestead, but we don’t. It’s a dream that one day might come true, but we’re not going to let the lack of land stop us from creating a bug out plan.
We live in an urban area in Texas. If you’re not familiar with Texas, all land is private. Even the “public” land has a lot of restrictions and that public land is usually a state or federal park. We also don’t have any friends or relatives outside of town, so if we needed to completely leave the city, we’d have to get very creative with where we go.
You may live in a state that has some great public land and forests, but maybe bugging out into a forest isn’t ideal for your situation, such as if you have a family. If your family is on board with that, then feel free to proceed. If not, you’ll need to figure out some other options.
There are many reasons we may need to bug out, and we need to plan accordingly. Wandering aimlessly out of the city will not only be stressful, but time-consuming as you try to figure out where to go. In an emergency or disaster, the better we plan now, the less we have to worry about when it comes time to take action.
So how do you bug out if you have no land?
Here’s a list of things to do if you don’t have a bug out location.
Re-evaluate Why You May Need To Bug Out
I look at the term “bug out” as a fancy way of saying evacuate. If there’s an emergency or disaster that is threatening your home and/or city to the point where you have made the decision to leave, then bugging out becomes more about getting to safety than the end of the world. A great example of needing to evacuate is because a wildfire is threatening your home. Take a look at the potential threats in your area.
Have a Plan
You need to create an emergency disaster plan that explains exactly what you’re going to do in case of certain emergencies and disasters and where you’re going to go if you must leave. This plan should also include alternative routes, any obstacles you need to overcome (such as bridges or bodies of water), types of disasters, meeting points, communication options, etc. Get the whole household together and plan it out so that everyone is on the same page.
Find a Bug Out Location
A big piece of private property out in the country isn’t the only type of bug out location. Anywhere you can be safe will do. Here are seven options to consider:
1. Land in Another State
If you border another state that has cheaper land for sale, you may want to consider acquiring land there. If you still can’t afford the land in another state, you could see if their public land options are an option for bugging out purposes. You’ll want to visit the location often to make sure it’s as remote and secure as possible, especially if it’s wide open country. Anyone could come across you when it’s public land, so make sure the location is safe and secure.
Staying in a hotel may not be for everyone because of the price alone, but it’s definitely an option. There are extended stay hotels where you can pay something like $400-600 a month.
Can you camp at a park? Camping can be a great option, and if the park has great resources like water and wildlife, it can be good for a longer term solution. Some parks will even open up their facilities to people for free evacuating from an emergency or disaster. Talk to the park rangers.
4. Ghost Towns
In addition to abandoned buildings, you might consider bugging out to ghost towns. Even cities that have very little if no activity are good options. There are a ton of little towns across Texas that are dying or have already been completely abandoned. So finding a place to bug out to at an inactive town could not only be secure but could prove to be a place where you could stay for a long period of time.
5. Abandoned Buildings
There are a ton of abandoned buildings in almost every city. I can think of five off the top of my head within walking distance of my home. Some of them are blocked off but if it’s an emergency, you could gain access if necessary. Just keep in mind that others might want to hole up in them, too, so do a lot of scouting at these locations first.
Caves can make good temporary locations, just watch out for wildlife and be safe if making a fire (make it as close to the opening as possible).
7. Your Vehicle
Sleeping in your car may be a good option. Parking lots like at Walmart are generally free and low profile. Try not to pull off the side of a major highway or road because you could get hassled by law enforcement. But parking lots and side roads are generally good. There are some challenges and things you’ll need to consider when it comes to sleeping/living in your car, but they’re all doable with a little planning.
Scout the Locations
Don’t just google some hotels and parks outside of your city, actually go to them. Scout the locations and see if they’d be a good fit for you and your family. See how crowded it is during certain seasons, see how safe it is, see what types of resources there are in the area, etc.
Do a Mock Bug Out
Now that you’ve narrowed down some places to go, do an actual mock bug out to those locations, spend the night or several nights and get a feel for how it would actually go down in case you needed to bug out. Check out the locals, take a look at security options, really get to know the area and place you might be going.
Don’t Forget Bug Out Supplies
In addition to your bug out bag and possibly extra food and water, don’t forget important documents and other items. Identification, licenses, insurances, cash and whatever else you think you’ll need while away from home.
Bugging out doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. It’s a way for us to get away from a bad situation and if it happens to be the end of the world, at least you have a starting point and can evaluate and adjust as you go.
Having no land isn’t the end of bugging out; we just have to adjust our thinking a bit. Create a plan, run mock bug out drills, and become as familiar with your bug out plans as you possibly can.
Morgan is a wife, mother and preparedness advocate. She’s the founder of Rogue Preparedness where she teaches people how to be prepared through her website, YouTube, social media and local classes. She loves to spend time outdoors and learning to be more self-reliant.
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