This is a question I get asked fairly regularly — when should I bug out? Unfortunately, there are so many factors that come into play, it is difficult if not impossible to give just one pat answer.
First, let me define what I mean by “bugging out.” There’s a difference, to my mind at least, between bugging out and evacuating. If, for example, you live in an area where a hurricane is predicted to hit in the next few days and you make the wise decision to head inland during that time, that’s not bugging out, that’s evacuating. Bugging out, to me, is leaving your present location with little to no expectation of ever returning.
Fairly often, I see a survivalist or prepper post a message online saying that they plan to just bug out if ever the SHTF. What is left unsaid is, what sorts of S could HTF to prompt them to bug out? I mean, we prep for all sorts of catastrophes, from bad weather to terrorist attack.
I do believe every prepper should have a bug out plan. It is just a way to cover all the bases, so to speak. You never know what could happen that might prompt you to feel you need to bail. However, as I’ve said over and over here and elsewhere, bugging out should be your last ditch plan, not your primary plan.
Remember too that bugging out without a specific destination in mind just makes you a refugee. A possibly well-equipped refugee, but a refugee nonetheless.
Ok, so back to the main question. What I suggest is you plan to bug out if and only if your location becomes unsafe. This could mean different things to different preppers. For example, an urban home might become more dangerous much sooner than a rural one, all other things being equal, in the face of disaster.
Added to this is the fact that you can’t predict what the future will bring. Could be, disaster hits your area and for the most part, you, your family, and your home survive relatively intact. Then, during the recovery process, things start to get a little dicey. You obviously would want to get out ahead of the crowd but it becomes a guessing game. Will it eventually get bad enough here where I’d not want to be around? How long until that happens? How bad will it get?
Like I said, there is no pat answer. The best advice I can give is to have a bug out plan ready to go, practice it on a regular basis, and be prepared to head out if/when the need arises.