My First Bug Out Plan Wasn’t Very Good (And How To Make Yours Better!)

First Bug Out Plan

In this article I am going to share the first bug out plan that I made with some family members.  To be honest, it wasn’t great and if you have seen my current article on How To Make A Bug Out Plan you can tell that I have learned a lot since then.  What was once a simple family conversation on how we would meet up and evacuate has turned into a 14 page template that ANYONE can use to create their own Bug Out Plan, which is available for free download here:

First Bug Out Plan

In addition to taking a look at what we came up with to evacuate I am going to show you the good points and bad points of the plan so that you can learn from my experience and go back and improve your own bug out plan.

Lets dive into the circumstances that inspired us to make our first bug out plan and what we came up with.

My First Bug Out Plan: Get Out Of Dodge

I recently shared with you some of the preparedness lessons that I learned during my time living in New York City (article here).  These lessons were as diverse as the events that inspired them and I truly hope that you were able to apply some of the tips I provided to improve your own preparedness.

At the time, there were 5 of us, My Aunt B (mentioned in the previous article as surviving the 9/11 attacks), 2 cousins, my future wife, and myself who worked or lived in NYC.  We were spread all over the city, downtown, midtown, and uptown.  We were fortunate that one of us drove in daily and we agreed that her location was the best meeting point.  Her office at Columbia University was set as the rally point and we agreed to a simple strategy that she would drive us out to our destination of Aunt B’s house.  It was a simple bug out plan, the first that I had been exposed to.  Let’s take a closer look to see good and bad points:


We took action to make a plan

The fact that we made a plan in the first place is a huge positive.  We had been caught with our pants down in earlier cases, having to scramble and figure things out individually.  Making a plan is the first step towards improving your odds for survival.  If you haven’t read our article on this, take a moment to understand what you can do for yourself here.

We made a specific rally point

My cousin worked at Columbia University, an institution that takes up several city blocks and has many buildings within.  If we had just agreed to meet at the university it could have led to confusion and wasting time to find each other.  Making a highly specific rally point, such as her office in building “X” will save time and reduce potential confusion.

Mode of transportation

Although public transport such as the commuter trains would probably be faster, these have been stopped on more than one occasion due to manmade events, blackouts, hurricanes, and freezing temperatures.  Relying on this could have left us stranded.  So, we chose the most flexible option as our primary go-to.  With a car we would have had to deal with traffic but would still be together and mobile and could always get out and walk.  It is best to choose the most flexible mode of transportation as your primary option.


We knew where we were going to head to once on the move.  This gave us a goal to keep morale up and also allowed us to tell other family members where they could find us.

First Bug Out Plan

Room For Improvement

We never tested or practiced the plan

Once we agreed to the plan we left it at that, never doing a test run.  If we had to initiate it things may have gone smoothly, thankfully we never had to find out.  However had we carried out a test run we could have found out points of failure and made improvements.

No secondary communication method

If we needed to initiate the plan while we were all in our offices we could call each other on our respective landline phones.  However, if we were in meetings or out to lunch it would be necessary to rely on cell phones.  Anyone who has been in a disaster situation (or even in a huge crowd) can tell you that cell reception can quickly become spotty.  Having a secondary communication method can be a life saving addition to a bug out plan.  This could mean walkie-talkies or having a designated spot where you can leave each other messages or notes.

No backup rally point

While we did a great job of picking a specific rally point, we stopped there.  If for some reason that became inaccessible we would have been lost.  It is best practice to designate at least one secondary rally point away from the primary one.  You never know where it will be safe to meet.  Separate your rally points to ensure your bug out team can get to an alternate if the primary is not available.

No designated secondary destination

Although we were fortunate enough to have multiple extended family member’s homes in the metro NY area to go to if there was a problem reaching our primary destination (Aunt B’s house), we never designated a secondary (or tertiary) location specifically.  This once again could have led to confusion when our other family members were trying to find us.

Stash bug out bags at rally point or workplaces

While I did have a rudimentary BOB at home at this point if a disaster occurred during working hours we all would have been left to survive with just what we had with us.  Storing a get home bag or even BOB at my workplace or at our primary rally point would have made me much better prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

The Aftermath

So, where did I go from here?  Luckily we never needed to execute the plan and I have since moved far from New York City.  I have however continued to grow my preparedness knowledge and planning skills.  As I mentioned at the top of the article I have written an in depth article and created a free template for anyone (including YOU!) to download and fill out to build a Bug Out Plan for their own family, check it out here.  Good luck with your preparedness planning and always remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Your Thoughts?

What did you think of my first bug out plan?  Do you see any other areas I could have improved?  What do you include in your own bug out plan?  Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!


Chris Ruiz

My name is Chris and I created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world. I believe that a well-prepared society is the best safeguard against any natural or manmade disaster.

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