Family Vacation & Still Prepping Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! I know we dedicate a lot of time and money to prepping and survival but I am a firm believer in balance. I think as important as it is to be prepared it’s just as important to hit the road … Continue reading Family Vacation & Still Prepping
Yes, people do still take vacations, and any “daycation” away from work and the resulting stress is a way to recharge and unwind, it’s a good thing. In today’s economy, however, not many Preppers can afford to fly to Europe or visit some exotic island hideaway.
Vacations for many are day trips to national parks, theme parks, or a few hours hiking along an established trail. What happens, though, if something happens and you are away from home, away from your supplies, away from friends and family, can you survive?
First, assume something could happen while on vacation. Being aware of certain possibilities likely means, you are preparing if only in your mind for something to happen. This is the beginnings of an action plan.
Carry emergency rations and be prepared to spend time in your vehicle. MRE’s and freeze-dried or dehydrated foods are ideal because of the weight factor. Canned goods can be carried but consider the weight when having to carry your food supply in a pack. Water is, of course, one of the most important essentials you can carry. Carry at a minimum a gallon per person per day. Carry enough food and water for the time you have planned to be gone and then add 72 hours to the itinerary.
If you are at a national park, for example, and the grid goes down you can survive there at the park. Many people will, of course, panic and jump in their vehicles, which will create gridlocked highways. It may take days for the confusion to subside enough for you to make your way back home by vehicle, so you may have to sit tight where you are for 24 to 48 hours. If there is an EMP attack then it is not likely anyone will be going anywhere by vehicle, so you will be forced to shelter in place.
Parks will have water sources, and with the food supply you have packed, you can survive for several days without having to forage for food, and if you do run low on water, you can collect and boil water for drinking. Your shelter can be your vehicle, cabins that may be abandoned at the park, or tents that you carry for such an event.
Get your vehicle out of sight and avoid cutting any vegetation to camouflage it. Just get it out of sight of trails, roadways, and access/fire roads.
The biggest problem you will have is fuel for your vehicle. During any type of crisis, gas stations get overrun and soon run out of fuel and if the grid goes down, they cannot pump fuel anyway.
Fuel is a big concern, so at every opportunity top off your tank and make sure it is full when arriving at your destination. Carrying fuel on vacation is not practical unless you have an open or well-ventilated trailer or an open bed pickup truck. You, obviously want enough in your tank to get back home.
You have your vehicle for shelter even if this means sleeping sitting up in a seat. You also need the means to create a fire and utensils for cooking food and which to boil water.
Carry cash because ATM machines may not work. Carrying cash brings its own set of problems, but then again nothing is perfect. You have to go with a plan and you can divide the cash up among family members or hide it in the vehicle somewhere to lessen the impact of a robbery. No plan is perfect so do not drive yourself crazy imagining all manner of scenarios. Go with likely, and use your instincts and common sense to guide you.
If you already have lodging and the SHTF, you need to assess your location immediately for safety issues. You may be asked to check out by the proprietors or they may be too busy to care, much depends on the crisis. You do not want to be on upper floors during a power outage, or during any kind of attack (s) in the area. A ground floor unit gives you escape options not available on the upper floors.
Motels, hotels, and other lodging options often times have swimming pools that can be used as a drinking water source after filtering and purifying. You cannot assume they had treated the pool water properly against bacteria and viruses.
If the crisis forces most people to flee, then the kitchen may provide you with some emergency rations. This is a judgment call. Technically taking food from the kitchen would be considered criminal, but if the country’s grid systems fail or the country is being attacked and certain cities have come under nuclear, chemical, or biological attacks then survival is your objective at virtually any cost. It is a judgment call that only you can make.
Do not use underground parking garages, and if your vehicle is in one get it out as soon as possible. The building could be damaged, or the area could become an ambush zone and if the lights go out the darkness would be a hindrance as well.
Military personnel are trained never to stop their vehicles when confronted by unknowns. Keep moving is the general rule. Stopping your vehicle means, you are literally a sitting duck. Static targets are much easier to strike and easier to take over by any group.
If you have to escape by vehicle keep moving, and do not stop for anyone. If you stop for someone in the middle of the road thinking that you may be able to help, you may find your vehicle surrounded by those wishing you harm. Looters and other criminals will be out in force during a crisis and they will use this pretext to get you to stop.
Being prepared will keep you alive. You need shelter, food, water, and medical supplies, all of which can be easily carried in your vehicle.
Your vehicle will be your lifeline, so do not abandon it unless staying with it endangers your life. Do not drive aimlessly, this waste gas. Stay put until you are ready to drive directly home, and be prepared to take alternate routes, which you should have mapped out before setting out on your trip.
REHOBOTH BEACH, Delaware – A mother who was enjoying a vacation with her 8- and 9-year-old children was arrested last week after she left them at a vacation rental in order to go buy food.
The story of Susan L. Terrillion, 55, of Olney, Maryland, has sparked a debate over whether the arrest was necessary – and a quick glance on social media and in the local newspaper’s section shows that most people believe it was outrageous.
“That poor woman. When I was seven I rode public transportation to school and walked home,” one person wrote.
A witness reported the mom to local police, who said she was gone for about 45 minutes while getting food at a restaurant, according to The News Journal newspaper.
“Shame on this neighbor for calling the police absolutely ridiculous!” another person wrote in the newspaper’s comment section. “They are 8 & 9 and she wasn’t even gone that long and they were not hurt. … I feel so sorry for this mother! That man should be ashamed of himself.”
She was arrested and released on $500 bond, charged with endangering the welfare of children.
Police, the newspaper reported, had responded to a “report of two young children left alone at a residence.”
“A witness told police that he made contact with the children when their dogs ran into Country Club Drive in front of his vehicle,” the newspaper reported. “… The witness stopped to help the children get control of the dogs and learned they were alone.”
Lenore Skenazy, author of the book Free-Range Kids, wrote sarcastically at Reason.com: “So really, you have to blame the dogs. Or a guys who calls the cops simply because he came into contact with unsupervised kids and felt the knee-jerk compulsion to get the authorities involved. Or the authorities, who feel compelled to arrest moms for trusting their kids to take care of themselves for a little while. … What a lovely vacation.”
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Summer is a time when backyard gardeners can enjoy the fruits of their labor, but it’s also a time when many of us enjoy going on vacation and seeing another part of the country or the world.
Unfortunately, gardening and vacationing are not the most compatible of activities. A garden requires care, and being away for a couple of weeks can mean coming back to a garden that is dried up, ravaged by pests or overrun with weeds.
Fortunately, having a healthy vegetable garden and taking some much deserved time off don’t have to be mutually exclusive. It does, however, require some planning ahead.
Plan and Care for Your Crops
If it’s early spring and you already know that you’ll be taking a two-week excursion in July, then you can plan your crops so that you won’t have too many vegetables maturing while you’re away. Although some plants do need to be planted in early spring, certain types of seeds, like carrots and beans, can be planted a little later. You can time them so that they’ll be maturing soon after you arrive back home.
Be sure to care for your crops and water them deeply early in the season. This will help a good, healthy root system get established, and you will have stronger plants that will be able to cope with less watering while you are away.
What About Watering?
Watering can be a challenge, especially if the summer happens to be a hot and dry one. Be sure to give your garden a good, deep watering before you go away, and use a mulch to help prevent evaporation. Consider placing long planks of wood between your vegetables after you water. This will help to ensure that the soil underneath them remains damp for as long as possible.
It is not recommended that you use plastic, as you want your plants to be able to take advantage of any rainfall during your absence.
Watering devices also can help keep your plants hydrated. Local garden centers often sell beautiful glass globes that allow gradual watering, but a wine bottle works just as well if you’d rather save your money for your upcoming vacation! (Watch the video below.)
Story continues below video
A Little Support Goes a Long Way
Before you head off for your vacation, make sure that any plants that will need support are properly caged or staked. That little tomato plant may not look like much now, but you’d be amazed at how much it can shoot up in just a few weeks.
If you have plants starting to bear fruit and vegetables before you go, it is advisable to do some early harvesting. Lighten the load of tomato and strawberry plants by picking early. Even if these are not fully ripe yet, it is better to let them ripen indoors (even in the fridge can work!) or give them to a friend or neighbor rather than leaving them outside to rot.
It is especially important to harvest plants like peas and zucchini – which if allowed to mature, will cause your plant to stop fruiting.
Greens such as lettuce are the most vulnerable when you’re away. You can try protecting these by setting up a shade barrier.
Garden With a Friend
Of course, the most ideal solution to caring for your garden while you are away is having a garden buddy. If you have a trusted friend or neighbor who is willing to help, consider yourself fortunate – but don’t assume their thumb is as green as yours. And don’t expect perfection.
Before you go away, take them on a tour of your garden and make sure they know what needs to be watered, and which plants are vegetables vs. weeds. Consider a bit of extra signage to help with their comfort level and be sure they know where to find things like gloves and hoses.
You should also let them know that they are welcome to any of the harvest that ripens while you are away. This will not only be a bonus for them, but it will help to keep your garden healthier, as well.
Finally, be sure to show your appreciation for their efforts. Consider bringing your garden buddy a small gift on your vacation and be ready to return the favor when the opportunity presents itself.
Now that you have done everything you can to ensure that your garden is cared for, it is time to enjoy your vacation. While your vegetables may not get the same kind of attention that they would if you were home, they are not doomed.
You can go away knowing that your garden will still be there when you return.
What advice would you add for keeping a garden healthy while on vacation? Share it in the section below:
We road trip to Seattle fairly often…6 hours away. We also LOVE road-trip vacations. Here are a few tips that I have used and tweaked over the years to keep the kids entertained.
This is our dry food bin. Basically anything that doesn’t need refrigeration. It was large…but not enough for a week at the beach. (Yes, I allow junk food on vacation)
I like doing this because it makes packing the car easier. Also nothing get squished.
This is actually the same bin…left is end view. Books and DVD’s go in this bin, as do any markers or coloring….LOTS! of Mad Libs.
We always tend to over pack. Best of intentions to do those Mad Libs but then a book on tape catches our attention and that is all we end up doing.Little House on the Prairie is a fave (found here) I love the bin to keep their stuff organized. I can tell you when we travelled with 4 they each had their own bin and that became messy. It was easier to have one bin per 2 kids. One in the front bench and one in the back.
What do you do when taking road trips? Any tips you want to share?
Some favorite audio books that we have listened to on road-trips:
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We don’t believe in waiting until our kids are “old enough” to camp.
My first child was 6 months old when we set up the tent in the back yard and spent the night. My second child was 10 months old when we managed to pick the hottest weekend of the entire year to go to a campground. And my youngest was a co-sleeping, nursing infant when we packed her off to the campground with her siblings.
Camping with kids is not easy. But it’s also fun and probably not as hard as most people think. Camping is a sure-fire way to find quality family time. It’s a chance to really put your skills to the test, like fire starting and plant identification, and teach those skills to your kids. And it can be a chance for character-building, too, as you solve problems together, engage in campsite diplomacy, and make do with what you have with you.
Anyway, I’ve learned a few things over the last decade of tent camping with children. Maybe my trial and error method can give you a head start with your learning curve.
- Use disposable everything! Even if you use cloth diapers, washcloths, and real plates at home, camping with kids is the time to go disposable. Pack paper towels, disposable diapers, plastic grocery sacks (for trash or wet clothes), and paper plates with plastic utensils. You’ll have enough to do without washing extra camp dishes or trying to haul home extra laundry.
- Pack extra clothes. Pack even more clothes per child than you think you’ll need. If you do this camping thing right, they’ll need them!
- Keep a change of shoes and clothes in the car. Reserve at least an extra pair of shoes and a full change of clothes for each member of the family in your vehicle. More than once, we’ve had the unexpected rain storm, or discovered a new leak in our tent. If nothing else happens, at least you’ll have clean clothes for the ride home. And you avoid a major car cleaning chore after your adventure, too!
- Familiarize your children with your tent ahead of time. Each year before the first camping trip, we set up the tents in the front yard to play in them, or even have at least one nap time in the tents. If you’re planning to use a Pack N Play for an infant or toddler, make sure they’re used to sleeping in it, too.
- Do a backyard trial run. If it’s the first time camping for your family, or for the newest famiy members, consider “camping” in your own backyard for a night or two before hitting the actual campground. This will give you an even better idea of what to pack and plan for.
- Plan familiar foods. Camping with kids is probably not the time to try that fancy 17-ingredient recipe. Stick with hot dogs and hamburgers or something equally easy. If you’d like to expand your camping menu, try to add just 1 new recipe each trip.
- Go with a group. If you can, coordinate your camping experience with another family, or several! We’ve found that having lots of adults around makes it very easy to keep track of all the kids, share meal responsibility, and even give each mom and dad a bit of time together. For example, each family could take a meal to cook and host for the entire group. Camping with a group also helps to keep the kids occupied—they have friends to go bike riding or exploring together.
- Pack a battery-powered fan. If you choose to ignore all the rest of the list, at least pack a fan! Not only will it help keep the hot summer air moving, it can also help mask some unfamiliar night noises. A better nights’ sleep will make all your day time experiences much more pleasant.
- Give them a gift– to use while camping. Depending on your child’s maturity level, consider giving them a tool to use while camping. Even a younger child could probably handle a very small pocket knife. Older children could learn to use fire-starters, tent peg mallets, or even hatchets. And if they own it, they’re much more excited about using it to help out.
- Establish clear rules around the fire. This is the one area where we are very strict. No running around the fire. No lighting sticks on fire and waving them. And have a containment plan for any mobile infants or toddlers. To date, we’ve never had any serious fire-related injuries, and we plan to keep it that way.
- Have a wide-ranging first aid kit. We use a plastic tackle box as our camp first aid kit. If you un-package items, you can easily fit everything you need for burns, bug bites, scrapes, upset tummies, and allergies. Placing items in zip top baggies will keep them organized and water proof.
- Don’t do everything. Don’t send the kids off to play while you set up the tent and start the dinner fire. Give everyone a task, such as holding tent poles, or collecting a certain size stick. They won’t learn unless they’re involved, and in the long run, your job gets easier. Just imagine 5 years from now, sitting in your camp chair while the kids set up and get dinner on the fire.
- Let the kids get dirty and give them the freedom to explore. Camping puts you directly in contact with nature, and nature is messy. If the kids are sweaty and muddy at the end of the day, you’ve probably done things right.
- Teach respect for others campers. Camping etiquette means going around, not through, someone else’s campsite. It also means being aware when riding bikes or playing catch in the road and observing quiet hours at night. And when you’re by the water, be aware of people fishing.
- Don’t be afraid to pack up early. Last summer, there was a severe line of thunderstorms moving in on our last night. It was just me and 3 kids, so I made the decision to pack it up early and head home. Good thing, because we had severe weather all night long—one of the worst storm systems of the season. You don’t have to prove anything—there’s always next time.
Camping teaches kids survival skills in a fun way. It builds their confidence as they realize how much they know and can do. It gets them away from screens and in touch with nature. And it creates family bonds and life-long memories.
Camping in general gets easier with experience. People give all sorts of excuses why they can’t take kids camping. “Oh, I’d love to take my kids camping, but not while they’re in diapers!” But if not now, when? What if you find yourself “camping” someday after an unexpected event? You’ll be glad you practiced now! Besides, it’s rewarding to hear your kids telling their friends, “We had the BEST time ever camping!”
Taking kids out of school – even if it’s related to the death of a relative — can cost a fortune if you live in the United Kingdom.
Kerry and Richard Bowering were fined $1,350 (£950) for taking their three school-age daughters on vacation to Spain to heal after their grandmother’s tragic death.
“In January, their gran (grandmother) died of cancer and then at the end of February their mum had a hysterectomy for cervical cancer,” Richard Bowering told Yahoo News UK. “They were really badly affected by those things – it was a nightmare time – so we thought we would give them a break and take them on holiday. I asked for a bit of compassion to allow us to do that. I asked the headmistress (principal) for permission and she refused.”
The family that lives in Bristol, England, decided to take the trip anyway. That led the Bristol City Council to fine them around $85 per parent for each of the children. A local court then increased the fines to $1,350 when the parents did not show up in court.
“The council has a duty to follow the current legislation and national guidelines relating to pupil attendance, as set out in the Department for Education’s guidance,” a spokesman for the Bristol City Council told the website. “This includes fines which are also set out by central government.”
In the United Kingdom, schools are administered by local governments but all school policy is set by Her Majesty’s Government. This includes mandatory attendance, which can be very costly as the Bowerings discovered.