On the Road, On the Run — Refugee Travel

Natural Disasters

by Ellen Kanner

Trips we want to take: honeymoons, BFF weekends, all-expenses-paid business trips to dream locales.  Trips we don’t: fleeing a fire, flood, earthquake or in my case, hurricane.  These kinds of road trips are unexpected, unwelcome but here they are, anyway. As with any getaway, it pays to plan. May my Irma evacuation tips and resources help get you where you’re going with minimal stress and bring you safely home again.

Before you leave:

Photograph your property.  It may expedite insurance claims later.

Determine your destination. Community shelter? Family member’s house? Plush hotel?

Determine logistics, including timing, means of travel and proposed route. Be flexible, be patient. Flights get cancelled. Roads jam up. At the airport or on the road, you may be hanging with fellow evacuees. For hours.

What to pack:

Emergency cash for travel, at least a few hundred dollars.

Nix the Jimmy Choos, rock the glam another time. Keep shoes and clothes simple, comfortable and basic.

Medication—enough for at least a week.

Cellphone, iPod and charger.

Pack something personal and precious—a photograph or small item that cheers you and makes you feel like you.

Download vids and games for kids to reduce road trip rage.

Bring plenty of pet food, pet meds and bowls for food and water for your animal companions.

On the road

Hotels, plush or pits, book up fast. Using Expedia, Skyscanner, Orbitz or other online travel source may speed up the process, but once you’re booked online, contact the hotel directly to confirm reservations.

Monitor road conditions. The Federal Department of Transportation posts what’s happening along the roadways, from closures to congestion.

Need gas? GasBuddy points you to nearby gas stations with fuel.

Check in daily with friends and fam. Whatsapp is great for that. Connect with your network, group or work team with Zello.

Manage stress (no, really). Rest when you can. Crank your favorite tunes on the road. Nourish yourself. Nonperishable snacks like nuts and dried fruit fuel you better than chips and cookies. Bring water. Drink it. Allow frequent stops for bio breaks.

A simple act of kindness goes a long way now. Show gratitude.

Home again

After an ordeal, things don’t pop back to normal overnight.  Roads need to be cleared, power needs to be restored, stores need to restock.  Breathe through it, babe.

Keep the gratitude going.  Thank first responders. Volunteer for or donate to relief efforts.

Take a victory lap (or nap) and plan some healing time to trade war stories with your friends. You’re home.

Ellen KannerEllen Kanner is the award-winning author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner (VegNews’ Book of the Year, PETA’s debut Book of the Month Club pick), Huffington Post’s Meatless Monday blogger, Miami Herald syndicated columnist the Edgy Veggie and soulful vegan writer and recipe developer for numerous publications. A sought-after speaker, award-winning author and influencer on issues related to veganism, kitchen literacy, conscious eating, sustainability and farm to table, Ellen is Gourmet Guru for the Global Pulse Confederation and ambassador for the American Pulse Association, providing outreach and original content and recipes. She lives la vida vegan in Miami.