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PSA: Do you have an “Emergency Travel Kit” ready to go for your family? Now is the time to plan ahead!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Do you have something like this ready to go?

What a sad week this is for Florida and the east coast of the United States. Everyone is scrambling to get out of the way of Irma and wisely so with heroic help from the airlines and so many others as well. While gut wrenching to think about, stuff at home can always be replaced while life can not! It is scary to see stores selling out of life sustaining items like water, some food items and gas.

Nummy! Ramen and caned Chicken!

If you are NOT in Florida then take this PSA (public service announcement) as a call to action. My wife and I for a long time have had an emergency travel kit ready to go. We are taking the time this week to beef it up and add to it.

First aid travel bag to go!

These items are nothing amazing just what we believe, if push came to shove, that we could maintain life with for a few weeks if we had to get out due to whatever or even if we had to shelter in place with no power or water.

Got water?

Plus, a basic set of first aid in what was years ago my go-to travel bag that has now become the grab bag if I or anyone is hurt. Here is my list of things we have and you can tell me what you think about our plans:

Ramen noodles cups and non cups (will re-use cups)
Pack of 6 hour Sterno burners and matches
Pot for boiling water
Small wire rack with legs for cooking
Canned chicken to add to ramen soups
2 cases of water
Large can mixed nuts

First Aid:
A basic kit with assorted first aid items
100 assorted sized band-aids
2 rolls of fabric tape
30 gauze pads
1x use gloves
1x bottle Advil, Tylenol & Aspirin
3x Neosporin antibiotic cream
Sewing needle and dental floss for thread
Alcohol gel, wipes and 2Q alcohol

2x 5 gallon gas (we rotate this out with fresh)
1x Tent with rain cover and air bed.
2x Travel chairs
A few rolls toilet tissue & paper towels
Can opener & mulit-tool in glove box
Flashlight always “lives” in the car

So these are our grab bags and other bits. The food is not exciting but will stay good for a long time and will sustain us in a pinch. My little Honda Fit (that I earned FF point buying) gets about 35 MPG. We normally have it full or half full and it takes less than 10 gallons to fill it up anyway.

Gas? Check!

Thus, our 3rd 5 gallon we use for the mower/snowblower would likely top off the car and then, with 2×5 gallons ready to go, we could drive ~600 miles without needing to find a gas station with fuel. All of these items we could grab in very little time. While I was busy loading up the car my wife could grab a large bag that has blankets in it already and toss in prescriptions and clothing we may need to get by for a few weeks. Bottom line we could be out the door quickly if we would need to.

What do you think of our emergency planning? Are we missing any critical bits we should consider adding to the above? What about you and yours? Do you have what you need to flee should you have to in the face of a natural or man made disaster? – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. You need cash & a debit/credit card. During Katrina & Rita, personnel left gas stations unattended so people had to swipe cards to buy gas. Some people only had cash, on the assumption that their cards wouldn’t work when the power is out. Be prepared for the situation to go either way.

    Do not abandon pets. Shelters are no longer supposed to refuse pets + hotels are likely to loosen rules against pets that are properly caged/restrained. You could be gone much longer than you assume if the disaster actually strikes. After Katrina, it was recognized that some loss of life could have been prevented if people had felt free to bring along their pets.

    Extra batteries for the flashlight & weather radio. Caffeine pills if you normally drink coffee. Car charger for phones. We have a device that you can plug into the car and use for an electric frying pan or other electrical devices, when hubby gets back I’ll ask him what it’s called. It kept my PC charged & my computer going during a lengthy loss of power during Hurricane Isaac when we sheltered in place in our home.

    • @peachfront – All good suggestions. We have a generator at home so if shelter in place we can use our 10-15 gallons of gas to run that. I keep my airline battery brick always charged so I could recharge my phone 10x times with those if I had to flee.

  2. Good suggestion. I’m not a huge prepper but I was a boy scout. I’m also a risk consultant so that plays into my thinking.
    I usually keep and rotate out several cases of water, several cans of gas (we have a generator), etc. I also keep lots of batteries on hand. Food is great to have and we have a few MRE’s but it spoils so fast. Having a giant stash of Ramen is a great idea but I don’t eat it on a normal basis so it’s difficult to rotate it out for fresh. I guess you could just donate it annually to a food bank. It’s fairly cheap. Pet food is also a good thing to have extra of on hand btw.
    I used to joke with my kids about being prepared. They would ask what we should have on hand. I would tell them a gun because that way we can just go take what we want from others. It was a dark joke but in reality looting and crime can be an issue in an emergency. We have guns in our kit. We also live in a rural area so these can be handy to hunt with. It’s all perspective.
    The main things you should add to your plan is a “bug out” list. Say you had to leave in 30 minutes or less. Sure you can load the car and grab your cell phone. Having a check list on the back of a kitchen cabinet door can help you remember items in a panic. I would also add a rally point plan. A family can escape a house fire but if they don’t know to all meet at a certain point outside it can lead to people getting injured searching for them in a burning house. A good rally plan should also include a place to meet if away from home. Say your at home on a random Tuesday, your wife/husband is at work 20 miles away and the kids are at school. A train de-rails and spills chemicals nearby and you all flee. Where are you going to meet? Cell phone systems are typical for failing in emergencies like that. Make sure everyone knows what to do.
    You can read my comment and disagree politically with owning guns but you may need some sort of protection if there is a disaster and no police to help.

  3. insurance papers and info -so u can get an adjuster asap to you!!Put all other important papers in a bank safe deposit box or take with…like passports/birth certs etc!!

  4. There are those wind up recharable radio/flashlight/phone chargers that NPR is always giving away as a premium.

    IDK what they are called, but there are pills you can get (prob @ camping stores) which sanitize water, for when you run out of bottled water.

    I think guns are a good idea.

  5. Rene’, remember, if your gas can for your mower/snowblower is a gas/oil mix do not put it in the car’s gas tank!

    • @Mark R – Yep txs both are non-mix gas. Even my weed-eater is non-mix. I don’t like messing with mix.

  6. Watching the families returning home in TX remind me of when my house burned. Everyone should have a handy list of what they would grab if they had to leave and nothing would be left when they return. #1, imo, is anything of great sentimental value–non-digital pictures/albums, jewelry, momentos.

    And, +1 for pet supplies. If you have a collapsible crate, or room for a non-collapsible kind, it can make more options available at “the other end”–whether that is a shelter, hotel, or friend or relative”s home.

  7. How about a road atlas and maps, in case cell towers and GPS go out. Remember how to read a map???!!!

  8. atlas, compass, matches/lighter, whistle and PASSPORT. all very small/light. all essential, imo.

  9. Jay Barton Reply

    A few other thoughts:

    (1) Plastic sheeting or tarps with heavy twine and “space blankets” for camping out, if necessary.
    (2) Potassium-iodide radiation tablets from Amazon (just in case the North Koreans go really bonkers).
    (3) Photos of key documents to keep on your phone, such as passports, drivers licences and the like.
    (4) Large sizes of peanut butter, canned tuna fish, can openers and crackers.

  10. Poor Old Dave Reply

    You forgot to include SPAM! (not internet spam)

    Also I have my master computer files stored on a
    4TB external drive in a waterproof case just in case the home pc is destroyed. Maybe a cigarette lighter or matches in a waterproof bag to start a fire. A small tree pruning saw that folds up for compact storage.

    and last but not least …. many airline bottles of Woodfords, Vodka, and Rum for medicinal purposes.

  11. Excellent ideas. Minor observation. We use hybrid fuel generators. If you are not keeping your generator’s carburetor clean, it clogs with gasoline when stored. Propane does not have that problem. Propane seems to be available when gasoline runs out. If you have a hybrid generator, gas will do in a pinch. Have survived a few lengthy power outages this way.

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