How to get yourself out of a country when things go south.

Focus on your immediate safety first

Before you start working out how you’re going to get out of the country, your first priority is to make sure you’re safe where you are now.

A small town to the east of Aleppo, Syria. 2020.

Be prepared for a long wait

If the situation on the streets is getting out of control, and it’s not safe for you to be outside, you may end up stuck inside your accommodation. Ensure you’re prepared for a long wait. Think about how you’ll arrange meals, wash your clothes and top up your SIM cards. If you take medication, make sure you have enough on hand to last for a few weeks.

Getting out by air

Movement by air is the fastest and most convenient evacuation option. If outbound scheduled flights are still available, get yourself to the airport and on a flight. It doesn’t necessarily matter where you travel to, so long as it’s a secure location and you can get yourself out of the country.

Getting out by vehicle

To be able to conduct a safe evacuation by vehicle, you’ll need a secure destination, a secure route to that destination, and a suitable vehicle and driver. Your destination will either be a safer location in the same country or a secure location in an adjacent country.

Low profile vehicles in Tripoli, Lebanon. 2019.

Getting out by boat

If it’s not possible to leave by air or land, and you’re in a country with a coastline, your last option for evacuation is to leave by boat.

Staying in place

In some cases, your evacuation plans may be overwhelmed by the situation. As the situation escalates, airspace may be closed, the airport may shut down or roads may become impassable. In such situations, you’ll need to be prepared to remain in place.

  • Have a large capacity power bank. Consider using solar panels; however, be aware that they’re not particularly effective in an urban environment.
  • Have a satellite phone or satellite communicator. If using a satellite phone, ensure you pack an external antenna that you can mount outside a window. Satellite devices can be less effective in urban areas. If you have a choice where you stay, find a building with rooftop access.
A rooftop overlooking Aleppo, Syria. 2020.

Founder, Spartan9.

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