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REAL Account of NYC Snowstorm Travel Blues

Who has to travel?

One of your Omega family members just sent us a story of their recent trip to the NYC area when this big snow dump occurred.  The person wanted to remain anonymous (smart), but has allowed me to recreate the nightmare.

John, let's call "him", relays this account:

I was supposed to be there for a three hour meeting.  A classic "in and out" business trip.  Consequently, I travelled very light.

I had no gun because, well, it's New Jersey.  I had no heavy coat or winter gear, no boots because, again, it was supposed to be a quick in and out.  No cash on me, no car -- no nothing.

Multiple flights were cancelled and the airport was a zoo.  The Uber and taxi services were all stopped.  It was a 3+ hour wait for any train and there were absolutely no hotel rooms available.

After a five hour wait, I was able to get ATM cash and paid an unreasonably large amount for what appeared to be the last taxi out of the airport, leaving hundreds of others stranded behind.

Outside of the airport the traffic was motionless in all directions.  During this trip I literally saw single moms with small children who were crying.  This could have been a very ugly event -- uglier than it was.

Long story short, lesson learned -- this won't happen to me again.

Thanks for sharing, "John" -- WOW.  Fortunate circumstances.  It could have been far worse, you're right.

John, if you're reading, please do not take offense to anything we say.  This is a fantastic real world experience for us all to learn from -- including myself.  My thoughts on this are as follows:

  1. It's a pain in the ass to assume the worst and plan for it.
  2. If we DO assume the worst, the equipment list may be unrealistic.
  3. Even the equipment we take may be a burden.
  4. Travelling alone is a blessing.
  5. The "survivor" mindset is all important.
Not surprisingly, someone who thinks like WE/YOU do, worked the situation and came out OK, but a big part of that like anything is by God's grace -- just what would have happened if the storm had picked back up?  Snarling things more severely.  Storms can persist for days...weeks even.

What if the supplies in the airport dwindled because deliveries were halted?  John thought to mention "no gun" -- I take that to mean that it was a tense social scenario and security came to mind.  Again, no real catastrophe occurred because this time it was a hiccup, not an all out assault by nature.

So what can we DO?

We're going to use John's example for this mental exercise.

Keep in mind we're often limited as to what we can take by rules; cruise ship rules, airline rules, etc..  Other times we're limited by local laws, which you should always check out ahead of travelling.

Due to the vast array of supplies/choices we have for "survival" equipment, I'm not going to go into specifics -- this audience is well educated enough to select your own gear for the task, but let me cover some bases:
  • Water filtration
The airport bodega runs out of supplies, no bottled water.  The pumping stations are down because the electricity is out, or the gravity fed water system cannot be refilled.  How many toilet flushes does an airport have?

Water filters are the EASIEST thing you can take anywhere.  Often small, or disguised as a sports bottle.  Don't leave home without it.
  • Extra food
Again, the airport bodega or restaurant is out of power or has been raided by the throngs of hungry, stranded travellers.  It would be nice to have your own sustenance.  Of course, utilize what the airport has first, but when there is nothing to buy are you going to eat your hat?

High calorie ration bars or food tablets are not that big and can easily sustain you for a week even on a small supply -- if you're not assaulted for your food (so eat it in private).
  • Security
John mentioned the lack of a gun, or in other words, personal protection.  When people lose everything, they lose IT.  Their minds.  They lose their minds.  Be physically fit.  Able to evade, move away from dangerous crowds.  Know how to engage in fisticuffs and, if possible, have means of defense such as firearms and/or a good pepper spray.
  • Shelter from elements / fire
Thankfully, it didn't turn to this for John, but inclement weather will kill you.  Had the power gone out in the airport it would be nice to at least have a warm blanket, hat and gloves.  A small sleeping bag would be better.  If stranded in a car, the blanket could be a life saver (along with the food).  I put fire with shelter because if it's getting to the point that we have to think about and build shelter, fire is likely essential if possible.  So take a fire kit.
  • Cash on hand
If the electric is out, credit cards and ATMs are down and cash is back to being king.  If you have it, at the beginning of a catastrophe anyway, YOU will be the one getting goods and services, perhaps allowing you to create a hedge of supplies and/or distance between you and the soon-to-be-crazed hordes.  To go one layer deeper, once cash loses its luster, perhaps having a bit of shiny metal like silver or gold on hand could get you one step further.

It all depends on what you want to do.

If you're like me and you travel to, say, Tennessee for a vacation, I need to be able to get back home ON FOOT if necessary.  That may be too extreme, but it's what I plan for and the equipment for that is a massive inconvenience and far too much for a plane ride -- which is why I drive everywhere.

Hey that's it everyone.  Thanks again, "John", for sharing that awesome "adventure" -- which is how I hope you see it at this point:  a terrible, awful, wonderfully blessed learning experience!  LOL.  You're back home safe, praise the Lord.

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving everyone!

Good day and good luck,
The Omega Team