How to run away from home and survive

Preface: I asked the website developer I intern for to help me write this post for how to run away from home. He is 59 years old and has a plethora of life experience, so you can be sure this blog post will be very helpful for how to run away from home and survive.

Consider other options before running away | How to run away from home and survive

Runaway hotline | How to run away from home and survive

Consider getting anonymous advice. There are hotlines available for teens like you. These people can offer you advice and can tell you about solutions to your problem that would be safer than running away. The National Runaway Safeline is open 24/7 at 1-800-786-2929, or visit the Safeline website at:

Getting emancipated | How to run away from home and survive

Try to get emancipated so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of trying to not get caught running away. Someone else must file for your declaration of emancipation in court. It can be a “next friend” or parent or guardian. You can’t file it yourself. Some states require you to be 16 to be emancipated. Other states have the minimum age as 14. It costs between $150 and $200 to file the petition. Most states also require you to notify your parents or guardian. Then the court will schedule a hearing.

In order to get emancipated, a judge wants to see that you have been living away from your parents or guardians for some time, that you are making your own source of income legally and you make all the decisions about how that money is spent, and that emancipation would be in the person’s best interests and a judge must be convinced of this fact. A judge is also more likely to approve you if you are in school or a GED program. Know that if your parents object the judge can still grant your petition but only if the judge feels it’s in your best interests.

Okay! Without further ado, let’s get into the best advice for how to run away from home and survive and not get caught.


Things to do prior to running away | How to run away from home and survive

Get a fake ID | How to run away from home and survive

You need a fake driver’s license and state ID that says you are above 18 and that does not have your real name on it.  If your ID says you’re 17 and if a cop stops you they might ask where your parents are and even if you hadn’t done anything majorly wrong they might call your parents. If you’re from Chicago and in Cincinnati and are underage, he might think you are a runaway and take you into custody. This is one reason why your fake ID should not have your real name on it. Another reason why your fake ID should not have your real name on it is because if you ran away there will be a missing persons report. If your ID is the same as the missing persons report when they go and run your name it might show up.

Now you are probably wondering where to get a fake ID. You are probably in high school, and there are people in high schools who deal drugs. You can ask these drug dealers if they know of someone who makes fake IDs. There are also a variety of websites online that make fake IDs, but websites say makes the best fake IDs.

how to run away from home

Get a new phone and laptop | How to run away from home and survive

Do not bring your cellphone with you that is paid for by your parents. This can be used to locate you after you’ve run away. Get a whole new phone that your parents don’t know about. Even if you blank out the thing in your sim card the phone company has what’s called metadata for each phone call and they will know approximately where you’re at, but if you got a new phone and its not in your name the phone company will know the location of that phone approximately but it doesn’t know who’s using it. You could get a phone off Craigslist for cash. Do know that you can also be tracked via your laptop, but that’s not as common.

Secure a way to make money | How to run away from home and survive

It’s going to be hard to get an actual job because even if you try to get a low-level job, they might want information from you to identify and pay you like your name or SSN. To solve this problem, you can just cold call people and find an internship. It is pretty easy for high schoolers to land an internship. I am a high school senior who has been able to land two internships (one in website development and the other in digital marketing) by cold-calling companies using my Google Maps method. You can read about how to do this in my guide on how to find an internship in high school. You can also read my guide on how to make money in high school. Typically the people who offer internships to high schoolers will be freelancers. I haven’t had my bosses ask for any form of identification, and they pay me, so this is a safer method. You should cold-call people and land a paying internship (in the area/state that you plan on leaving to) prior to leaving so that you know you will have a source of money there.

Getting a Debit card | How to run away from home and survive

There are debit cards that you can put cash onto. They are in convenience stores.  For example, you give the guy 100 bucks and you now have a card that has $100 on it. Know that you might have to give the guy a service fee so it might be a little under $100. There is also a card called a green dot card which you can just keep putting money on to it like a bank account.


How to get out of the state you’re in if you are trying to run away from home and survive

Craigslist rideshare is your best bet. There are people offering rides and usually, they want some gas money and/or some help driving. There might be someone saying they will drive you to the east coast and if you could drive part of the way that would be great too. Of course, the risk is that the person is unsavory. These people might not even check your ID. Sometimes they might be moving cross country or they just want a free ride themselves and they are like hey you can use my car. The advantage of this over transportation systems like airplane or Amtrack are that you need certain identification to ride Amtrack.


There’s no pressurization in that compartment so when the plane gets to 30,000 feet the temperature even in the summer is like 10 degrees below 0 so the people who survive have very heavy clothing and an oxygen supply.

How to stay inconspicuous and lowkey while trying to run away from home

Use COVID-19 to your advantage and wear a mask so that people can’t see your face.


Try not to do anything illegal like stealing because this will get you caught by the police, and you’re trying to remain lowkey and not get turned in.

Have answers to questions people will ask you 

People will likely ask you questions if they see you outside when school is not in session or brushing your teeth in a public bathroom. Have answers to these questions and any potential follow-up questions they will ask you ahead of time.

Figure out your mode of transportation in your new location

Now that you are making money from your internship, you need a way to get around the area you’re in. You can pay for taxis in cash. You can also purchase a bicycle and a bike lock.

If you need to charge your laptop or phone, an airport would work. They have chargers and bathrooms, but don’t spend too much time at an airport or you’ll get kicked out or worse arrested.


How to get a place to live if you are running away from home

Answer a Craigslist ad in the apts/housing section of Craiglist and tell them you’re interested in renting a room. You can probably find people who will just talk to you on the phone, and you give them a deposit in cash in person and they let you in. Renting a room will be the easiest to get into. Sometimes it’s a guy who is renting an apartment and he can’t quite pay the rent, so they are more lenient. It’s a lot easier to rent a room than renting a full apartment because if you are renting a full apartment you are going to you’re to be signing a lease and you’re usually going to be renting from someone or some company that owns many apartments. For example, a company called Draper owns like 50 apartment buildings so they will say you need an ID, they will check for criminal record, credit ranking, ask for references, etc. That situation would be difficult for a runaway teen to get into whereas renting a room would be better. If it’s a super large apartment building it might be easier to get away with renting a room and keeping a lower profile as opposed to rending in a room in an apartment that is only a couple flats. This is because the person who owns a couple flat apartment will know and see everybody regularly in that apartment (since that apartment is so small) and you are trying to keep a low profile. However, there are people who do own a lot of three four five two flats who aren’t there a lot of time. Know that people are most trustworthy in rural areas. When you’re in a rural area you tend to encounter fewer unknown people so people tend to be more trustworthy.

A note on hotels and motels

What hotels and motels ask for are usually just a driver’s license and a credit card. You can use a fake driver’s license because they usually just look at your driver’s license, look at you, and just scan your credit card. They don’t do a background check. For a runaway teen, it would be better to order your hotel or motel online. If you set out without doing something online you can end up scrambling to find a place to stay the night. But even if you order online, you still have to show them your driver’s license but you might not have to show them your credit card if you already paid online.

Where not to go for housing 

If you are trying to run away from home on’t try to go to homeless shelters because homeless shelters tend to require a state ID. There are safe houses for runways but you might get turned in if you go there. Airbnb is expensive and guests have to upload an ID and Airbnb will verify your ID in their system, so it’s just not a good idea to try using Airbnb.


Bring with you a backpack that has your essentials and other things you want to bring with you. Some examples are your phone, laptop, chargers, medicine/bandages, coat, money, non perishable food, clothing, flashlight, matches/lighters, knife, toothbrush and toothpaste, and toilet paper.

About me
sarah lim
I'm Sarah Lim
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Web Developer

Social Media + SEO