How to Run Away From Home? (+Tips and Other Things to Consider)

In this brief guide, we will look at how to run away from home, and alternatives to running away from home that may be less dangerous to you.

How to Run Away From Home?

To run away from home you need to keep these things in mind:

  • Think about it for a few months at least
  • Think of all the reasons why you want to do it
  • Save money for at least the next 6 months
  • Figure out what you will do
  • Acquire some work skills that will help you
  • Compile resources
  • Talk to someone you trust the most
  • Get a cell phone that is not easily traceable
  • Try to find a partner to go with
  • Figure out where you are going beforehand

If you are seriously considering running away from home do not do it without the appropriate resources because otherwise you are just looking for trouble, and you will certainly find it.

Also, if you are looking to run away from home because you want your parents to suffer because they yelled at you or because you are sick of them being strict or asking you to do your homework, think again, that is not a good enough reason to run away.

If you want to run away from home because you are facing abuse of any kind, consider calling helplines for abuse instead, so that the government can legally help you out instead of you having to fend for yourself on the streets.

If you don’t trust the governmental systems that are meant to help children suffering from abuse, there are also Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are meant to help children and teenagers who are facing abuse, you can try those.

If you simply don’t have faith in any agencies and still want to run away, do not do it on an impulse or in a rushed way; you need to save enough resources and plan enough for the future so that you don’t become homeless or find yourself in a worse situation than the one at home.

When you are thinking of running away from home, you need to consider the fact that you are giving u everything from dependable healthcare to regular meals, and that you will likely have to figure something out about these and other things without having the skills or education to actually work enough for them.

Also, before you run away from home, you also need to face the hard fact that you are looking at a difficult and poverty-stricken lifestyle, and you need to prepare yourself in every way you can before actually pulling the trigger.

Also, if you are a minor and you run away from home, you are essentially choosing to live as a fugitive, especially if you are under the age of 17. 

You also need to be absolutely certain of your decision to run away from home, and running away should always be a last resort after you’ve exhausted every other option.

There are also some other options to consider apart from just packing up and leaving your house, like calling the National Runaway Safeline or joining the Job Corps, or even becoming an emancipated minor; these will all depend on your situation and what you are most conveniently able to do.

All these options, along with the details of how to prepare if you decide to run away, are discussed in the next sections.

If you are facing abuse at home and you absolutely cannot wait to compile the necessary resources and save the necessary amount of money, you can call the following helplines to help you out in the meantime so that you can leave the situation as quickly as possible.

Non-Profit NGO: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) 

Government helpline: 911

National Runaway Safeline

The National Runaway Safeline was established with the explicit purpose of helping teenagers and young people run away safely from their home if their home situation is very bad, and they provide many resources the young person may not be able to get on their own.

Metro-Help, the predecessor of National Runaway Safeline, was established in 1971 because there was a need for comprehensive crisis intervention for young people in Chicago and the relevant authorities thought of a centralized organization with free 24-hour services for these at risk individuals.

The idea was to be able to provide guidance based on expertise for all youth-related issues and to have a place that could provide an information clearinghouse of youth services. 

In 1974, this agency received an eight-month federal demonstration grant to establish a national hotline and within this period itself, 11,000 calls were received demonstrating the need for this type of service. 

The service that now exists started as a National Runaway Switchboard, and it also provides a wide range of services now, some of which are:

Message Service: NRS helps the young people who want to relay a message but are not ready to communicate directly with their parents. NRS’ message service provides a less intimidating means for youth to reestablish contact with their parents/guardians and this may often be the first step toward reunification, if this is desired. Parents can also use this service to relay a message to their children.

Home Free Program: this program is run in partnership with Greyhound Lines, Inc., and it is used to reunite youth with their families, or get to an alternate living arrangement through a free bus ticket. This service has been used more than 17,000 times since 1995. To initiate this process one may just call the hotline at 1-800-786-2929.

Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum: This service is a 14 module, interactive prevention curriculum that is available in English and Spanish and it consists of evidence-based tools to build life skills and increase knowledge about available resources. It also serves to educate about alternatives to running away. Lastly, it has also been shown to empower youth to access and seek help from trusted community members.

NRS also provides valuable Prevention and Educational Materials to youth and schools.

NRS also teaches and provides training on a myriad of topics like sex trafficking or other perils of running away from home.

Probably the most important thing that the NRS is able to provide for young people is Information & Referrals, and through the database this service has built over the years, they have approximately 6,500 resources which can provide counseling, shelter, alcohol/drug treatment and child protective services


Many children and teenagers who want to run away from home may have ideas of emancipation but may not know exactly what it entails, so here are the situations in which one can get emancipated:

 The person is at least fourteen years old (may differ depending on the state)

The person doesn’t live with their parents or guardian, and they are either okay with this or are not actively trying to get the person back. The law says that one must “willingly live separate and apart from your parents or guardian with their consent or acquiescence.” 

The person is managing their own finances. One must earn their own income and make all the decisions about how that money is spent and proof of this must be shown to the court.

The source of income must be legal. 

Emancipation would be in the person’s best interests and the judge must be convinced of the fact.

A judge is also more likely to grant the request for emancipation if the person is in school or in a GED program because even for emancipated minors it is necessary to stay in school or graduate.

So if you are running away from home in the hopes of becoming an emancipated minor and you think that it is an easy process of just showing that you need to get away from your family is reason and proof enough, you may need to think and read further.

How to prepare to run away from home?

To prepare to run away from home, you should do at least the following things.


The main issue when you decide to run away is money, so you need to save up well before you leave, and also think about how you will continue to earn after you run away. If you plan on working legally, it can reveal where you are to authorities and you can be returned home which means that you may need to find under the table work, which has its own pitfalls.

Sometimes you may also find yourself in situations where the authorities might stop you and ask for ID, especially if you look really young, so make sure you have all your options spelled out in your head beforehand.

Police or Authorities

While running away is not outright illegal in most states and countries, and you won’t be arrested or tried if you tried to escape if the police found you, you could still be labeled a troubled juvenile and made a ward of the state and put into foster care, which may be what you were trying to avoid in the first place.

Instead of finding yourself in a situation like that without having prepared for it, make sure you do and try to stay away from situations that may lead to this.


You will also need to figure out how you will get around, and though in most cases Public transit is cheap and easy to travel on without running into issue, you will still need to be careful.

Staying Lowkey 

If you are a teenager it may be easier for you to hide your status as a minor, so try to do that, go about your business in as quiet a manner and possible and don’t attract attention.

This will also help you stay on track to fulfill your responsibilities in your new, unsheltered life without distractions.


If you are running away from home in the United States you can apply for an EBT card with full benefits, indefinitely and this will provide you with a steady supply of food stamps to live off.

Living and Staying Healthy 

You need to also figure out what you are going to do to live healthy and maintain your physical and mental health, especially if you are suffering from illnesses already.

This is something for which you could contact the National Runaway Safeline mentioned previously.

Tip: Check out forums on the internet for more resources or services, or even partners. Places like Reddit are a good place to start.


In this brief guide, we looked at how to run away from home, and alternatives to running away from home that may be less dangerous to you.

There are some cases where running away from home is somehow the only option someone has to ensure their safety and well-being and in these cases it may not be the worst idea to do so, but even in these cases you need to plan for days and take the time to think it through.

When someone runs away from home because they have had a fight with their parents or because they want to teach them a lesson for being strict and so on, they may be doing it far too impulsively and it may cause too many problems to the person.

If you have any questions like How to run away from home or if you are feeling like you need to run away from home, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to Run Away from Home?

Is it OK to run away from home?

No, it is not OK to run away from home, especially if you are doing it out of emotion or anger and not because your living circumstances are genuinely bad and there is a threat to your safety and well-being, like in case of abuse.

It is OK to run away from home if you have exhausted all other options and you know that running away from home is your only chance, and also when you have thought about the decision and have everything you need to be safe and healthy.

Can a 10 year old run away from home?

Yes, a 10 year old can run away from home but they likely won’t be able to find a way to sustain themselves short of getting involved in illegal things, and they will likely not be able to work either because of child labor laws.

The National Runaway Switchboard is an organization that takes calls and helps kids who have run away or are thinking of running away, and they say that about1 in 7 kids between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away at some point.

This proves that a 10 year old can run away, but the chances of them being caught and brought back are higher than someone slightly older, and they may definitely have difficulty finding work.

What do you need to run away?

Here are the things you need to pack to run away:

Long Johns. 
Long Sleeve Shirt.
Light Jeans / Cargo Pants.
Bathing suit. 

Can a child go to jail for running away?

No, a child cannot go to jail for running away, but in most states there may be some legal consequences for runaways and their parents or guardians, for instance, adults who encourage or hide runaways can be charged with a crime. 

An example of this may be that the child who is skipping school may cause their parents to face jail time for the child’s truancy.


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