Travel Safety Tips for Women From a Self Defense Expert

by | Mar 20, 2021

A woman holding up her fists, learning self-defense tips to stay safe.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Last updated on March 1st, 2024

Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

Solo Travel Safety: Self-Defense for Women

by Carolyn Ray

JourneyWoman has provided women with solo travel safety tips for almost 28 years.  As part of our TravelReady series, I’ve invited Lorna Selig, who has been teaching self-defense for nearly 17 years, to share her expert safety tips with us.  Her passion for emotional safety and wellness in children and teens is realized in her Self Defense and Personal Safety Training Company, Safe4Life. Her focus is on those who may find themselves inadvertently at risk and are the most vulnerable – women and children –  with personal safety to reduce the incidence and statistics of assault and victimization.

Being safe starts with trusting your intuition and understanding your environment. But it’s also helpful to have some physical techniques you can use if you’re taken by surprise. In this session, Lorna will demonstrate some expert moves to protect yourself and get out of a situation where you’ve been attacked.  

Some of Lorna’s top tips include: 

1. Learn basic self-defense – establish your boundaries, stay aware, and be prepared. Don’t jump in to help someone who appears to be in distress. Let local authorities manage the emergency.

2. Plan to arrive during the day. It’s best to get oriented to your accommodation and neighborhood in daylight. If your accommodations are not suitable, it is easier to make other arrangements during daylight hours.

woman blue jacket

3. Trust your instinct and respond in ways that keep you safe

4. Ensure your clothing matches the environment

5.  Tune into body language cues – both yours and people around you. Walk confidently and with purpose, make brief eye contact, put your phone and your map away

We’ll share more in this virtual session!

Due to overwhelming demand, we offered TWO sessions with Lorna, on April 7 and 15.

All of our events are free, but we use a Pay-What-You-Can Model to help us cover costs and donate proceeds to an organization of the speaker’s choice to show our appreciation for her time. All proceeds go to Gems for Gems, a non-profit organization that helps women who have survived domestic abuse. Thank you for your generosity.

All of our events, and our editorial, is free. However, we do use a Pay-What-You-Can Model for virtual events where we donate proceeds to a non-profit chosen by our speaker. To show our gratitude for her participation, Lorna has asked that we donate proceeds to Gems for Gems, an organization near and dear to her heart. This is an organization the offers support and scholarships to women leaving abusive relationships.

Lorna says: “The cycle of abuse can only end by igniting the desire to initiate actions which create lasting change. We facilitate this change by executing monthly motivational events, in collaboration with community leaders, privately within the shelters, and exclusively for women who have survived domestic abuse. This, in addition to our Gems for Gems National Scholarship Program, will use motivation and education to change the lives of all women and children touched by this initiative. The potential is as limitless as the need itself. Gems for Gems is focused on satisfying that need one woman at a time.” 

Watch the video of the April 15 session below.

Get Prepared with our Solo Safety Resources for Women

These are just a sampling of the safety resources you’ll find on

Young woman walking through an airport pulling a carry-on bag

Expert Tips on Solo Safety

7 Safety Tips from the Original JourneyWoman, Evelyn Hannon

Woman going to hotel room

12 Practical Tips for Hotel Safety

Whether as business or leisure travellers, we, women, must choose our accommodation wisely and arm ourselves with ‘know-how’ that will improve our safety during hotel stays.

Man trying to pickpocket woman

Down with PIckpockets

Pickpockets choose you because you are the perfect victim. It’s up to you to outsmart them with tips

Flat lay, woman packing suitcase with face masks

Pack Right, Pack Light

The hassle of arriving somewhere without your personal clothing as well as the hassle of getting the insurance to pay for your loss just isn’t worth checking bags.

flat lay of woman packing

What to Wear When?

We believe that the way a woman dresses as she moves around the world is very important. Simply click on the first letter of the country you want to viist and you’re on your way to terrific “what-to-wear” tips.

woman black dress

Not All Travel Has a Happy Ending

Whether you are a female travelling within your own country or venturing abroad it makes sense that you keep these safety tips and tricks in mind.

As the CEO and Editor of JourneyWoman, Carolyn is a passionate advocate for women's travel and living the life of your dreams. She leads JourneyWoman's team of writers and chairs the JourneyWoman Women's Advisory Council and Women's Speaker's Bureau. She has been featured in the New York Times, Toronto Star and Zoomer as a solo travel expert, and speaks at women's travel conferences around the world. In March 2023, she was named one of the most influential women in travel by TravelPulse and was the recipient of a SATW travel writing award in September 2023. She is the chair of the Canadian chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member Women's Travel Leaders and a Herald for the Transformational Travel Council (TTC). Sometimes she sleeps. A bit.


  1. Eileen

    I was looking at your site and it looks very interesting However I’m a senior over 75 and able to travel but all your women look young Is this the wrong site for me?

      • elayne

        Funny. What are “suitable photos”? Women not looking their age?

        • JourneyWoman

          Suitable means photos that portray women as adventurous and courageous. We also try not to publish photos of women in dangerous positions, like standing on cliffs which so many travel photos tend to do. We prefer real photos of real women reflective of our readers. It is surprisingly hard to find photos that we consider appropriate. I hope that answers your question!

  2. Vanessa

    Travel Safety Tip – Be aware the Google (and other mapping apps) will show you the most direction route but those directions might not be the safest option, particularly at night. On one of my journeys, the route shown was going to take me down an empty side street (shuttered stores, limited lighting and the back entrances of a large government building) because it was marginally shorter than walking to my destination down the busy and well-lit thoroughfare one block over. If possible, I now try to check an area I’m visiting on Street View to get a sense of how well-travelled an area might be in the evening hours.

    • Elizabeth

      Good idea!

  3. aeda

    Gréât site and full of useful ideas. There must be some way of creating a “safe pedestrian map” on waze or using local crimes statistics. like when you look up an address un the US and can see the crime events around the address? It’s still so dangerous to be a woman walking alone after dark in many places.


We always strive to use real photos from our own adventures, provided by the guest writer or from our personal travels. However, in some cases, due to photo quality, we must use stock photography. If you have any questions about the photography please let us know.

Disclaimer: We are so happy that you are checking out this page right now! We only recommend things that are suggested by our community, or through our own experience, that we believe will be helpful and practical for you. Some of our pages contain links, which means we’re part of an affiliate program for the product being mentioned. Should you decide to purchase a product using a link from on our site, JourneyWoman may earn a small commission from the retailer, which helps us maintain our beautiful website. JourneyWoman is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

We want to hear what you think about this article, and we welcome any updates or changes to improve it. You can comment below, or send an email to us at [email protected].

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *