Last updated on February 6th, 2023
Featured image: With the right products and precautions, solo female travelers can be safer on the road | Photo by biasciolialessandro on Envato
Personal Safety Products Recommended by Solo Travelers
By Carolyn Ray, Editor, JourneyWoman
Here’s a scenario to consider: Imagine you are in a country – any country – on your own. You’re leaving dinner, you’re walking down the street and as you round the corner to head back to your accommodation, you’re jumped, you’re grabbed. You’re caught in somebody’s grip and down you go face-first onto the gravel, onto the pavement. What do you do?
According to women’s safety expert Lorna Seligu, the first thing you should do if you’re attacked is to scream, yell and shout. Anything to create chaos, and noise to attract attention. Yelling and screaming lets people know that something is going on in that environment and you need help. Just as importantly, yelling also changes the mindset of the attacker, of the perpetrator. Read Lorna’s tip and watch her self-defense training video here.
Even when you feel prepared to defend yourself, there are some safety products that give women confidence when they travel. In our most recent safety survey, we asked female solo travelers what personal safety products they would recommend, based on their own first-hand experience. Remember, a safety product is only good when it’s being used!
Top safety products for solo female travelers
If you have an external protection device, carry it with you in your hand, not in your backpack. Know how to use it, because if you don’t it doesn’t serve a purpose.
- Rubber door stopper or door alarm
- Travel flashlight or headlamp
- Collapsible walking stick
- Secret bra pouch
- Cross-body purse
- Pickpocket-safe backpack
- Clothing with hidden pockets
- Personal alarm
- Satellite phone or watch
- Waist or moneybelt
- Safety whistle
- First aid kit
- Carbon monoxide detector
1. Rubber Door Stop or Door Alarm
Many women are surprised when my very first safety recommendation is a simple rubber door stop to prevent a door from opening. You never know when a door lock might break, and not all doors have folding hinge safety locks. Find one here. Women also recommend the Lewis & Clark door alarm, available on Amazon here, but keep in mind this motion-detector only works AFTER the door is open.
2. Headlamp or Flashlight
Never leave home without a headlamp or flashlight. My preferred brand is Woods, which I take on every single trip. You never know when a natural disaster might strike (or when you might need both hands available for a midnight trip to the loo while camping, trekking or other nocturnal adventures). Find a headlamp here.
3. Collapsible Walking Stick
Not only is a walking stick helpful for mobility, women recommend them can also be sued to create more space and expand your personal boundaries. Lightweight and easy to store, walking sticks like these ones from Trekology can fold into smaller parts for convenient transportation and storage.
4. Secret Bra Pouch
There’s more than one place we women can store our valuables. Women recommend the Coversafe S25 Secret Bra Pouch, which sits comfortably on the front or side of most bras. Its unique fabric is exceptionally soft and comfortable. Learn more at pacsafe.com
5. Cross-body Purse
Many women prefer a cross-body purse to keep valuables safe. I usually keep my passport, wallet and phone in mine, rather than a backpack so that I always know where it is. Pacsafe offers a wide range of styles, all with reinforced straps and RFID-blocking materials. Find one on Pacsafe here!
6. Anti-theft Backpack
One of our most recommended brands is Pacsafe’s Citysafe CX Anti-Theft Mini Backpack, which provides a stylish, cut-resistant fabric in different colours. Learn more at pacsafe.com.
Packing Tips: 11 Surprising Things Some Women Don’t Travel Without
Members of the JourneyWomen community share the surprising items they can’t travel without, like dry-wicking undergarments to cable ties.
7. Clothing with hidden pockets
The SCOTTeVEST is an ingenious travel item that features multiple hidden pockets designed to foil pickpockets and to provide you with ample places to stash your travel items like wallet, passport, train tickets and anything else you want to keep close. Offered in a variety of formats: vests, jackets, skirts, cardigans and coats. Learn more at scottevest.com
8. Personal Alarm
Personal alarms can be helpful if you are in an emergency situation. Some are able to detect falls and can send an automated message to emergency contacts. If you choose to wear one, consider a watch rather than a pendant, as this could make you look vulnerable. Try this one from Vigilant.
9. Satellite Phone or Watch
Travelling in Alberta’s backcountry without wifi or cellular service, I promised myself to never venture into the wilderness again without a satellite phone. Try Inreach by Garmin / Spot or Zoleo. Garin’s fenix 6S watch is powered by battery that allows for GPS.
10. Security Waist Wallet or Moneybelt
Secure your passport, cash and cards in this handy waist wallet that rests comfortably beneath your clothes. The Coversafe X100 RFID Blocking Security Waist Wallet comes in black or gray and has rfid blocking technology, which means your phone is protected too.
11. Safety Whistle
If you can’t use your voice or are hiking outdoors, a whistle is a great option, like our JourneyWoman whistle! We like ones that have a lanyard, float or attach to a backpack, keeping it within reach. There are also many options available, some with lights and alternating signals, like this one from Albatross.
12. First Aid Kit
While most places have first aid kits, I like having my own and customizing it for each adventure. I’m particularly fond of having a range of bandaids as I tend to be accident prone. There are many travel-size variations available that contain the first aid essentials to help treat common travel injuries such as blisters, cuts and grazes. bandages and sterilizer, like this one from Long Run.
13. Carbon Monoxide Detector Travel Size
Carbon monoxide comes from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, charcoal or propane. It’s a colorless and odorless gas that’s virtually undetectable with the naked eye until you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Excessive carbon monoxide is more likely in gas-heated hotel rooms or vacation homes.
More Safety Advice for Women Over 50
Survey Says Women’s Solo Safety is Still an Issue, Even Without Travel
Our 2021 TravelReady Women’s Safety Survey shows that safety is still a major concern for women, at home and while travelling.
Expert Self-Defense Tips for Women Travellers Over 50
Women’s safety expert Lorna Selig shares her advice to prevent an assault on women over 50 at home and while traveling.
Travel Safety Tips for Women From a Self Defense Expert
Self-defense expert Lorna Selig shares her top travel tips for women and hosts a 60-minute self-defense training class.
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.
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