Let's face it: Women have to be more cautious than men while on the road. It hurts to admit it, but we are inherently more physically vulnerable than our male counterparts.
These ten travel safety items for women will help give you peace of mind and protect you as you explore the world.
1. Door stop alarm
Some female travelers feel vulnerable staying in a hotel room alone, especially if they get stuck in a room on the first floor.
A good idea when staying in private rooms is to buy a portable door alarm and push the bottom of it under your door from the inside.
If anyone tries to open the door while you're in the room, a loud alarm will sound.
The wedge-shaped stopper will also jam the door, preventing the intruder from opening it.
2. Personal alarm or whistle
Walking in a dark alley or street alone at night isn’t wise, but sometimes it's inevitable.
It's easy to get lost if you're on a solo trip in a new place for the first time (although we recommend you make extensive use of Google maps).
Carry a personal safety alarm that goes around your neck, in a hidden pocket or on a keychain. You could also wear a small whistle under your shirt.
In case of an emergency, this is the best way to easily and quickly make a loud noise and indicate that you need help should someone unsavory approach you or try to hurt you.
Even if you're just in an unfamiliar place and have niggling safety concerns about unwanted attention, an emergency alert device (and perhaps a back-up can of pepper spray) can be your best friend.
And remember, if you find yourself in a dangerous situation as a female solo traveler, make sure you have details of the local emergency services to hand.
3. Small flashlight
Carrying a small flashlight is also a must when walking alone at night.
Besides helping light your way, it should also make criminals less inclined to take advantage of you. There are many bright flashlights that can attach to your keychain or bag.
A few manufacturers make a personal alarm/flashlight combo.
4. Portable hotel door & drawer travel lock
A portable door lock allows you to add extra protection to your hotel room door at night.
You can also use it to lock a drawer inside the hotel room for your valuables when you’re staying somewhere without a safe.
We all like to think that our belongings are safe in our hotel rooms, but I’ve heard countless stories from friends about money, jewelry, cameras, and other belongings being taken from suitcases.
Lock it up and take the key with you while you go out.
5. Fake wedding ring
If you have a nice wedding or engagement ring, leave it at home when you travel so it doesn't risk getting lost or stolen.
But whether you're married or not, you should travel with a plain fake wedding band.
It's said that women are less likely to be harassed if it appears that they're married, as it usually implies that there is a man nearby.
It also allows you to easily make the excuse (if you know the local language) that you need to leave somewhere because your husband is waiting or around the corner.
Stop by a Target or Claire's Jewelers to get a cheap fashion ring that could look like a wedding band.
6. Bra stash (example)
A money belt can be easily spotted on women who wear form-fitting clothing.
Wear a bra stash instead, which is a small pouch that goes in the middle of your bra between the ladies.
It allows you to unassumingly carry extra money, credit cards, a hotel room key, and any other small valuables.
Other important things to stash are details of emergency contacts, such as those of a family member or close friends.
Keep a back-up SIM card stashed too so that you can make a phone call even if your cell phone is stolen.
7. Travel dictionary
It’s very important (and also just common sense) that you should have the ability to communicate with locals who can help you in an emergency.
While it’s vital to memorize key phrases such as “help me” and “leave me alone,” it’s also a smart move to keep a foreign dictionary in your travel bag for easy reference for more complex important phrases.
8. Pacsafe Backpack & Bag Protector
It’s frightening how easily someone can snatch a bag from you while on public transportation, or even for someone to pickpocket you from your backpack.
The Pacsafe bag is covered in a mesh cage that makes it impossible for someone to get into any of the bag's pockets.
It also has cables that allow you to securely lock it to a pole, perfect for if you're on a train alone and want to doze off–it prevents someone from running off with it.
9. First aid kit
This one’s a no-brainer, but every woman should have a small first-aid kit in her backpack.
Tote along some Neosporin, bandages, anti-histamine, aspirin, antiseptic, etc.
You can buy small pre-assembled kits or put together your own.
10. An anti-theft messenger bag
Purses are easy pickpocket targets; their straps are easy to cut quickly, and we often carry them in a way that someone could reach in from behind to grab something.
Backpacks are even easier to get into if someone is walking behind you—they can just unzip a pocket.
Invest in a travel messenger bag that’s front-facing and has cut-proof straps for while you’re out and about during the day.
Some travel messenger bags also have locking zippers.
If you don't have travel insurance, this precaution is even more important.
Emily Starbuck Gerson is a 20-something professional writer and editor based in Austin, Texas.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.
Wednesday 5th of September 2012
I am married, and I wear my Ring Wrapper over my rings when I travel instead of leaving them at home or wearing a fake ring. I got it online and it works great!
Tuesday 3rd of July 2012
Fake engagement ring.... FACEPALM. Ugh brilliant idea I could so have used last year and right now. Last summer volunteering in Panama I learned oh ok so women get married in their early teens here. I kept getting bombarded with questions on "how many children do you have" and "how is that man of your's?" (I'm a college student just for the record). The worst part was I had just gotten out of a bad breakup so yeah my dosent know but I had to sing how handsome and hardworking he is. Now I'm in Bolivia for the summer (low and behold a single lady again but that's so I can actually be down here without "need to get back to the States asap because of man." It's actually working out kinda nicely). Bolivian men, like many Latinos are either really sweet, charming and respectful OR total horney that in their fourties insist upon literally shouting "SEXY GRINGA!" Besides just ignoring them when in a taxi/ chatty situation where there are other people in the car so your safe but the driver still is a flirty in standard latin man way, what is the best way to convey "dude no way" ? I'm straight and single just so not interested in icky old man.
Sunday 10th of June 2012
I agree, this applies to guys too. All these lists just for women just aids the scaremongering culture of solo female travel. Sure, some of these items are great and yes, women have to be a little mire careful... But these endless lists just perpetuate a female weakness when, a lot of the time, it comes down to common sense and keeping your wits about you. And that applies to everyone!
Tuesday 20th of March 2012
These are great tips. I'm going to be traveling alone in certain places in Europe. I like the idea of a Portable hotel door. Thanks!
Monday 6th of February 2012
I remember going to Rome and hearing so much about how unsafe it was around the Rome Termini and was nervous throughout my stay. Now I have ben shown the amount of products on market and now they are even fashionable, and with doorstops, door locks for hotel and rom doors as well as various alarms I look back and wish that I had these when i travelleled as the fear factor would have been greatly reduced