Perhaps it’s because I tend to think I’m capable of taking care of myself. I know I’m not invincible, of course, but I generally feel safe and am aware of my surroundings. I try not to walk alone at night, but that didn’t stop me from doing so around my university’s campus as an undergraduate student. I would never let my female friends walk alone, but for some reason I felt comfortable doing so.
Sometimes on the road I have had no choice but to walk alone after dark. I am sure many of you have found yourself in similar situations! And even in the brightest daylight, we are not guaranteed personal safety, whether we are at home or traveling around the world.
Before I left for Australia, I promised my mom I would carry a personal security alarm. It gave her (and maybe me too) a little peace of mind to know that I had added security as solo female traveler. Whether you’re walking or traveling at night, going on a jog, or venturing through an out-of-the-way spot like a parking garage, adding one or two small items to your packing list may help you feel more secure on the road.
Personal security alarms
My mom bought me a keychain-size personal security alarm. A variety of companies manufacture them, and all are approximately the same size (i.e., about half the size of your palm or smaller).
How it works: A 120-130 dB alarm is activated by removing a metal pin from the device. It sounds until the pin is reinserted. These alarms are designed to draw attention to you and encourage would be thieves or attackers to flee.
Pros: They can fit in your hand, are lightweight, and are easy to keep tucked away. Unlike some personal defense items, these cannot be used against you.
My concern: I was always afraid that I would accidentally set it off and draw attention to myself in the middle of a crowded place. I never did.
Features: Some come with a built-in mini flashlight. Why not choose one that does?
Personal security alarms are even available in designs with a more feminine touch:
Security products for your door
How it works: If someone tries to open the door, the door will put pressure on a plate on the door stop, which activates the alarm.
Pros: This alarm alerts you and may ward off intruders BEFORE they enter.
Cons: If you are staying in a shared room, flat, or home, this product is not for you. You want to keep potential intruders out, not your friends and roommates.
If you plan to have solo accommodation or think you on occasion, packing the “add-a-lock” portable door lock adds another layer of security by acting as an additional lock. It is smaller than the door stop alarm and makes no sound.
Additional safety tips that you don’t need to pack:
- Register with your home country’s embassy in your destination country for timely safety updates and to make your general whereabouts known.
- Know the emergency phone number of the countries you are traveling in and program them into your phone if you are carrying one. My Aussie friends make sure I remembered 000 instead of 911.
- Consider taking a self-defense class before you leave on your travels.
Have you ever packed a personal safety alarm? What steps do you take to protect your personal safety on the road?