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3 Best Self Defense Tips for Solo Travelers

HerAdventures|BestSelfDefenseTipsforSoloTravelers

Let’s talk about the best self defense when solo traveling. You wouldn’t try to climb a mountain or swim the ocean without the right gear. And so you probably shouldn’t hit the road (or your neighborhood grocery store) without safety tips and knowing how to deal with the occasional potentially dangerous creep. Yes, assault is still a part of the world at large and no, sticking your keys between your fingers isn’t going to cut it. But here’s the good news: protecting yourself isn’t nearly as scary or as difficult as you might think it is. In a perfect world, you’ve armed yourself with some self defense classes (ok, in a perfect perfect world you don’t even need self defense classes). But in case you haven’t, IMPACTChicago has stepped up to give you some tips on staying safe where ever you are. Believe it or not, these are the best self defense tips for solo female travelers are EFFECTIVE and can help save your life.

Ok…ready to kick some ass?

Her Adventures | Best self defense

Best Self Defense Tips For Female Travelers

THE Best self defense BASICS

1. Use hard parts of your body (e.g. heel of palm, knee, bottom of foot) to strike soft or vulnerable parts of an attacker’s body (e.g. nose, groin).
2. For maximum power, yell when you strike a potentially vulnerable target.

We’re going to cover three scenarios that might be hard to think about, but part of personal safety is being prepared. Knowing these best self defense tips for solo female travelers will help you push past your fear if you should ever need to and add greatly to your traveling safety. Here are our best safety tips:

Scenario 1

Someone grabs your hand or arm in a threatening way without your permission (scary!)

Techniques: Voice and Palm heel
1) Look directly at the person and say, “Let me go.”

Her Adventures | Best self defense

2) Repeat your command. Bring your free hand up to protect your face.

Her Adventures | Best self defense

3) If the person does not release you after repeated commands to let go, then with a loud NO, use the heel of your palm to strike under the nose.

Her Adventures | Best self defense

If the grabber lets go, immediately get away or, if unable to get away, repeat the technique or use another.

Scenario 2

Someone restrains both arms in a threatening way without your permission. and your personal safety is in danger (yikes!)

Technique: Voice and Knee to groin
Look directly at the person and say, “Let me go!”

Her Adventures | Best self defense

2) Step on leg back and bend your front knee

Her Adventures | Best self defense

3) 4) If the person escalates the attack by trying to strike you, kick him or her in the groin as hard as you can while continuing to shout no.

Her Adventures | Best self defense

If the grabber lets go, immediately get away or, if unable to get away, repeat the technique or use another.

Scenario 3

Someone potentially dangerous threatens to strike you. (Eeeeek!)

Technique: Sidekick
1) Look directly at the person, bring your hands up to protect your face, and say, “go away.”

Her Adventures | Best self defense

2) Repeat your command as you evade his strike by lowering yourself to the ground.

Her Adventures | Best self defense

3) Bring your leg up for additional protection for your face, continuing to command the person to “go away.”

Her Adventures | Best self defense

4) If the person escalates the attack by trying to strike you, kick him (or her) in the groin as hard as you can while shouting “no”

Her Adventures | Best self defense

Get up off the ground and get away quickly from a potentially dangerous person or continue to kick and yell NO until you can get away and protect your personal safety.

Technique Detail: Sidekick

1) Bring your knee up toward your face to create a barrier between an attacker and your face.

Her Adventures | Best self defense

2) Extend your leg as you kick.

Her Adventures | Best self defense

Thanks to the IMPACT Chicago volunteers who posed for these awesome pictures! We love you!

Want more of the best self defense tips for solo female travelers?

If you would like to learn more of the best self defense tips for solo female travelers, visit the international IMPACT website to see if you can find a chapter near you. Another great self-defense technique you could learn is Krav Maga. It’s a military self-defense system, and a combination of techniques used in aikido, boxing, judo, karate, and wrestling. It’s very effective, and focused on real-world situations. If that sounds interesting to you, find a place that teaches Krav Maga near you!

Other safety tips that’ll come in handy when solo traveling

3 Best Self Defense Tips for Solo Travelers

The safety tips above will be of great help for you in case you are being attacked. We’ve collected additional tips that will be valuable for your traveling safety.

Hotel room

One thing that’s very important to pay close attention to when solo traveling is the hotel room or home stay you are planning to book. Research is key. Your best friend will be reviews from other travelers. If there is any mention at all of someone having personal safety concerns, stay away from it. Never book a room on the ground floor, it’s too easy for potentially dangerous people to break into. During your stay, leave all your important documents and valuables you don’t need on a day-to-day basis in the hotel safe. Always make sure the door is closed all the way, no matter if you are in the room or about to leave for the day.

Be aware of your surroundings

Being aware of your surroundings is not just one of the most important safety tips, but also key for traveling safety and personal safety alike. If you are walking around staring at your phone, you are an easy target for pickpockets. The same is true for wearing headphones. Your attention while walking around in a new location, or even at home, should always be on what’s going on around you. If you don’t pay attention, you may not notice things that are out of the ordinary, for example someone acting shady, or you might just wander into a less than desirable neighborhood.

Try not to attract attention

This is especially true in very touristy destinations. There may be pickpockets and other scammers around, and you do not want to attract attention by looking like a lost tourist. Not wearing any fancy jewelry is one of the best safety tips when traveling solo. It’s not worth taking the risk of losing grandma’s heirloom on vacation, it’ll ruin the whole trip! Appear self-confident, even if you are not. Walk with your head held high. Always give the impression that you know where you are going and what you are doing. If you need to look at your phone or a map for directions, step into a store, or generally away from the street, to do so.

Carry Pepper Spray

Pepper spray can be a great first self-defense if a potentially dangerous person approaches. If you want to use pepper spray for traveling safety, make sure it’s legal at your destination. Note that you are not allowed to carry pepper spray in your carry on on a plane, but it’s allowed in your checked luggage.

Buy travel insurance

Last but not least, we recommend you buy travel insurance. You may think you are healthy and aren’t worried about it, but it is usually a rather small expense that can save you thousands or even tens of thousands should something happen to you in a foreign country!

Want more tips? Check out our travel safety toolkit with tips on everything from hotel room safety to document safety!

Arden Joy

Founder of Her Adventures. Penchant for travel, yoga, writing, marketing, high heels and words like penchant.

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