There has been a lot of talk about the safety of solo female travelers. People are saying women shouldn’t travel alone because it’s too risky.
The fact of the matter is bad things can happen anywhere and to anybody, male or female. Of course there are areas that are worse than others, and you should try to avoid them, but people have been attacked in even the best of neighborhoods.
Now I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom. 99% of the time you are going to have an amazing trip and make lasting friendships with folks from all over the world. But there is that slim chance something might happen and you find yourself in a bad situation. Wouldn’t you feel better if you knew how to get away?
I’ve been in a few incidents while traveling in the past and didn’t know what to do except run, but what would I have done if they had caught me or surprised me?
This time I decided to take more precautions and learn some basic self defense. Knowing the contents of your pack and what you can use to fend off an assailant, could save your life.
We carry a lot of good self defense weapons in our everyday travel gear, so I’ve put together a list of 10 common items every traveler carries that can be used when fighting off an attack.
Every traveler has experienced the dreaded build up of loose coins.
But that change could be a key factor in getting away from an attacker. The main objective of fighting off an attack is to get away.
If you can distract your assailant and run away without having to put up a fight….Do it!
Throwing coins at a person’s face is a great distraction, and depending on how hard you throw them, they could even been used as a weapon. The eyes are a very sensitive area and our soft eyelids aren’t much defense against hard metal coins.
Now that the attacker is distracted and hopefully a little hurt, you can run for help.
2. Pencils and Pens
I personally love writing in a journal when I travel which means I will always have a pen or pencil on me. While a pen is a little sturdier, both will work great as a weapon.
You want to have a good grip on the pen/pencil so it won’t shift around in your hand when you strike (See photos above). The flat part of the pencil is braced against my hand. That keeps it from slipping.
Go for sensitive areas like the eyes or throat. Getting hit in either one of those areas is going to do a lot of damage giving you the chance to get away.
For years, I heard you should carry your keys in-between your index and middle finger to strike an attacker with, but that’s all wrong. You don’t have enough grip on the key to keep it from shifting around in your hand, and it could potentially hurt you more than your assailant.
Like a pencil or pen, you have to have a strong grip on your keys to properly use them as a defense weapon (See photo above). Hold the key against you index finger with your thumb to keep it from moving around.
Now you can use your keys to strike or scratch your attacker. Again go for the sensitive areas. Scrape at their face. Do what you have to do to get away.
4. Cell Phone
Almost all of us carry some kind of smart phone or other handheld device.
Your cell phone can be a great weapon if a person is getting a little too aggressive.
You want the phone to be sturdy in the palm of your hand. Brace the corner of the phone against your palm to keep it from moving (See photo above).
If a person comes at you, give them a nice jab to the throat or face. That hard chunk of plastic will not feel good when slamming into their esophagus or adams apple.
If you can get used to holding your phone like this, then you will always have a defense weapon right in the palm of your hand.
Your pack can be the perfect shield against an attack.
I know a lot of us have our packs buckled and strapped to our bodies when we are carrying them, but learning quick releases can save your life.
Then you can swing the bag in front of you shielding your body from an attack.
You can hit your attacker with it as well. Get them off balance and on the ground then run away.
6. Water Bottle
I always have my reusable water bottle on me. I can’t stand being dehydrated and it’s so easy to carry.
Now I have even more reason to carry it since I found out how to use it as a weapon.
That 24 oz container of stainless steel can make a mean blunt object when being swung at an assailant.
The contents of it can be used as a good distraction too. If you have time to get the lid off, throw the water in your attacker’s face. Again this will give you a head start to get away.
If your parents were old school, you know what it feels like to be spanked with a belt…..not good!
I’m not saying to spank an attacker, but swinging the belt and hitting them with the buckle is going to leave a mark.
Most attackers DO NOT expect their victims to put up a fight. So keep on swinging that belt, and don’t give them what they want so easily!
If your towel is packed away, then this one won’t really work. Sometimes I have my towel strapped to the top of my pack to keep it from getting mildewy.
It would be easy to grab and throw at an attacker’s face to create a distraction.
A towel can also be used to tie up a person’s hands if you have too detain them until police arrive.
I have a few carabiners clipped to my pack holding various supplies, and I’ve seen many other travelers using them as well.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to physically fight off an assailant, a carabiner is a nice weapon to have.
Slide the carabiner over your hand and grip it with a fist. It should fit snuggly around you fingers (See photo above).
Now you have make shift brass knuckles.
10. Your Brain
This is the most important weapon we have.
Know your surroundings. Know what you have on your person that could work as a weapon. Know where there are safe places to run to.
The next time you are packing up for the next adventure, think about the contents of your pack. What can be used to defend yourself and where is it located. I hope you never have to use it, but it’s better to be prepared now than when it’s too late.
Do you know other items that can be used as self defense weapons? Let us know what it is and how to use it in the comments section below.