Take control of your Personal Safety while traveling: Part 3 Tool of the trade.

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I’ve been solo traveling for the better part of 20 years. One thing that you can never be too prepared for is your safety. Let’s be real here. When you’re traveling you’re moving away from your comfort zone. Even if you’re going somewhere you’ve been before. You’re going from an environment you are in full control over to one with twists and turns you could not have expected.

Now I don’t say this to alarm you. I say it to help you better understand. When you leave your home, you become your own first responder. You should prepare yourself so that when you go on your trip, you’re not a target but a person who makes the safety of their family and themselves a top priority. This week we’re going to talk about the tools you can take with you to help protect you against a wide variety of incidents. So let’s dive in.

(Make sure to check with the state or country you’re visiting for their rules on what tools you can bring.)

Personal protection tools

These come in a variety of options and cover a large range from non-lethal to lethal. The first thing you should do is have an honest discussion with yourself about what you’re comfortable with and what makes the most sense for you to take with you. I travel a lot so I understand that what makes me the most comfortable I’m not able to bring with me all the time. So you’ll have to work out what’s best for you. Know that wherever you are, wherever you go, you are your own first responder. Unless you’re in trouble right in front of a police station it’s going to take a while for someone to come to your rescue. So do yourself a favor and learn how to rescue yourself.

There are so many different tools you can use to help better protect yourself. When choosing your defensive tools make sure that you learn how to operate them properly. You don’t want your first time using your tool to be when you’re attacked. There is a very high chance that your tool could be used against you. Here are a few items I personally own and travel with.

Aerosol defensive sprays

Pepper spray on the wooden table, 3D rendering

You may not have heard of this term before but it encompasses items like mace, pepper spray and pepper gels. These are non-lethal defensive sprays and a great option that can give you time to get away from danger. These are also great to keep on you when you’re hiking, just in case you run into a large animal.

There are some downsides to these types of tools. You must know which way the spray is directed. Also, you have to know in which direction the wind is blowing. If you dispense a pepper spray into the wind it will blow back in your face and perhaps put you in a more dangerous situation. Pepper gels are a better option if you choose this route. Since the substance that “shoots” out is thicker, it isn’t deterred by wind and will stick to whatever it is shot at.

Aerosol defensive sprays are great for people to have as a daily tool and can be taken almost anywhere. Many brands make canisters small enough to fit in your pocket. If you’re flying, you are permitted to take pepper spray in your checked luggage, but not your carry-on.

Tactical Tools

These are my favorite. Not only do they tend to look like normal everyday objects but you can really take them everywhere. Some items in this category are tactical keys, pens and flashlights.

  • Tactical Keys: When I first started driving my Dad told me if ever I’m walking to my car and I don’t feel safe put my car keys between my fingers and if I have to I can use them as a defensive weapon. These tactical keys are designed to mimic that action. These objects look like a normal car key, except larger. The head of the key has a greater surface area for you to comfortably grasp, while the actual key sticks out further giving you a farther reach. I first heard about these great tools from Emily at Style me Tactical.
  • Tactical Pens: I learned about these handy items from a friend who is a former Navy Seal. Tactical Pens are designed with a very sharp tip that can break glass. A great item to keep in your car. That tip can also be used in your defense. The pen also writes. So you’ll always have a writing implement when needed.
  • Tactical Flashlights: A flashlight is always a great object to keep on you. If someone wants to attack you they’re going to wait for an opportunity. A dark alley or car park. Shining a high-powered light into someone’s eyes can temporarily disorient them and allow you time to get away from them. I always carry a Stilleto flashlight by Surefire. They’re a little more expensive but even the low setting is blinding. The Stilleto is small and has a flat profile so you can carry it in the pocket of your jeans easily.

At the hotel or Airbnb

We would like to think we’re safe in our hotel room or guest house. The reality is that those key card scanners can easily be defeated. However, there are some things you can get or items you can use in your room to protect you while you’re inside the room.

One item I have and use all the time is a portable door lock. These locks only work on inward swinging doors, so almost any hotel room. It works by providing a wedge against the door handle assembly. It will prevent anyone, even if they have a key from entering your room.

Don’t want to buy anything? That’s fine there are tons of things you can use as early alert systems if someone tries to enter your room. You can put a glass on the door handle. When it turns the glass will fall and alert you to an intruder. I like to put the ironing board up against the door because if anyone tries to enter, not only will it make a lot of noise but it will create a wedge between the door and the wall deterring the intruder. There are a ton of options available to you to use as early detectors.

Be Your Own First Responder

Whatever tools you choose, make sure that you learn how to use them properly. Take a self-defense class either online or in person. Learn First aid and CPR. Become more self-reliant. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use your new skills but you’ll know what to do if you have to. Since I started this journey of becoming more safety conscious, I’ve become more self-assured. I’m confident that any issue that comes up when I’m traveling or going about my day-to-day, I’ll be able to help myself and my loved ones until help can arrive.

What are some tools you take with you traveling? What safety measures do you use when you travel? Let me know in the comments. Until next time.


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