Best Self Defense for Women Traveling Solo

Your first solo trip can be a little nerve-wracking, but properly preparing for any situations that may come your way can seriously calm the anxiety. Just as it’s a good idea to learn the customs of your travel destination or store your cash in a money belt, it’s also smart to learn about women’s self defense. Let’s be clear, though: that doesn’t mean you’ll need to use it. But it’ll provide extra security on your adventures.

The truth is, self defense classes aren’t just for solo travelers. As women, we sadly already take many protective measures without even thinking about it. Do you avoid dangerous situations like walking alone in the dark? Or pretend to talk on the phone while passing a group of people? Maybe you already carry pepper spray or cat ears keychains. 

If the answer is “yes,” then spoiler alert: you’re already preparing for a self defense situation! Learning martial arts or buying self defense items are important ways to further your situational awareness and personal safety.

All of these tactics and defense weapons for women are just as valuable at home as they are on vacay. Now’s the time to invest in a self defense class to help you stay aware and empowered no matter where you are. So without further ado, let’s dive into the best self defense weapons, tactics, and martial arts for women’s safety.

Best Self Defense Training Options For Women

Best Self Defense Training Options For Women

Martial arts training is one of the best self defense weapons someone can have. Knowing how to protect yourself solely using your own body is incredibly empowering – and wildly practical. It’s possible to de-escalate a dangerous situation just by using body language or catching the assailant off-guard, and knowing you can defend yourself may give you the confidence boost needed to shake up a potential attack situation.

Though researching customs to follow and areas to avoid may be the biggest safety tool for solo travelers, being able to kick some ass never hurts! Training in martial arts will also increase your awareness, reflexes, and ability to read other people. It goes far beyond being a self defense weapon! Here are some of the best martial arts to practice to stay safe when you’re out.

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a ground-fighting practice that teaches defense techniques to control an opponent into submission using leverage, holds, and pressure. Learning to take your opponent to the ground helps even the smallest person level the playing field in a fight, making BJJ training one of the best self defense tools for women. Start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes online here.
  • Tae-Kwon Do. Since Tae-Kwon Do heavily relies on kicking, many people don’t consider it the best self defense for women. Though TKD may lack range, it’s a fantastic technique to pair with other martial arts – plus, you’ll gain wild flexibility and power. Try online Tae-Kwon Do training here.
  • Muay Thai (Kickboxing). Most attacks occur at a close range, and Muay Thai prepares you to fight at any distance – especially close quarters. In this stand-up, full-body technique, you’ll learn to use kicks, punches, knees, and elbows to defend yourself. Begin virtual Muay Thai classes here.
  • Krav Maga. Developed for military use, Krav Maga is the ultimate no-holds-barred defense weapon for close range attacks: there are no rules in street fights, right? Krav Maga is all about neutralizing threats in minimum time to prep for real life or death scenarios, easily making it one of the best defense weapons for women. Start learning Krav Maga online here.

What To Consider When Buying Self-Defense Tools For Women

What To Consider When Buying Self-Defense Tools For Women

Many women may find it intimidating to choose a self defense tool to carry if they’ve never done it before. But the good news is that we’ve already compiled everything you should consider when buying and using a defense weapon. So keep these in mind to maintain your personal safety and use your weapon most effectively.

  • Legal restrictions or requirements. You don’t want to get in legal trouble while trying to avoid street trouble, so always check local laws to ensure you’re allowed to carry your self defense weapon of choice. Also, make sure you have any necessary permits, know which situations constitute using a lethal weapon, if it can cause deadly force, and if your defense products are TSA-approved for traveling.
  • Ease of use. There’s not much time to think in a threatening scenario, and you could lose precious seconds while fumbling around for your weapon. Look for easily carried, intuitive, assisted opening features when choosing a protective item.
  • Portability and concealability. The element of surprise is a big reason why self defense weapons are helpful – it catches the attacker off guard. Discreet, lightweight self defense tools like pocket pepper spray, a self defense ring, or keychain stun guns are often disguised as everyday objects making them easy to conceal.
  • Risk of self-harm. Of course, you’re thinking about how much harm your weapon inflicts to ward off danger, but don’t forget about your safety too. Are you likely to cut yourself with a pocket knife blade or misuse pepper sprays? Consider other self defense weapons instead.
  • Efficacy. It seems like a simple concept, but question how effective your self defense product really is. If it requires an accurate shot or doesn’t do anything to help your immediate safety, it’s probably not the best tool around.

Recommended Self Defense Tools For Women

Recommended Self Defense Tools For Women

Carrying self defense products doesn’t guarantee your safety. In fact, they can even be counterintuitive. See, carrying a stun gun or pepper spray often provides many women a false sense of security, leading them to take riskier chances than they usually would without a weapon.

That’s why the best self defense weapon is avoiding dangerous encounters in the first place. Trust your intuition when you feel off about a situation – your gut is usually right, and even if it’s not, it’s better to be safe. And whenever you’re out alone, stay aware of your surroundings, avoid walking in dark places, and seek help when needed.

It’s also a good idea to let people know where you’re going and when you expect to return. And you guessed it: this applies to everything from solo backpacking trips to late-night Tinder dates. If you do decide to carry a defense weapon, here are some of the best.

  • Cat ear keychain. Get a cute accessory and defense tool all in one with a cat ear shaped keychain. Slide your fingers into the openings, and bear the pointed “ear” edges for an emergency use of a non lethal weapon that doesn’t take up much space. Purchase a cat ear keychain online here.
  • Tactical pen. Tactical pens are the ultimate discreet, portable self defense weapon, and some even have a built in flashlight. They’re small enough to carry in your bag yet sturdy enough to cause some real damage when using it to hit someone – plus, there’s no training needed! Buy a tactical pen online here.
  • Personal alarms. A personal alarm emits a loud sound to scare the assailant and alert people nearby that you need help. And it’s not subtle: some are louder than chainsaws and can be incredibly painful to hear, causing your attacker to back off. Buy an easily accessible personal alarm keychain here.
  • Emergency apps. More passive tools can also be purchased online and downloaded on your personal electronic devices to alert your contacts or police that you’re in danger. Various features include discreetly activated voice and video calls, sending your GPS location, and fake calls to get you out of uncomfortable settings. Try a women’s self defense app here.

Should You Carry A Self Defense Tool?

Should You Carry A Self Defense Tool

The sad truth is that most attacks aren’t random – they’re primarily matters of domestic violence. But carrying a defense product can still make you feel extra secure, and non lethal tools like alarms can genuinely make a difference. Just be sure you aren’t letting your guard down because of it.

Most weapons aren’t permitted in carry-on baggage and may not be allowed in some tourist attractions. But, so long as you stay vigilant, chances are you won’t need an actual self defense product while traveling. Instead, take the time to develop martial arts skills and tactics so you can rely on yourself – not a tool.  

Ready to Go Traveling?

Ready to Go Traveling

Put all your solo travel worries to bed by joining a group of incredible, like-minded adventure women on trips around the world! Book your next expedition with Explorer Chick and get ready to make a lifetime of memories. Find your next adventure today!

Meet the Writer

megan wray writer

Megan Wray

Megan Wray is a queer, mixed-race Japanese-Canadian freelance writer based on Treaty 1 Territory. Passionate about pleasure, identity, and anti-oppression, Megan’s fuelled by meaningful chats about topics that aren’t “appropriate” for dinner table conversation. When she’s not writing, you can find Megan cooking vegan food, singing to live music, and trying to understand astrology.

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