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The Solo Traveler Blog

Your Voice as Weapon

Engage other people in your safety.

No, I don’t carry a whistle. And I don’t carry pepper spray either.

When I speak about solo travel I am often asked whether I bring anything for self-defense. I don’t. I wouldn’t want to use pepper spray and I likely wouldn’t have the whistle handy when I actually needed it.

So what do I do for safety? Well, you’ll see that I do lots if you read the Solo Travel Safety section. And, to be specific, instead of a whistle I use my voice.

Engage Your Voice in Solo Travel Safety

I am pretty good at not placing myself in dangerous situations. I stay in public and I choose with whom I speak. (Two of my 5 Principles of Solo Travel Safety.) But there are still occasions when things happen beyond your control.

A few years back I was on an overnight train in Europe in a regular compartment. There were a few people in it. A mix of men and women of different ages so I did what made sense on an overnight train. I went to sleep. However, I awoke in the middle of the night to discover that all but one man had disembarked and that he was pawing my body.

I yelled. And I went into the corridor and yelled. I got the conductor and even with the slight language problem, the tone and level of my voice told him what was going on. He moved me to another compartment where I was safe.

I may not have had a whistle, but I did have my voice. And I wasn’t afraid to use it. If I’m being bothered by someone, I make it known. And, given that my policy is to stay in a public, there are always people around to come to my defense.

Find Your Voice

Some people, women especially, have naturally quiet voices. And they may be afraid to make a fuss. You need to get over both. Before leaving on your trip find your voice. Go into a basement or some place where you can yell and go for it. Practice using your voice so that it is ready if you need it.


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  • Janice Waugh

    Hi Kim,

    The deals are rare but they are out there. We look for them. If you look above in the black bar, you can see a link to the “Deals” page. Also, if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll receive the Solo Traveler Advisory that puts these deal in your inbox once a month.

  • @KimGlobetrots

    I frequently travel alone all over the world where every face is a stranger…. Sure wish I could buy Pepper sPray …readily available in the airport area or hotel upon landing… TSA always confiscates it when I forget to remove it before travel… understandably. Not allowed on planes…

    Random question… Where do I find SINGLE OCCUPANCY travel deals ??? My husband was in the military and flew for 27 years, different countries and hotels 300 days a he has graciously bowed out of traveling the world with me. Thoughts?

  • atletismo veterano

    its not a bad idea to have a whistle ,its small ,it fits in any place and makes a LOT of noise ,especially the professional ones ,i have a friend that was a referee in football games and those whistle sure make a lot of noise …
    saludos from girona spain

  • Solo Travel Blog

    I think another great idea is to try to prevent being in situations when you would need to scream. In other words, avoid walking alone at night in dark alleys, etc. 

  • Leyla from Women on the Road

    Absolutely right! Before taking off on an extended trip to Africa I took a self-defence course, more to boost my own confidence than learn how to fight I might add… the first and most important thing I learned on that course was to SCREAM. The real thing, not that whimpering croak that sounds more like an eyelash flutter than a bellow… although I do admit to carrying pepper spray on occasion though always unsure of which pocket it was in…

  • Jeremy Branham

    Wow, sad that a situation like that had to occur.  Good tips on the voice.  Staying near other people is the key so that you can be heard.

    If all else fails, act like a crazy person – that might work too! :)

  • Joei Carlton Hossack

    Reminded me of such a funny story (funny now – not then) but I was walking home from the marketplace in Fethiye, Turkey VERY late at night but because of the heat of the day people sleep during the day and up all hours of the night – many of them sitting and talking on their balcony so I never really felt scared.  On the walk back to my pansyion some young guy walked up to me and said:  “I want to f–k with you.”  I screamed at the top of my lungs “go f–k someone else.”  I know I was unnerved but I think I scared the heck out of him…….he left running.

About Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 8.52.44 PMI'm an author, blogger, speaker and traveler. I became a widow and empty-nester at about the same time. And then, I became Solo Traveler... Here's the full story. >>
Tracey NesbittI’m a writer, editor, food and wine fanatic, and traveler. On my very first trip abroad I learned that solo travel was for me. Here's the full story. >>

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The content of Solo Traveler and any resources published by Solo Traveler are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Every person and every travel situation is different. Your safety, satisfaction and fun traveling solo are your responsibility alone and not that of Solo Traveler, its publisher, editor and/or writers.