You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again: nothing should come before your safety. While there are myriad beautiful places to explore filled with good people, the truth is we live in an unpredictable world where anything can happen at any minute. My intention isn’t to scare you into not traveling, but to make sure you’re prepared for the worst, even if it’s unlikely to happen. To help, here is a personal safety gear list that I use myself, including:
1. Clever Travel Companion Pickpocket-Proof Garments. I’ve written about these garments quite a bit in my five years of blogging, and for good reason: they’re genius! They have hidden interior pockets so crooks never know you have credit cards and cash, keeping your valuables safe while also alleviating you from carrying a purse. I have the underwear and the tank, which I wear as an undershirt.
2. Vigilant Personal Alarm. I carry this gadget everywhere. It has a wrist strap so you can wear it on you wrist and, if you need to, easily pull the cap off to sound a BLARING alarm that would likely scare any attacker. I tried it out in my bedroom and think I woke the entire Bushwick neighborhood.
3. Safety Whistle. Another nice device that scares with loud sound, I’ve been wearing my Fox Sonic Safety Whistle for about three years. It especially makes me feel safer when hiking solo, as I’ve had issues with angry dogs accosting me in the past.
4. A Rubber Door Stop. This is a good item to bring that can add an extra layer of protection to your hotel room and keep those that wish you harm out. It’s easy to install by simply placing it under the door from the inside.
5. A Combination Lock. I use this to lock zippers together when carrying a backpack — especially in my home of NYC on the subway — and keep anyone from sneaking in and snatching my goods.
6. A KnowRoaming Sticker. While Skype is good when you have strong Wi-Fi (if the signal is weak you won’t hold the connection), I like KnowRoaming for other times. It’s a simple sticker you affix to your SIM card to get local rates and, if you opt for it, unlimited data. I like it for keeping in touch with family and friends and updating them on my whereabouts.
7. Aromaflage. For safety against disease from insects that also has a beauty twist, Aromaflage is a unisex perfume that’s also an insect repellent, and comes in both spicy and sweet scents.
8. Glow Bracelets. As a cyclist, it’s important that when riding at night I’m visible to cars. While a helmet, bike lights and bright clothing help, I like glow brackets and glow vests to make sure I’m definitely seen.
9. Emergency App (free; iOS & Android). Developed by the American Red Cross, this all-inclusive app serves as a “go-to” resource for what travelers can do in the case of 14 different types of emergencies and disasters within the U.S. Users can customize more than 35 emergency alerts based on their location and where their contacts live. The app also contains a kit of emergency first aid info advising on everything from heart attacks to heat stroke.
10. Neck Wallet. I use this when I go jogging or don’t want to carry a bag. It goes around your neck and under your shirt, acting as an invisible dangling pocket (sort of like a money belt with less sweat stains in hot destinations).