As important as travel is, it does come with some inherent risks. You likely don’t know the area, or the local language even, when traveling. Criminals, from petty thieves to organized gangsters, pick up on that and are trained even to exploit it. In that sense, there truly is no place like home. You know every room by heart, likely have multiple security measures in place, and are potentially even guarded by a dedicated security company or a neighborhood watch organization. Hollywood and movies like Hostel or The Wrong Turn don’t exactly help wanting to venture into the Unknown, either. But the truth is that travel – just like anything in life – is only as dangerous as you let it to be. A bit of research and planning are always required when going someplace new. Besides spending a few minutes on Google Maps to map out several routes between the Metro station and your hotel, looking up that particular country’s emergency number, and subscribing to the latest security notifications on the State Department website, there are several security items and self-defense tools that are not only small enough to fit into your luggage without adding too much weight, but are also legal in most, if not all places.
4 Travel Security Items
Door stop with built-in alarm
This little device not only has the ability to effectively jam most inward opening door (as long as there is at least a bit of clearance underneath the door), but also sounds an alarm at 120db or more. That’s loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage when exposed to long enough and will surely send most would be intruders running to find an easier victim – or hopefully a new career. It also weighs in at only a few grams, making it an almost must-have item during your next hotel stay.
Be sure to test the item before bringing it into the field. The rubber base is good enough on most surfaces, but maybe not all. Test it on several different surfaces and modify where necessary. I’ve found that placing it on a piece of rubber matting when using it on hardwood or tile makes it stay put without fail. The battery should also be tested at least monthly. Also, although most of these devices will have an on/off switch, I highly recommend removing the battery when packing it in a bag.
Regardless of what our everyday carry (EDC) consists of at home, chances are that we cannot bring common self-defense tools, or weapons, with us on our trip. If you can, that’s great, but for the rest of us, we have to get a little creative when it comes to self-defense tools. My personal favorite is a tactical flashlight. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy Surefire light. There are plenty of budget friendly alternatives.
A tactical flashlight essentially has three security features built into one. In addition to being a light source at night, it’s bright enough to temporarily blind (even during the day) would be attackers and stun them long enough for you to make either a run for it, or use its third security feature, the hard aluminum body.
Some features I pay attention to when picking a tactical flashlight are the amount of lumen and that it has a “momentary on” button. You’ll want at least 80 lumen – generally the flashlight will be labeled “For Self-Defense Purposes” – and the momentary on switch allows you to quickly deploy and activate the light in an emergency situation.
Some variants will come with a serrated bezel. This feature comes in handy when having to break through glass, and also causes additional damage to any potential attackers.
Hotel Room Safe
This is not an item to bring with you on a trip, but certainly one to request at the front desk when checking in – if one is not already inside the room. A hotel room safe is generally large enough to secure at least your most valuable items, such as a passport, wallet, tablet and phone. Yes, a locked safe will surely tell an intruder that’s where the valuables are, but a hotel room doesn’t take long to search anyway, because there simply aren’t many hiding spots. A safe will hopefully keep the items secure long enough for a thief to get nervous enough to find an easier target.
Even if the safe wasn’t enough to secure your items, at least you can say you’ve done everything right on your end to properly secure your valuables. That will hopefully make insurance claims easier for you.
Medical ID app
A medical ID app is important in everyday life, but even more crucial when traveling by yourself, especially abroad. A medical ID can help first responders contact your loved ones in case of an emergency, and also gives them basic info on your medical history – such as allergies, blood type and past surgeries. First responders can access all that information from the lock screen of your phone.
There are several aftermarket versions, but a lot of phones have this already built in. On Apple iPhones, you can set up your Medical ID inside the Health App.
We have options when it comes to travel security. The most important part is to not put yourself in a compromising situation. Watch the alcohol, use reputable taxi companies, and always be vigilant. There are certain items (or apps even) that can help us in emergency situations and are perfectly legal to bring along. When it comes to security, it’s easy to become complacent, because emergencies just don’t happen every day. If they did, they would no longer be called emergencies. So ensure to take a few minutes before each trip to check that you have everything you need to be safe.
What items do you bring along for travel security?