Self Defense Tips for Solo Female Travelers


We are constantly asked by women if we can share self defense tips for solo female travelers. 

After all, the greatest threat to a woman traveling the world is, unfortunately, men. But should you consider taking a self defense class before you travel the world? Our answer is yes, if you feel like you can use the training. There’s no feeling of empowerment greater than the feeling of being able to take care of yourself in a tough situation.

Though in general we believe that the world is mostly safe and people are mostly good, these self defense tips for women are great for solo female travelers to have in their arsenal.

NOTE: These tips are intended for research purposes only. If you are a victim of a random mugging, we encourage you to give up your belongings rather than resort to violence. No “thing” you own is worth your life.

Remember, most situations don’t come to physical violence. But if you’ve tried talking, you’ve tried reasoning, you’ve surveyed your situation and see no other option, here’s what to do:

Learning how to form a fist is a handy self defense tip for solo female travelers

Perfecting Your Punch

Learning how to form your fist to prevent injury is essential. Clutch your hands into fists, and wrap your thumbs around the front of your 4 fingers (so that it’s tight in a ball instead of loose on the side of your fist). Push from the ball of your foot and thrust your hip and arm forward. Most of your energy should drive from the ground–push yourself so that your fist can connect with power.

Where to aim: Aim your punch for a vulnerable area, like the eyes, nose or throat. Punching someone in the adams’ apple will stun him long enough to get away.

Kick to the Groin

If you don’t feel comfortable with a punch, landing an effective kick is the next best method for self-defense. Aim for the groin, the stomach, or the kidneys. Keep your heel bent and imagine that the top of your foot is driving through the point of impact and out the other side of your attacker.

Withdraw your leg quickly after connection so that your attacker does not have the chance to grab it and cause you to lose balance. When they’re disabled, you’ll have the chance to get away.

Watch this video on basic self defense tips to get you started.

Forming defensive position is a great way of protecting yourself

Form Defensive Position

Defensive position is where you should rest in between punches or kicks to best protect yourself. To practice this, put one hand in front of your cheek and the other at your temple. Protecting your cheek and temple is essential as a hit too hard could cause you to pass out. Practice the defense position, keep it tight, and be prepared to resort to it before you ever get in a fight. Just the sign of a proper defensive position is often a signal to your attacker that you know what you’re doing.

Yell “FIRE”

Unfortunately, yelling “Rape” or “Help” will sometimes not attract the attention you need. In a time of crisis, yell FIRE as loud as you can. The goal here is to make noise and attract attention. Of course, you have to play whatever situation you’re in accordingly and be strategic: the goal here is to survive, first and foremost.

Disarm Your Attacker

Eyes, Ears, Throat, Groin, Solar Plexus, Nose: Delivering blows to these areas will disarm your attacker and allow you to escape. If you need to, survey the area to look for potential weapons. Do NOT carry a weapon with you while traveling as it is extremely likely that it could be used against you.

Do Not Carry Weapons While You Travel

We’ll say it again, just in case you didn’t read it in that last paragraph.

Be Prepared to Switch Plans

If it’s clear your fighting strategy isn’t working, be prepared to resort to Plan B- whether that includes running, screaming, using weapons or reasoning. Your goal should always be to survive an attack, whatever the cost. Nothing is more precious than your life, and no personal belonging is worth it.

Take a class

If in doubt, take a Krav Maga or self-defense class in your area. With most probability, you won’t have to use any of these self defense tips for solo female travelers– but if you do, it’s good to know you have them in your toolbox.

What are your best self defense tips for solo female travelers? Have you ever had to get yourself out of a bad situation? 


About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I’m going on my first ever solo trip to Europe and I’m really concerned about my safety and I can definitely use your tips.

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