15 Must-Have Safety Gadgets Every Solo Traveler Should Own
From portable door locks to accessories with GPS tracking, these products will help you travel confidently and stay protected.
While we could spend days waxing poetic about the merits of solo travel, let us just say this: If you have yet to take a trip by yourself, now is the time to do it. Not only do solo adventures prompt you to do some serious self-discovery, but successfully completing a trip from start to finish—one where you’re calling all the shots—is one of the best ways we know to build confidence and self-esteem.
Having said that, solo travel can be a terrifying notion for first-timers (or even frequent travelers), especially if you’re a woman or gender nonconforming individual. We already live with that nagging fear that something could happen to us every time we leave the house, let alone hop on an airplane and land in a foreign country. But as long as you research your destination, keep your wits about you, and pack some simple gear specifically designed to keep you safe while traveling, there’s no reason why your solo trip should be any more stressful than any other vacation.
To help you achieve that pre-trip peace of mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best safety gadgets for travelers right now. From portable door locks to pepper spray with built-in GPS, these easily packable products are sure to help you travel confidently and stay protected on your next soul-searching sojourn.
Whether you’re facing down a bear in the woods or a creepy dude on the sidewalk, She’s Birdie alarms claim to remove any threat with a loud (and we mean loud) siren and flashing strobe light. To activate the device, just remove the pin from the top—then put the pin back in to deactivate it. The battery-activated alarms are small and lightweight enough to fit on your keychain, and they come in four attractive colors.
What reviewers say: “My Birdie is hanging on my purse and kind of clanks around while I’m walking. This thing is loud as heck and can easily throw off an attacker, or you can use it to signal your location if you're lost and people are searching for you. I’m not trained in personal defense, nor am I an instructor, but this is just one level of protection for being able to equalize your advantage if you’re being attacked.”
There are a few too many horror stories floating around about hotel room break-ins to not travel with a portable door lock. The Addalock is one of the best-selling travel locks on Amazon, compatible with almost any door that is hinged and swings inward. The lock slips into the doorframe and installs in seconds—no tools required—and helps prevent people from entering your room while you’re inside.
What reviewers say: “This worked perfectly. I feel so safe and secure and it is so easy to use. It fits nicely on my door, and I just put it on when I’m inside and take it off when I’m leaving. It really bolts the door…no one will be getting in unless they have the jaws of life. Very convenient!!”
Another great option to keep you safe in hotel rooms or Airbnb rentals, this Sabre alarm serves double duty: Not only does it act as a door stopper to prevent an intruder from entering your room, but it also sends out an extremely loud siren when triggered, alerting your neighbors and (hopefully) scaring off any bad guys. All you need to do is add the battery and plop it down right in front of your door.
What guests say: “Fantastic door alarm that no one should be without in my opinion, even if you have an alarm. I travel a lot for work, and having one at the door in the room is extra peace of mind. Inexpensive enough for you to supply for your family, and even friends.”
Most of us instinctively walk with our keys between our knuckles in case we need to quickly defend ourselves against attackers. These self-defense keychains take that cat-claw idea to the next level, with 5-inch aluminum rods that work much more effectively than any little house key. Note: Some reviewers claim TSA took away their keychains when traveling through the airport, so best to save these bad boys for domestic road trips or staycations.
What reviewers say: “Nothing beats the extra bit of safety this brings. It’s nice compared to pepper spray in that it helps with close-range attackers or in scenarios where you’re restrained and can’t use spray. I hope I never have to use it, but whenever I’m walking to my car at night or across my college campus, it does help me feel safer. I also like that it can be used to break open car windows in the awful chance your car goes into deep waters.”
If you’re staying in an Airbnb (especially one with ground-level bedrooms), these adjustable window locks will help you sleep much more soundly. Simply place the lock in the window track, rotate the key to secure the lock in place, then remove the key and keep it with you for safekeeping. You can even use more than one lock per window if you’re craving a double dose of security.
What reviewers say: “I recently moved to a new apartment (ground floor) and some of the window locks are broken so you can just open the window from the outside. So I put these things on all my windows and they are amazing. They work really well…I feel better knowing they are on the windows.”
While personal safety is paramount while traveling solo, you also want to make sure your belongings stay secure. This anti-theft backpack from Pacsafe is specially designed to keep your stuff safe from pickpocketers, featuring cut-proof material, interlocking zippers, and RFID-blocking pockets that will protect your credit cards’ info from being hacked. The backpack can also easily be attached to a table or chair, so you can sip a cappuccino in Italy and only worry about which photo to post to Instagram next.
What reviewers say: “Purchased for a trip to Spain and Portugal. At first, I was a bit annoyed by the fact that the opening was stiff and requires the entire length of the zipper to be open in order to access the bag, but after a walk through the busy city streets, I was glad for it. I had closed the bag up and engaged the zipper clasp and the slide lock and walked back to the hotel. When I got to my room I noticed that the zippers had been unlocked and the clip had been undone, but the zipper was not all the way open. Someone had tried to get into my bag, but couldn’t.”
Another great (and stylish) way to keep your belongings safe, this infinity scarf has hidden zipper pockets for storing your passport, phone, wallet, or any other small items that you definitely wouldn’t want to lose while traveling. The scarf is made of breathable rayon fabric, so you can even wear it in warmer destinations without working up too much of a sweat.
What reviewers say: “I have owned several different scarves that have pockets. This one has several advantages over all the others. First, both sides of the scarf are the same, so you can't tell there is a secret pocket. It really is lightweight and very comfortable to wear even in the summer. The colors go with just about everything. I am a person that loves to travel, and I am always researching the best clothes—this one will definitely be on my top 10 most important items to pack.”
If your belongings do get stolen (or you happen to misplace them yourself), you’re going to want a failsafe for recovering them. We highly recommend attaching an Apple AirTag to your most important belongings—like your wallet and hotel keys—so you can quickly track them down using Apple’s “Find My” app in case you lose them along the way. Each AirTag is dust- and water-resistant and comes with a battery that lasts over a year.
What reviewers say: “American Airlines did not transfer luggage between flights. These worked wonderfully in both suitcases. Tracked exactly where suitcases were within 3,000 miles and then again when they arrived on another continent. Then tracked again until they arrived 2 days later. Would definitely buy again.“
Carrying a can of mace is not exactly a novel concept, but mace that also has built-in GPS tracking? Now that’s some futuristic magic we can get behind. This smart pepper spray not only helps fend off attackers (it even uses red marking dye to easily ID assailants), but it instantly texts an SOS alert to your emergency contacts as soon as you spray it. It also sends your location to a 24/7 call center, which then contacts local authorities. Before you take it on your trip, however, remember to check pepper spray laws at your destination and the updated TSA regulations to see if you can travel with it.
What reviewers say: “I just received my Plegium pepper spray and fell in love with it! You can add multiple contacts that the app notifies when sprayed, it fits great in my hand, and it has a strong clip. I feel safer walking around alone as a young woman knowing I will have a way to immediately contact who I choose if in danger.”
While mace with built-in GPS is undoubtedly genius, sometimes you might want to share your location without having to release pepper spray first. (No really, you might!) If you’re embarking on a lengthy solo hike or are simply traveling to a remote destination—namely one without cell phone coverage—carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger is essential. This Garmin gadget lets you send an SOS signal at the push of a button, which goes to a 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center that can then track your location.
What reviewers say: “I’m a nature photographer. I often go where no cell service has gone before. As such I have two important needs. I must know where I am and how to get where I wish to be. My other need is to communicate with the outside world for safety and more routine issues. The inReach has filled the second need by providing a reliable two-way satellite texting device. I’ve had each model and they all worked perfectly...period.”
It might seem basic, but a whistle can do wonders when it comes to scaring off attackers or signaling for help—and, unlike pepper spray and sharp keychains, it can easily make it through airport security. This safety whistle from Noopel is designed for outdoor activities (camping, boating, etc.) which means it’s loud enough to be heard from long distances away. So whether you’re stranded somewhere or need a super loud siren to deter an attacker, this tiny tool should do the trick.
What reviewers say: “Never thought I'd need to use it, but sure enough, I got stuck in a tree well while skiing. Scary as hell. I have it attached to my zipper pull on my Patagonia shell jacket, which made it easily accessible. That's a big deal when you're hanging upside down in a tree well, using one hand to hold onto a branch for dear life. I blew this thing like my life depended on it. Sure enough, after about 5 minutes, another skier heard it echoing through the woods and found me. Could have been much, much worse.”
It’s sad but true: Men are way more likely to leave you alone if they think you’re already “taken.” Wearing a fake wedding band on a solo trip should help ward off unwanted attention and give you a handy excuse if someone simply won’t take no for an answer (“sorry, I’m married”). You can buy literally any ring and pretend it’s a wedding ring, but this simple silver band should get the job done without making you a target for theft—buy something too flashy, and pickpocketers might make you their next hit.
What reviewers say: “This is the most comfortable band I have ever worn. I have had it on for two weeks now and have worn it 24 hours a day including swimming and showering and there is no sign of wear at all. It is solid and shiny. I love it and would purchase it again.”
Whether you’re staying in a stranger-filled hostel or spending a solo day at the beach, you’re going to need some extra layers of protection for your valuables. This portable lock box comes with a heavy-duty steel cable that attaches to your beach chair, nightstand, etc. and a lock that can only be opened with a unique three-digit code or key. Use it to store your phone, money, hotel key, and other small essentials, then go ahead and enjoy your vacation sans stress.
What reviewers say: “We strung this through two beach chairs as suggested. We put two phones, hotel keys, cash, and credit card in with ample room left over. It was great to wander into the ocean and not have to keep looking back to see if our stuff was still hidden under towels. We are frequent beach vacationers and I am 100% pleased with this purchase. Would definitely buy it again and will give it as a gift to other vacationers.”
Getting stranded with a dead phone battery is never a great scenario, but it can become downright dangerous if you’re traveling by yourself in a remote location. This portable power bank has enough juice to charge your phone up to four times, saving you the headache of frantically trying to find a power outlet before you hit the dreaded 1% mark.
What reviewers say: “This is amazing!! The color is so cute and it has enough to charge my phone 3x. It charges fast (charged my phone from dead to 100% in an hour) and does not get hot AT ALL! Would repurchase for sure if I ever need another.”
Being in a car with a stranger puts solo travelers in a very vulnerable place. If you’re ever in an uncomfortable situation (or get in a car accident), this gadget is equipped with a double-sided hammer that can be used to smash through a car window. It also has a hidden blade that cuts through seat belts if you find yourself trapped and need to break free.
What reviewers say: “I haven’t had to use this yet but I was recently in a car accident and I was trapped in my car. I wish I had this on hand before my accident. Luckily I’m okay, but I bought this item the next day in case I need to break the window or cut my seat belt. You just never know when it’s going to happen to you so it’s better to be prepared.”