7 Ways To Avoid Being Robbed, Kidnapped, Or Murdered While Traveling Alone

7waystostaysafe

There’s really not much I haven’t seen at this point.  I’ve been in riots, held up at gun point, pick-pocketed, put in handcuffs, jumped, chased by a helicopter, and escaped a potential kidnapping… in the last four years.

What can I say?  I know how to have a good time.

Here are some helpful tips about how I keep myself safe as a woman traveling alone!… or at least out of jail.  My record is spotless and I intend on keeping it that way.

1. Zip it before you hit it.

I’m all about zippers. Any sort of pocket or flap is a prime target for pickpockets so before you hit the town, invest in a BACKPACK (not a purse or fly-ass fanny pack) that has pockets on the inside of the bag.  This way, you zip up your personal items AND run after someone if they manage to snatch something.  If you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge fan of GORuck. Click on their banner to check them out!

2. Don’t bring along dead weight.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to carry a drunk girlfriend out of a club/bar because home girl can’t handle her alcohol or emotions properly.  This is twice as dangerous when you’re abroad and unfamiliar with your surroundings. Bite the bullet and be like, “Look bitch. I love you. You’re my bottom bitch. BUT you’re not invited.”  Make friends along the way instead because chances are they’re more interesting and more capable of taking care of their own business.

3. Stop Being “nice.”

Nice people are terrible travelers.  They feel uncomfortable demanding things and are always trying to be considerate of everyone’s feelings.  Stop it.  If you feel like you’re in danger in anyway, you need to do something about it.  Don’t try to be polite and hope that if you’re nice enough, a serial murderer won’t kill you.  Because he/she will; that’s just what they do. If you’re even in this situation, you NEED to scream, run, and grab the nearest bottle.  Shatter the base and threaten to end that person.  Who cares what that person thinks about you after the altercation, because at the end of the day, you made it home okay and that’s what’s important.

4. Make friends with strangers.

I love strangers. They have resources, know different languages, and have experience with anything and everything that could possibly happen.  They also follow the wanderers code, which states:

Our common mission makes us blood.  We shall not let anyone drown if we can help it. We are strangers and family at the same time.

…Unless he/she is a duche bag.  Then they can’t sit with us.

5. Figure out how to use your clothing/personal items as a weapon.

When you see me walking to the cabs with my heels in hand, it’s completely intentional.  1) I obviously was dancing like a possessed water nymph and I’m tired. 2) I can use it to stab someone in the eye. After training in Krav Maga, I don’t mess around when it comes to safety.  I know how to disarm someone with a knife and a gun, how to deflect punches and kicks, and how to use nearby items to defend myself. I’m ALWAYS thinking about my next move if shit were to hit the fan; it’s just how my mind works now.

6. Don’t go home with him/her.

 As everyone probably gathered from 23 Things, I don’t have any qualms with making out with strangers. But I draw a very clear line right there.  When I go out, alcohol is inevitability involved and my creep radar is undeniably impacted so I have very clear and strict rules for myself as a woman.  This may seem anti-feminist, but I disagree.  Yadadada explore your sexuality.  Yadadada equal rights. That’s all good and fun, but that’s not reality.  The reality is that women are regularly assaulted and raped with few consequences for their attackers; especially in developing countries.

This is an unfortunate truth. Now respond appropriately.

Keep it public.  I can deal with some teasing, embarrassing photos, and hangovers as a result of my “free spirited” attitude.  I couldn’t deal with looking into my friend’s eyes the next morning as she gave me a play-by-play of how she was raped after we were separated at a bar.

7. Take a Krav Maga class.

Nothing gets me more jazzed then simulating an attack on my life.  One of my trainers actually took me into the parking lot and choked me against a car to force me to “adapt.” Thanks for that.  The classes really build your confidence and ass-kicking knowledge; and they really put things into perspective.

Because here’s the real deal:

If you intend on causing me harm, I intend on causing you equal or greater harm.  If you attempt to take my life, I will take yours instead. There is no middle ground or room for negotiation. You made that clear when you put me in this position.  But at the same time, I will not cower in fear.  I will not hide in my home. I will not stop wandering the world and doing exactly what I love.

Please share this with your favorite traveling females ❤

XOXO V

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25 thoughts on “7 Ways To Avoid Being Robbed, Kidnapped, Or Murdered While Traveling Alone

  1. The last paragraph sums it up quite well. I have always lived by the ‘if the choice is me or someone else going home tonight, it will always be me making it back.’ philosophy.

    I don’t cause nor do I look for problems; however, I am quite committed to solving them if pressed. You definitely got your stuff straight as near as I can tell. Rock on and wander happy!!

  2. Have I ever told you how much I love your articles? Yea, I have a million times, but I’m gonna say it again. You are fcukin ON POINT girl! I love every one of these lol. I especially love that you’re willing to have fun and be a lady, but you’re ALWAYS watching your back. I’m that person, always aware of my surroundings and how I could get out of the situation if needed, and my friends think I’m insane. I’m like “listen bitches, I’ll call 911 for you as I’m out because I actually thought through a plan.” Keep goin girl! You’re amazing.

  3. This was an awesome read if only because I have argued this point time and again with loved ones. It is great to finally see a similar outlook shared by someone who has both the traveller’s romantic spirit cut with the realist’s understanding of some of the more uncomfortable (and equally unforgiving) facts in this world. I don’t think it’s healthy for even 180-pound male to go out into the world without a crystal clear understanding of one’s natural vulnerabilities, strengths, and the very present risks of the area. I admire all the independent women out there who strike out to make all the world their home (as I share their intent) but I absolutely applaud the woman who doesn’t turn a blind eye to the fact that bad things can happen to good people. This is one of the most real, most important blog posts I have seen in a long while.

  4. Great, great tips!! I have travelled alone as a young woman, and you simply have to be more careful than men, it’s just how the world works. I have been mugged (good insurance is superimportant), threatened and experienced dangerous situations, but never been hurt or injured. Being careful and taking precautions are key, but I would also say that another factor is luck.

    Anyway, again a great post. It is such an important subject and I loved your attitude towards it! Just out of curiosity I wonder if you would share some of your stories with us, the things you mentioned in the beginning that you’ve experienced. Good job for surviving all of that haha 😉 And also now that im commenting I want to say that i absolutely consider your blog to be my favourite travel blog. Your awesome!

  5. Ha! Loved it! Though I’m still trying to get past the whole “held at gun point” and “chased by a helicopter” …..
    WTH!? LOL

  6. Reblogged this on The Naked Bohemian and commented:
    I am a huge fan of Miss Wander Onwards. Each post she writes is inspirational, knowledgable and humor matching (to mine that is). I’m sharing this article with my fellow bohemians because as I am gearing up to travel the world, I want to be safe at all times, while exploring my “free spirit” and “naked bohemian-ness”. That being said- I’m taking a Krav Maga class, investing in a sick backpack, making sure the heels I bring (if any) are extra high and pointy, keeping my femaleness in my pants and kicking the nice-ness to the curb- it’s boring anyways!!! Enjoy Bohemians

  7. I started reading this blog occasionally after the “23…” post. While I would agree with some of the things that you said, your post was (as so many have pointed out) ridiculously judgmental. The decisions that are right for you and me aren’t right for everyone else. Some people want a “boring” life. Not to mention, with karma, the kids of people who travel and speak foreign languages will probably end up hating the movement and wanting nothing more than to settle down in suburban U.S. right out of college.

    However, if classified, I am much closer to you than them, and as someone who has traveled and lived in Latin America and Europe, I freaking love this post. I actually gave my friend who just went abroad to Europe similar advice. However, I would add two things: 1. always have enough money for a cab home and ID shoved in your shoe or bra (I have big enough boobs to hide this) and 2. keep a number with emergency contacts or a safe taxi in your bra as well. It’s scary to stagger home at 4am on the empty streets of Guatemala as a police car follows you and your friend whistling at you.

  8. Or murdered? Damn you really covered everything. In reality it’s possible for any of that to happen even in your own hometown. Hell I live in Los Angeles and where as I feel safe I was still robbed. It just goes to show you you should always be aware of your surroundings and be smart.

  9. This is awesome! I really hope to travel more and so much of this is accurate, especially about being on point with what could potentially happen to you!

  10. Reblogged this on Sarah Colley and commented:
    One kick-ass traveler, and I love reading her articles. I’ll be starting my wandering journey soon as well. See ya around.

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