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Ask Siggi: Should I Take Mace on my Trip Abroad?

February 21, 2017
Travel Tips

Mace and pepper spray are popular in America to defend against would be attackers. If you are going to a country that may be a bit dangerous or you are concerned you may be approached, this idea may cross your mind.

The short answer is no. The long answer is that it is illegal in some countries. Here are some examples: 

  • Illegal/Used only by law enforcement: China, Vietnam, Iran, Belgium, Denmark. Greece, Iceland, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, UK, Turkey, Brazil, Canada, Australia (varies)
  • Requires a license: Finland, Sweden, New Zealand
  • Restrictions: Germany, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Japan, United States (varies per state)
  • Legal: Czech Republic, Latvia, Columbia, Philippines, Austria

Obviously, this list is not exhaustive but it highlights that if you are even considering to bring along pepper spray, do your research! 

It looks like TSA allows pepper spray in a checked bag but it must be 4fl oz or less. But, there are MANY countries that do not allow you to bring it in (some not on this list).

If you are concerned for your safety or want a bit more security, there are alternatives to pepper spray. Some countries allow different mixtures or chemicals to be used. But, personal alarms are legal in every country and there are several types to choose from. If personal alarms aren't enough, take a self defense class. You may never need the skills you learn but you will feel more confident and secure if you have them just in case.

If you are a woman traveling solo and need more tips, check out my ebook for more safety and practical tips

Siggi Einarson

My name is Siggi-dubbed by my American friends because of the Icelandic yogurt-I am a writer, polyglot, and aspiring expat, not a cup of yogurt (unfortunately).

My love for travelling began with a trip to Iceland and Sweden to visit my family when I was just 15 years old. I spent so long dreaming of the possibilities of life abroad but I always figured these dreams were too far reached. Flash forward almost 10 years, here I am again, both cursing and thanking this damn travel bug.

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