Attention all Forum Users.
We’re working on a brand new shiny tool to make your experience as simple as possible.
Which means the community forums is now read only whilst we work on a new & improved ‘My Contiki’ space.


Pepper Spray

24 May 2009 Kerri-Ellen said

Hey everyone haha I know this is probably going to sound quite silly but I'll be travelling by myself which includes time in New York and I was thinking of getting some pepper spray to carry around with me as a "just incase" sort of thing. <BR><BR>Would anyone know a good place to recommend when it comes to buying some pepper spray?<BR><BR>Thanks xox
  • Read the responses 8 responses so far
  • 24 May 2009 Alexi85 said


    what a coincidence i was just asking one of my friends during my lunch break at work if i should get one!!!!

    they are illegal to have in australia so i was thinking of purchasing one whilst I’ll be in the US. I will be travelling alone too and spending 6 days in New york. if you can, let me know if u find out where we could buy them from : )

  • 24 May 2009 Kerri-Ellen said


    hmmm illegal in Australia?? That sucks Frowner<!--graemlin::(-->

    I’d probably only need it while I’m in new york as well for a few days from the 25th August until 29th August (That’s the only place I’m really worried about)

    I might put my post in the North America section and I’ll let you know if I get any replies Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 24 May 2009 said


    Pharmacy’s are the easiest place to buy them, you need to buy Pepper Spray in person in New York, and I think the age restriction is anyone over 18.

    The legality of it changes by state, and naturally also by Country. Mace/Pepperspray is a prohibited weapon here in Canada, and you need a permit to carry/own it.

    If you are just worried about this type of thing in New York I would say buy it when you get in the City and ditch it on your way out.

    Although in my mind it will be a bit of a waste of money, but if having it on you makes you feel more secure then by all means pick up a tab. Price wise it ranges from around 6dollars and up.

    If you want to get around most laws and be able to carry a spray with you in pretty well any country, just pick up some Bear spray, its Legal in most countries and I can tell you from personal experiences that it burns just as much if not more than pepperspray lol You can buy it in most hunting supply stores.

  • 26 May 2009 Andrea (Ea) said

    Andrea (Ea)

    To be honest, I have lived in NYC my entire life and, in my opinion, bringing pepper spray is a very bad idea.

    Firstly, you cannot bring it from out of state at all. It must be purchased by a person over 18 within NY state AND from a registered seller, generally a gun seller or a pharmacy (You can find a list in the link later in this post). Your name, address, etc are taken in the event that if you do use it, it can be proven that you bought it in state. Even in the event of using it for self defense, you will be brought up on charges if you did not buy it in state. You also cannot have any criminal record whatsoever if you are going to purchase it.

    Secondly, if you do use it, chances are you will be brought up on assault charges even if they are later dropped due to a claim of self defense. There are few instances when it would be appropriate to use pepper spray. In many cases, it is treated as though you are the attacker rather than the victim. It is a weapon, regardless of its defensive use, and by carrying it you are willing to take the law into your own hands.

    Thirdly, don’t carry it unless you know how to use it and are emotionally capable of attacking someone with it. Think of it on the scale of carrying a knife for the same purpose. Unless you know how and are willing to use it as a weapon, it is may provoke an attacker rather then repel them. Reaching for pepper spray in your purse looks no different than reaching for a knife or a gun. Also, Someone who is willing to go so far as to take all the risks of physically assaulting you is not going to be deterred easily if you are just trying to scare them off by waving a can at them. This is a very basic idea taught in many self defense classes. As a woman myself, I know how one can feel vulnerable in the crowds of the city, but carrying pepper spray is more of a danger than a safety as far as I’m concerned.

    Fourthly, in most tourist attractions you cannot bring it inside anyway. It is considered a weapon, regardless of the intent for self defense purposes. For most sites, your purse/bag will be searched upon entrance so don’t expect to slip by without it being noticed. Also, don’t expect to get by with something that skirts the law like bear spray. When in doubt, the person searching your bag will tell you to throw it out or eject your all together rather than debate with you. When visiting the Statue of Liberty, I’ve even had to throw out metal nail clippers that I had in my purse in order to get onto the ferry. It is more of a hassle to bring then it is worth for safety.

    More info here on pepper spray in NYC:

    Keep in mind that the laws regarding pepper spray are also different in every state. Check the laws for all places that you will travel too.

    That said, the police force in New York is much better then what you’ve seen on TV. Its true, in the 80’s crime was ridiculous, but now it is very safe as a result of 9/11. Although tightened security is a hassle, it is there to make you safe. I’ve lived here for 22 years. I’ve never been mugged, held at gun point, or assaulted in any fashion. Yes, I’ve had to wait in lines to have my bags searched to get into countless museums, but I always feel safe in those places. I am simply aware of where I am, carry a smart bag, and do not go out at night alone.

    When it comes to safety in NYC, the best thing to do is simply stick to the tourist friendly areas and be aware of your surroundings. If you go out at night, don’t go to a hole in the wall place in a seedy neighborhood. Stay out of parks at night. If you need directions, ask someone invested in your safety like a police officer, not a person you bump into on the street. Be an educated traveler.
    Make sure you wear your purse close to your body. Put locks on anything you intend to wear on your back. Don’t wear your wallet in your back pocket. A money belt isn’t really necessary, but if you are really worried you could wear one. Basically, just don’t be an easy target. I own a pacsafe messenger bag that I wear when I go into a questionable area. Pick-pocketing is not very rampant in the US, but that is probably the biggest worry you will rationally have, not assault.

    I’m sorry that this post is rather long, but I feel that this is an important topic. I hope that I have been helpful and that you enjoy your time in NY. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but this is based on my personal experience and education in self defense courses in NYC.

  • 26 May 2009 CatherineOz said


    I spent 11 days in NYC on my own, caught the subway late at night etc and never had a problem. I can totally understand the desire to protect yourself, I was weary of catching the sub-way late at night but it ended up being fine. There were even people busking, guys break dancing, and guys in sombrero’s singing and playing guitar!

  • 29 May 2009 cdm115 said


    I really wouldn’t bother, and there are cities that are more violent then NYC where you might “need” it more.

    Seriously though, do you think that if someone tried to rob or rape you (with or without a weapon) taht you would have the ability to process it, get it out, spray the person and run away? That’s a lot to do for someone who is in stress. Some people can do it many can not. Also, a lot of perps would figure out that you were going for some type of weapon before you were able to use it and would be able to steal it from you before you could use it, and then use it on you.

  • 1 Jun 2009 gig08 said


    I agree that Pepper Spray is probably not worth the hassle…just be aware of your surroundings. Have fun Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 3 Jun 2009 Kerri-Ellen said


    Thank you so much for all your replies

    I just had the thought that it may be useful but it does sound like quite a hassle

    I have common sense and that’s the best defense I reckon

    Thanks again ! x

We are no longer accepting new responses to this discussion thread.



Visas? Money? Where to go? Chat to us about travel.