So you’re going to report on the front line. What’s a girl to bring?

Female journalists in conflict zones should pack the same gear as male journalists, plus a few extras:

Wedding ring – A wedding ring, fake or not, is a great nonverbal way to communicate your romantic unavailability. Remember, you’re trying to be inconspicuous, so don’t go for the bling. A simple cheap band will do nicely.

Family photos – Sharing pictures of people you love is a great way to get people to warm up to you-everybody relates to families. If you get kidnapped, sharing family stories and photos may earn you the sympathy of your captors.

Scarf – Scarves are so handy, even outside of Muslim countries. A scarf preserves your modesty. It’s a tourniquet. Need a signal flag? Wave it frantically. Your scarf can keep you warm. It’s good padding. Properly draped, a big scarf can cover dirty clothes.

Subtle self-defence – You need to keep something handy, but pepper spray can seem too aggressive. A shot of deodorant spray right in the eyes will do the trick without inflicting permanent damage. Unlike pepper spray, personal hygiene products are almost never confiscated at checkpoints.

Condom – If things get really bad, at least you can try to prevent getting HIV. In safer areas, condoms make terrific waterproofing for small electronic devices. If you need to store and transport water, a condom can carry up to one gallon of water.

Hotel lock – Get a door lock. You can find them all over the internet. Why are they all over the internet? Bad things happen in hotels. Especially in dangerous places. Most door locks are small and less than €25. Some come with alarms. If you don’t feel like springing for a door lock, use a wedge or a chair under the doorknob.

Insurance – Last but not least, take out appropriate online travel medical insurance for the trip.

A little planning can keep you safe in conflict zones. Pack well and good luck!