Smartphone Apps That Help You Travel Safely
Technology has changed how people travel. Travelers can book flights on their smartphones and can document their road trip adventures on Instagram. This pervasiveness is often seen as a nuisance, as it makes living in the moment more difficult; however, improved technology also brings with it enormous benefits, especially for travel safety.
Nowadays, there is a litany of digital appliances that make hitting the open road safer and flying abroad more secure. Conveniently, you likely already have many of these tools in your pocket. According to Statista, there are now over 6 million smartphone apps available across the leading app stores. Numerous apps dedicated to travel safety are included in this colossal offering. Their functions range from general to highly specific.
To help you stay safe on your next romantic excursion or family getaway, below we discuss the top travel safety apps.
Sitata is a comprehensive safety app designed to keep travelers ahead of dangerous situations. The app has detailed information on the security situation in numerous international locales. Travelers can simply enter a city or region, and a list of warnings and alerts will appear. If a protest, riot, or conflict occurs in that area, then the app will alert the user.
Sitata also helps users avoid tourist scams. How common are they? Telegraph.uk has documented 40 distinct categories of tourist scams and rip-offs. To save users considerable pain, the app offers detailed reviews of businesses and services, so travelers know beforehand which businesses are legitimate and which to treat with caution.
The app is free and available on iOS and Android.
An important part of travel safety, especially while solo traveling, is keeping in touch with your loved ones. From a traveler’s perspective, connecting easily with people back home brings a source of comfort. On the other hand, family and friends want to know that their loved ones are safe. bSafe gives travelers and their loved ones this peace of mind.
bSafe provides travelers with an easy process for requesting help in an uneasy situation. They simply speak an activation phrase into their phones, and pre-selected contacts receive an SOS message. The message will display the traveler’s location via GPS, and the contacts will also gain access to the camera on the traveler’s phone.
bSafe is free and available on both iOS and Android.
ICE (an acronym for “in case of emergency”) is pretty self-explanatory. The app is designed for a traveler’s worst nightmare: having a medical episode abroad. If the user is unresponsive, emergency medical personnel need access to important information, such as medical conditions, current medications, and allergies. This user-friendly app is an efficient way to give medical personnel the info they need, even if your phone is locked. If you’re in an area where English isn’t widely spoken, the app provides quick and accurate translation into ten different languages.
The app also lets the user log custom notes and instructions in case of an emergency. The user can even enter information about insurance and emergency contacts.
ICE is only available on Android and costs $3.99.
Traveling safe means avoiding dangers both large and small, including those of the microscopic variety. Steering clear of infectious diseases while both at home and abroad is critical, especially in light of recent developments. This is where the CDC TravWell app comes into play.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) official app for infectious diseases, the CDC TavWell contains abundant information on viruses, infections, and all other pathogens present in a particular location. Users may also view recommended vaccines for specific destinations and create customizable travel checklists. Additional features let you store personal health information, such as vaccination records and immunizations
TravWell is part of a suite of free CDC apps available for both iOS and Android devices.
Almost everything is done on the internet these days, including many travel-related tasks. If you’re abroad and want to buy a train ticket, call a ride, or reserve a hotel room, it’s likely all done online. This is convenient, but it’s also scary; private information is more vulnerable to bad actors. According to Forbes, the FBI received reports of over 400,000 cybercrimes last year. Nothing ruins a trip like finding out that your credit card info has been stolen. Thankfully, there are apps like SaferVPN.
SaferVPN is a simple and efficient way to protect your information while browsing online. The app lets users create a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing an open WiFi connection (e.g. at Starbucks). This allows the user to surf the internet with an ultra-secure encrypted connection, which provides increased protection.
The app is easy to use and friendly for non-techies. It’s available on both iOS and Android and has plans ranging from $5.99 to $8.99 a month.
Smart Traveler is the official app of the U.S. Department of State. This app gives travelers live updates on security situations in countries around the world. The app presents the information in a sleeker, more distilled manner than the clunkier website. The user can view recent travel warnings, notices, and find the location of the nearest U.S. Embassy. Enrollees in the DOS STEP program can also access their accounts through the app.
Smart Traveler is free and available on both iOS and Android platforms.
With other humanitarian organizations unrolling their own apps, the Red Cross didn’t want to get left behind. Their user-friendly and aptly named Emergency App provides safety information in the event of a flood, tornado, or another natural disaster.
The user can customize the app to display the user’s current location, as well as the location of their friends and family. All data is conveniently displayed on a single map. Locations of the nearest Red Cross shelters are also available.
Perhaps a family member hasn’t downloaded the app? The nifty family safe feature lets the user send a wellness check directly to the person in question.
The app is free and available for download on both iOS and Android devices.
Traveling is an enlightening and eye-opening experience, but take the necessary safety precautions. Threats to safety can arise quickly in the 21st century, at both a national and individual level. Modern technology presents its own risks but also provides important tools to keep you safe, whether you’re backpacking in Europe, sunning on a beach in South America, or road-tripping across the United States with the family. Thankfully, you can download these powerful apps directly to your phone and even if you’ve already begun your trip.