Five Smartphone Apps for Safer Travel

Load your smartphone with useful apps before you board that plane

Technology is the traveller’s friend. It used to be that you could find yourself hopelessly lost in a foreign city; now it’s simple as using GPS to identify your location and give you a step-by-step guide to where you need to go. But, more than that, when loaded with the right apps, your smartphone can act as your own personal tour guide, saving you time and money – and getting you out of some tricky situations.

Here are some of the best apps to ensure you travel safer on your next holiday overseas.

Find that Emergency Number When You Need It

Everyone knows their local emergency number but what happens when you’re in Sweden or Slovakia and unexpectedly need an ambulance, fire engine or the police?

Many modern mobile phones will connect you if you dial a standard emergency number (for example, 911) but that’s not always the case – and time is often of the essence.

Apps such as TravelSafe Pro provide the numbers you need for the country you’re in without the need for an internet connection, provided you download the app before you go.

TravelSafe Pro also has embassy details in case you lose your passport.

Available for iPhone and Android

Get Yourself to the Nearest ATM

Imagine this – you’re in a remote part of an unfamiliar country and you run out of cash. Chances are, there’s an ATM not too far away – you just need to find it.

With an app such as PinPin ATM Finder, you’ll be able to navigate your way to the nearest cash machine in more than 220 countries. As long as you’ve got money in your account, you should be just fine.

Available for Windows Phone

Rate the Safety of the Neighbourhood You’re In

A lack of local knowledge can sometimes mean you find yourself in areas that may not be safe for tourists.

The Safety Map Worldwide app promises to assess the level of safety of “any place on the planet”. Using user ratings and reviews, the app provides a five-scale safety rating and even provides handy alerts when you stray into a high-crime area.

Available for iPhone

Let Family and Friends Know Where You Are

Travelling alone or farewelling young ones heading off abroad?

Consider downloading bSafe, which allows the traveller to set up a personal network of family and friends and send notifications of their whereabouts using a GPS-enabled system.

You can even send an SOS alarm to your network if you find yourself in trouble.

Available for Android or iPhone

Learn to Speak the Local Language

It won’t make you fluent in Francaise or Espanol, but TripLingo will give you some key phrases to use in an emergency.

Whether it’s “Where is the nearest hospital?” or “I have been robbed”, you’ll be able to get your message across more effectively than if you’re relying on your high-school French.

The app has more than 2000 phrases in 13 different languages, plus a handy feature that instantly translates your voice. If necessary, you can also access a live human translator (for an additional per-minute fee).

Available for iPhone and Android