With continued changes and increases in new technologies, we presently have more tools than ever to ensure our safety on the road. One of the most important tools are the smartphones.
With the touch of a few buttons, travelers around the world can communicate with their loved ones, check email and book dinner reservations at their favorite restaurant. However, were you aware that your smartphone can also be your life line when you are visiting another country?
No person wants to contemplate the worst case scenario during his/her international travels. But in case something happens, your smartphone can be your first point of contact to assistance from your home country consulate, the local authorities and even your travel insurance company. Prior to you boarding your plane for your international departure, you should ensure that you have these 3 apps downloaded to your cell phone.
Safer Travel by Caroline's Rainbow Foundation
The Safer Travel app is one of the most brilliant applications created for international travelers. It’s free to download and offers amazing downloadable guides for major cities worldwide. Just download the country you will be travelling to in advance, and you will have a complete guidebook downloaded and accessible on demand! What makes the Safer Travel app valuable is the functionality without demands or data costs: once you have downloaded the country guide, you will no longer have to depend on a data connection to get the information you want. Just call up the app, and pick your city to view everything the application has to offer!
Besides the downloaded maps to your tablet or phone and the local information about the city, the app also provides valuable contact information at the tap of a button. Instantly, you can find the location of your nearest embassy, determine where the hospitals are, access emergency numbers and even find the closest tourist office. If that was not enough, this application also gives you advice on the areas of your destination that you should avoid. When it comes to pre-trip advice and safety planning that will not hurt your finances, the Safer Travel application is the full package.
TripLingo by TripLingo, LLC
Before you depart for your international trip, you may want to learn as much as is possible about the language that’s spoken in your destination country. But determining every tense, node and verb, can be a daunting task. More importantly, you might not remember your finest language skills at a crucial moment – like asking for directions to a hospital or telling the server you require a gluten free option. This is where the TripLingo app comes to your rescue: even the greenest travelers can use it to learn basic language skills on-the-spot.
Just like the Safer Travel application, the TripLingo application enables you to download all the information you will ever require before you arrive at your destination. And while the Safer Travel app concentrates on all the things you should know to ensure your safety, the TripLingo application helps you to communicate effectively with the local people in their own language. If you are completely stuck, the app enables you to get live translations by calling a live translator over a WiFi connection or by speaking into your mobile phone. Be advised that both of these translation services need some data usage, or an extra purchase within the TripLingo app. Nevertheless, the added cost can be completely worth it when you are unable to communicate because of a huge language barrier, and you urgently require help.
Smarter Travel by the United States Department of State
For travelers who call the U.S. home and who also travel abroad frequently, the Smarter Travel application from the United States Department of State is a must have. The application enables you to search for customs information and facts from nearly all countries in the world, and delivers useful information that you should know before you arrive at your destination. Besides destination facts, the application also delivers travel alerts and warnings straight to you – it does not matter where you’re in the world.
Nevertheless, the most essential function of this app is enabling travelers to enroll in STEP (Smart Travel Enrollment Program). STEP is a free program that automatically enrolls travelers with the local United States Embassy or Consulate in their area, enabling the consulate to contact the travelers in case an emergency situation occurs. Although this app offers amazing features, you need to turn on your phone’s data connection to access its full functionality. If you leave your phone’s data roaming on, you may be left with a huge cell phone bill when you go back home.
You will pack movies and music on your smartphone – but do not forget to download these safer travel applications as well. By installing the right applications in your smartphone before takeoff, you can help your trips go as smoothly as possible!