When you travel you are in a new environment without any idea of how safe you are. You can easily find yourself in the wrong part of town or unaware of the hazards you might encounter. You might be alone or have lost the people you with or simply cannot find them. There are ways to reduce your risk and also some handy apps that can help you be more safety conscious. These are some apps that can help you assess the safety of areas you might be considering travelling to, help locate you and make you feel more safe.

Apps That Give You Safety Advice

Sitata (Travel Safe)

Sitata is a great little app that offers excellent safety advice. Add your trip dates, cities and activities to your itinerary and the destinations page will show a map of the country along with the level of caution you should take, low, high or do not travel. There are alerts, including airline suspensions, disease outbreaks, and crimes, such as kidnappings. The areas where incidents occur are mentioned so that you can avoid those parts of the country in particular. If there are any travel advisories by governments, these are given too. The app does list a lot of incidents for some relatively safe countries, some of which are not that serious and can make the place seem more hazardous than it is, so use your judgment when assessing the information.

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Helpfully, Sitata has listings of hospitals, including directions and contact details. It would be great if it could include a rating, as the health care provided can vary significantly. The app suggests vaccinations that you might need, prevalent diseases and medications you might want to consider, but it is always best to consult a health professional that can advise you using your personal health history too. The safety advisory information is fair, with good advice regarding emergency numbers, crimes, transport, and what is considered to be illegal in that country, which might surprise you.

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If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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One of the nice features of this app is that it will also notify you of any travel disrupting events for the entire country you are visiting, such as political unrest. This is a really good idea for when you are travelling, so that you are aware of any changes whilst you are away.

 

Smart Traveler

Although this is an app for US citizens provided by the US Government anyone can use the data provided to make a judgement on how safe a country is. It does give a detailed safety and security review, travel and transport assessments, health advice and also information about local laws that you need to be aware of. However, it gives information about entry and exit visas, as well as US embassy locations, which are only really useful to travelers who are US citizens.

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Much of the app information requires you to click through to a website where you can get more information, which although is great to get extra information does mean the app is more of a gateway than an encyclopedia. There are no maps or crowdsourced data either, which means it is restricted to officially sourced and reported incidents only.

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If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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Apps That Track Your Whereabouts

Life360 

This app is usually used by parents wanting to know if their children have sneaked out of a window whilst grounded or are playing truant from school. However, it is very useful as a locator for friends and family members who are travelling, so that you can reassure those who are left behind that you are safe or make sure that you do not lose your friends at a foreign festival, for example.

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You can send messages, add emergency contacts and set up ‘circles’ – people that you can group together that may want to know each other’s locations but not another ‘circle’, for example, ‘family’, ‘festival friends’. You can choose to switch the location sharing off, which might not be so helpful!

For anyone visiting the US, there are purple dots on the map to indicate crime alerts for that location, which you need to activate in your settings. The app is a little bit limiting if you do not have friends or family nearby where you are, and it is always best to phone the local emergency services rather than a contact far away in the case of an urgent situation. It is, however, free to use and also can help you retrieve a lost phone!

bSafe 

This app tracks your whereabouts similarly to Life360 but with a slightly more adult approach. It offers a series of functions to make your movements safer, from tracking your journey through a timer to voice activating your ‘guardians’ – people you can nominate to follow you in an emergency. There is an SOS alarm so your guardians can see and hear you as they are live streamed everything that is happening to you through your phone’s camera and microphone, which is also recorded and sent to them. They can also be invited to ‘walk with you’ and track you through GPS coordinates making sure that you reach your destination safely, as well as being able to check-in to locations once you have arrived. Another useful feature is the ‘fake call’ – your phone can call you if you need an excuse to get out of an awkward situation plus a siren alarm function is available if it takes a turn for the worse. Unfortunately, most of these features are only available for ‘premium users’ i.e. those who have paid.

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This app is mainly designed to help you whilst you are on the move or already in a situation, rather than giving advice about how safe the area is or providing information before you get there. There are no feedback mechanisms, where people could give others an idea of what that street, area or venue is like for those travelling alone. It does, however, give people more confidence about going out alone, which is fantastic and very empowering for users.

Apps That Rate An Area For Safety

Safetipin

Safetipin combines the tracking features of Life360 and bSafe with scores rating how safe an area or place is. The scores are determined using different factors, such as level of lighting, number of people, transport, how open the area is and gender diversity. Additionally, it provides the location of safe places, so you can easily find somewhere such as a hospital or hotel if you end up in an unsafe area. It also uses crowdsourced data so you can see what a person has felt in that place and add your own ‘feelings’ too.

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So far Safetipin has information regarding ten Indian cities, plus one city in Kenya, the Philippines, Colombia, and Indonesia but it does need to be rolled out on a larger scale to more cities and countries. Where Safetipin is active you can use the map function to see pins – places where people have rated that area for safety and pictures. The information is very up-to-date, with recent reports from users, which is great. It would be even better if any safety incidents could be flagged too, so that the level of crime could be assessed as well.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.
If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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Harassmap/Kharita

This app crowdsources sexual harassment incidents so that by reporting the incident, or intervention, this type of crime is recognised, stigmatised and reduced. There are tips on how to intervene and re-educate the harasser so that they understand that they are behaving inappropriately. Currently, the app shows reports of sexual harassment in Egypt, where it is a significant problem. If you are travelling there you can see where and what incidents have occurred. Although some of these reports can be years old, making areas appear very unsavoury at first, it is useful to know what kind of experience to expect, and how to handle it.

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Over 80 countries are working on a similar version of the app, which will tackle some of the sexual harassment that residents and visitors receive. However, the data is very much focused on Egypt and the sooner this expands to more countries the better. The group behind the app campaign are actively working towards a zero-tolerance society and are implementing anti-harassment policies with institutions. By taking action and contributing to the map, everyone can take their part in this project and help create a more pleasant world.

It is good to use a combination of these apps to help you assess the safety of where you potentially are travelling to, where you eventually decide to go and where you might have ended up by accident. Of course, an app cannot prevent you from being attacked or being involved in an accident, but they can help you be prepared. If you are facing a safety problem, it may be more sensible to tackle the situation first, rather than reaching for your phone, so do also bear that in mind. Also, if you do experience a safety issue, then reporting this to the local authorities, your own countries embassy and, if present in the location, the crowdsourcing apps, then this will help the apps with better information to use to help others.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.
If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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