Never mind what Gwen Stefani said about being ‘just a girl in the world’. We reckon you’re a girl who runs the damn world, which is why you’re a globetrotting, adventuring sort who uses tech to stay in touch while you’re on the fly. Add these 5 safety apps to your roaming toolkit and rule even harder.
Nothing in the world should come between us and our dreams of exploring the global village. Unfortunately that village comes with its fair share of idiots, and while smart girls work hard to take the emphasis off victim blaming – like that girls should take care to ‘stay out of trouble’ when really it’s the maniacs out there who should be put on notice, we know that we need to keep our wits about us. So, let’s check out 5 apps that help us do just that.
BSAFE FOR EMERGENCIES
If you’re travelling alone you’ve only got one person to depend on. You. Unless you’ve got a phone in your pocket that’s connecting you to friends who can help, that is. Personal safety app bSafe offers a few excellent personal safety features that do just that. It can be used to privately alert designated contacts – known in the app as guardians – that you’ve arrived at your destination, send info about your changing GPS location and schedule faux phone calls to parachute you out of awkward situations, Tinder dates, and the like.
When you need real help, bSafe offers an audible alarm at the press of one button. Once activated, your guardians will be instantly alerted with your exact location. The app also starts recording audio and video captured by your phone. Information is continually collected and recorded, and is sharable with police should it prove necessary to do so. You can activate the alarm manually or you can use the Follow Me Timer mode, which which will send an emergency SOS message if you don’t check in before the timer runs out. This is great for late nights or a little extra safety on your morning run. Another great feature, bSafe offers directions to emergency services like the nearest police station and hospital. It’s a keeper.
BUGLE FOR PHONE-FREE
Many safety apps let you send a notification when you get somewhere. Instead, Bugle sends a notification when you don’t. Your emergency contacts will be alerted by text message and e-mail that you’re overdue
Created with input from Search and Rescue professionals, the Bugle app for iPhone was designed with outdoorsy types in mind like hikers and cyclists who don’t want to lug their phones with them but who wanted loved ones to know if they didn’t make it back home. We rate the app for travellers too who like moving about free-of-phone. To use Bugle, set how long you’re going to be gone for, and where you’re headed. If you don’t check in within the time limit, the app alerts your designated emergency contacts by email and text. Another way to use Bugle, is to bring it along on outings, but to use the timer as a back-up, in the event that something goes wrong and you can’t reach your phone to call for help. Bugle is great for really specific outings, but not so much for those lazy sangria-fuelled wanderings that time itself forgot. (We love those!)
- Download Bugle for Apple iOS devices only.
UBER FOR SHARED ETAS
Let’s put Uber’s controversies aside for a second and focus on the positives, because for a traveller, Uber is very positive. Firstly, your booking is recorded and your driver is a known entity with a face and a name and a valid drivers license. These are good things. Next, Uber is cashless. No scratching around your wallet for local currency, and less chance of being ripped off for being the tourist that you are as the fare transparent.
The element we really like though is the ability to share your journey and expected time of arrival with a mobile contact. This could be a mate on the ground with you, or a mate back home. Some sort of mate will do! The point is, your people know exactly where you are, and that’s a good thing for personal safety.
KITESTRING FOR SMS CHECK UPS
In the same way that Bugle tracks inactivity, Kitestring notifies your emergency contacts if don’t reply to a scheduled checkup. A difference here is that Kitestring is an SMS-based service, making it a go to for travellers without data. (International SMS rates apply outside the US/UK.) To activate, you text Kitestring that you’re heading out and give it a time frame of when to check in on you with a text message. If you don’t reply when it checks your status, Kitestring will alert your contacts with a custom message you set up.
You can easily delay the check-in time if you’re taking longer in transit by texting it ’20m’ for twenty more minutes, or turn it off entirely by texting ‘ok’, once you get where you were going safely. You can also set custom check-in and duress codes. If you text your duress code Kitestring will immediately (and discreetly) send your alert message to your emergency contacts. They’ve thought of everything, and it’s great.
- Signup to Kitestring online.
SAFETY MAP WORLDWIDE FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD CHECKS
Funny how turning a corner in a quaint little lane can land you in deadset dodgeville. Before setting off on your walking tour, let Safety Map Worldwide help you assess the level of public safety of just about any place on earth. You can view a five scale danger to safe rating, and read comments from other travellers. Safety Map Worldwide will also ping you with helpful notifications if you find yourself in a danger zone.
- Download Safety Map Worldwide Apple iOS devices only.
Safety first, even on holiday. Go smarter with Travel with Jane travel insurance.