06/02/2014 12:24 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Mobile Apps for Safer Travel


Shortly before taking this picture, Laurie and I were attacked for an attempted mugging in Istanbul, Turkey. Talking about safer travel is something I take to heart; I'm discussing five real situations I have personally been in or have friends who were in, and an easy way to have reduced the risk of said situation with a mobile app.

Technology is a beautiful thing, let's use it to our advantage.

1. Situation: Passport and credit cards were stolen; you've been the victim of a crime; the local authorities make you uncomfortable; there's a terrorist attack, natural disaster, etc.

Use "Find Your Embassy" from the Department of State to find the nearest U.S. embassy anywhere in the world -- gives maps and contact information. Travel alerts and warnings are also available.

2. Situation: While overseas, someone in your group has an allergic reaction, asthma attack, etc and is in need of a hospital or pharmacy -- but there's a language barrier to ask anyone in your proximity for help.

TripLingo provides a series of emergency phrases. Practice the phrases with games and quizzes, connect to a voice translator, or connect to a real life translator. Bonus wi-fi dialer and tip calculator, so your waiter doesn't shank you for being cheap.

3. Situation: It's late, you lost your kids (or rather your kids lost their parents), you lost your friends, your partner etc -- the person who didn't organize your trip is lost, and can't remember where the hotel or hostel is, none-the-less even remember how to pronounce the name of your stay in Thai, Croatian, or whatever the local language is.

Everyone should keep track of their itinerary! Use an app like TripIt for leisure travel or Concur for business travelers to have easy access to where you need to be.
Keep a hotel/hostel business card as back app in case your phone dies.

4. Situation: Sh*t what's 911 for Prague?!

!Emergency! App will provide the important numbers of the country you are in, and automatically dial the correct number should you need it.

5. Situation: You're walking into a neighborhood just across from the "safe" neighborhood you're staying in to catch a picture of the sunset. Turns out that neighborhood is flagged by locals as a high-crime area of drugs, prostitution etc (but your hotel receptionist failed to mention this)... you get attacked in broad daylight (WITH someone) for an attempted mugging. Why didn't someone just mention, "don't cross the major highway?"

Safety Map Worldwide let's you find the level of public safety of any place on earth. You can read comments and rating of others for a five scale danger to safe rating. You'll also get helpful notifications if you find yourself in a danger zone.

I've actually been or been with someone in every single one of these situations, the last being the most recent in Istanbul. We're at risk for danger whether we are in a familiar neighborhood or abroad; external factors are beyond our own control. However, some situations (like forgetting where you are staying) can be prevented.



An original TRAVLEBREAK post. Last photo by Laurie Satran, travel photographer and blogger from the Art of Breaking Bread.


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Stephanie Be is an award-winning writer, photographer and travel expert. Having traveled to over 200 places, the entrepretraveler and UCLA Alumna has a passion for adventure, lifestyle and motivation. Learn more on, follower her on Instagram @StephBeTravel, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat: TravelBreak.