If there’s one thing that’s sure to make your travel checklist whenever you leave the house, it’s got to be your smartphone. Whether you’re taking off on a cross-country road trip, catching a flight to someplace tropical or planning a railway excursion through Europe, there’s no doubt your phone will play a major role in your trip.
From locating a new place to eat to capturing the trip’s best sunset, your phone can help you make the most of every moment you spend traveling, but did you know it can also prove essential when things aren’t going so smoothly?
These five apps are specifically designed to help keep you safe while traveling abroad:
- Smart Traveler
The U.S. Department of State offers vacationers its best travel resources in one place with the Smart Traveler mobile app. Whether a missing passport has you in search of the closest embassy or you simply want access to up-to-date maps and travel alerts, the Smart Traveler app has your back. It even features the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which you can use to connect with family and friends after an emergency. The best part about the app? It’s available at no cost for both Apple and Android devices.
bSafe is like a Swiss Army Knife for your smartphone, packing every tool you might (and even some you probably won’t) need away from home into a single, handy app. With features that allow you to send an alert or your location to your closest friends with the tap of a button, bSafe is ideal for groups looking for an easier way to keep an eye on one another. Other clever features include a service that lets you reach out to nearby friends for a walk home, and even a Fake Call tool that can help you get out of awkward situations in a pinch.
- Travel Safe / !Emergency!
These two apps serve a simple but essential function for people traveling outside the country - they can help you find the appropriate emergency phone numbers no matter where you are in the world. Need an ambulance in Dublin? Have an emergency in Rome? These apps can connect you to the local authorities in just a few taps.
- Safer Travel
Once upon a time, you might have stopped at your local bookstore to purchase a travel guide before exploring a new state or country. Now, you can get all the information you need from Safer Travel. Chock full of safety tips, interactive maps, currency exchange rates and other highlights, Safer Travel is your one-stop digital travel encyclopedia.
Especially in foreign countries where your cell phone might not connect to a network, public Wi-Fi hotspots might feel like an oasis in the desert, giving you a chance to check in with your friends back home or catch up on emails from a coffee shop between destinations. As convenient as they are, however, public networks are relatively unsafe. While they might be appropriate for casually browsing the web, it’s important not to use public Wi-Fi to access any of your personal accounts, such as your email, social media or bank accounts, which contain sensitive personal and financial information.
Using a virtual private network, however, can help protect your browsing session from the prying eyes of identity thieves. VyprVPN is a mobile application that encrypts your browsing information before it passes through the network. While it usually costs a small fee to install and use a mobile VPN, it is well worth the cost to add a layer of protection between your personal information and any potential fraudsters who are also connected to the public network.
Even with these apps at your disposal, traveling can increase your risk of being targeted for identity theft. Signing up for a credit monitoring service like Identity Guard before you leave can help you better protect your identity, as it can alert you to certain activity on your account that may indicate fraud. To learn more, contact us before your next trip!