Wanderlusting students, download these travel safety apps
Source: Slava Bowman/Unsplash

With natural disasters and terrorist attacks on the news so frequently, travel can be one hell of an anxiety-ridden experience.

Add to that the lack of local knowledge and customs for international students, and travel could turn from merely anxious to a potentially dangerous one.

But before you write off any form of travel while studying in your host country or your entire international education altogether, know that these are risks that can happen on any venture, even in your own home!

Natural disasters are unavoidable and as for terrorist attacks, yes they present a growing concern worldwide but as Matt Dumpert, a senior director at Kroll, a security consulting company in New York said: “The reality is that a terrorist attack can happen anywhere in the world at any time, so staying at home isn’t going to necessarily keep you safe.”

Plus, statistics show they are few and far in between.

Which means you should make the most of your education abroad by exploring as many towns, cities and states in your host country as possible. Risks are everywhere, but that should not deter you from traveling and enriching yourself.

In the era where there’s an app for everything, technology is always on hand to help you keep calm and travel on. These are some of our favourites:

1. FoneTrac

Business and student travelers can check in their location as often as they want, information which are then sent and monitored at a command centre.

When a situation develops, the international security app can alert the travelers as well as the university home base. Using the Panic alert feature, students an also send a Panic Alert from anywhere in the world.

It is compatible with iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry phones, and can be used on notepads, tablets and laptop computers.

But what we really like about this app is it can be interfaced with a US-based, multi-lingual, 24/7 Emergency Response Center. This gives students real-time access to a 24-hour manned facility of travel security experts AND 24-hour manned facility of medical security professionals.

2. US State Department Smart Traveler App

The official State Department app for US travelers gives you easy access to official country information, travel alerts, warnings, maps, US embassy locations and more.

What makes this app stand out is you can, for the most part, trust the veracity of its information, which we must note, is frequently updated. It’s free for download and available for both iPhone and Android.

3. TravelSafe Pro

Building on No. 2, this app comes with emergency numbers of all the countries as well as embassy information of your country for the location you are visiting.

Other information included are tip calculators, currency exchange rate calculator, panic button widget (where you can send SMS to three registered contacts) and other miscellaneous ones like voltages, plug types, timezones, etc.

Another plus point is the majority of the functions don’t need any internet connection. Do note, however, that users have commented that some embassy numbers have not been updated.

4. Circle of 6

Originally designed for students to protect against violence on campus, Circle of 6 is now widely used by teenagers, parents, friends and communities everywhere. The app enables users to inform their close contacts where they are and how they can help in a situation of need.

Using the app, a winner of the White House/HHS “Apps Against Abuse” Technology Challenge, is simple:

  • Add up to six people from your contacts to join your circle. Choose good friends or any trusted adult.
  • Pin Icon “Come Get Me” sends a text to your Circle that says: “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.”
  • Phone Icon “Call Me” sends a text to your Circle that says: “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”
  • Chat icon “I Need To Talk” sends a text to your Circle that says: “I need to talk.”
  • Phone Out Hotlines gives direct access to national hotlines and a specialized hotline of your choice, such as LGBTQ, Spanish-language, etc. based on your personal priorities.

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