No matter how carefully you prepare, emergencies can happen when you’re traveling. Be ready for the worst case scenarios with these five apps that could end up saving your life abroad. (Android users, we’re sorry—we set out to find the absolute best life-saving apps out there, and it just turned out that they were all only available on the iPhone. If we missed any on other platforms, please let us know in the comments!)
Everyone should keep an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact on their phone. But what about when you’re abroad and don’t speak the language? ICE 4 Travel lets you store information on your immunizations, allergies, medications, emergency contacts, and other life-saving information on your phone—and translates it all into seven different languages. ($2.99)
When you’re traveling, you can go for days without reading a newspaper or hearing what’s going on in the world. But what if something is happening in the place you’re visiting that you need to know about? Download Smart Traveler (no relation to SmarterTravel; this is the State Department’s official app) and you’ll be kept in the loop about travel alerts and warnings. There’s also a great “Know Before You Go” section that will tell you what the entry/exit requirements are for countries, local laws, and even where the nearest U.S. embassy is located. (Free)
Traveling a bit closer to home? If you’re planning on taking a bus, you should download the Department of Transportation’s SaferBus app. Look up safety ratings and records for bus companies. Frighteningly, some companies are deemed “not allowed to operate,” so if you’ve bought a ticket on one of those, you should cancel it. (Free)
Sure, everyone knows to call 911 in an emergency—but what’s the right number when you’re abroad? Download the Help Call app and it will automatically detect your location. Then you can simply press one button to be connected to the local police, fire, or ambulance. You can also set it to call for help just by shaking the iPhone—or to call a designated emergency contact. ($2.99)
Ever found yourself in a pharmacy trying to mime the symptoms of an upset stomach because you didn’t speak the language? Avoid the embarrassing charades game with this app that will find the local brand equivalent of a medicine that you’re looking for, translate medical terms and phrases, and help you find a doctor, dentist, hospital, or pharmacy nearby. You can even use the app to schedule a medical appointment! ($0.99 per city)
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