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As a woman traveling solo, your phone can be a source of many things. It can help you stay connected to friends and family members back home — and new friends you meet on the road— and it can keep you from getting lost. While you may want to disconnect completely while on vacation, having a data roaming plan is important, so you at least have the option to access useful apps that translate languages, convert currencies, help you navigate a new city and organize your travel plans. Apps like these are definitely practical, but there are a few others you may want to download before leaving home if you’re a woman traveling the world alone.
An app that pegs itself as a so-called “female travel buddy,” Tourlina makes it clear right off the bat that it isn’t a dating app of any kind (though its interface is reminiscent of Tinder). Instead, it’s an app for women who are traveling alone and want to safely and easily connect with other women. The app takes safety very seriously, and only verified users can chat with other users. Once you enter your trip details (location and dates), you can swipe through other women with similar travel plans, choosing to connect with them based on mutual interests, age, languages spoken and more. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Smart Traveler is a free service that offers tips and information specifically for US travelers. It’s not exclusively for women, but it’s certainly one app every woman should have. You can check to see what visas and vaccines you’ll need before traveling and where to find help if you need it during your trip. Plan to register your trip on the app, which gives your information to local embassies and consulates in your destination. If there’s any kind of disaster or tragedy, the local embassy can contact you to see if you need help. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Another app based on building a community of solo women travelers, this one is all about empowerment. Chirpey has a strict verification process and only women are able to join the community. You can share and get advice on destinations, hostels, hotels, attractions and more, as well as ask for advice about particular events or attractions. You can also start or join events and meet-ups, meaning if you don’t want to hit up that Thai Lantern Festival alone, you can post it on Chirpey and others can sign up to join. Plus, if you have any kind of precarious situation or small emergency (for example, you lost your wallet or are feeling ill), you can drop a message in the app and women traveling in the area will be notified. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Kind of like Waze, this navigation map app allows users to see and report incidents or unsafe situations in the area. Here, you can see everything from road closures to panhandling, crowd acts, fires, vandalism, prostitution and even traffic, helping you to avoid situations that could be dangerous (or just annoying). And by contributing to RedZone, you’ll help others avoid them, too. Additionally, RedZone will find you find the safest route for walking, driving or biking (carefully avoiding spots with any of the aforementioned conditions) so you get to your destination safely and easily. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Similar to built-in SOS functions on smartphones and watches, having the MayDay app is another tool that can keep you safe in a threatening situation. If you hit the red MayDay button three times, family and friends will be notified of your precise location, and the fact that you’re in trouble. (Note that you must have data or a signal, and your location services must be turned on.) You’ll also need to set the app up in advance, ideally before traveling, so it’s ready in case you have an emergency. A new feature, called Overwatch, is coming soon to the app, and it will allow specific people to watch over your trip, in case you forget to call Mom or Dad when you arrive. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Another app dedicated to keeping you safe, TripWhistle maps your location and allows you to easily text or send your GPS coordinates or location. It also provides emergency numbers for firefighters, medical personnel and police in nearly 200 countries. After all, 911 is only for US-based emergencies, and each country has its own distinct number. Download for free for iPhone.
Noonlight is another safety app that, when you hold and release the main button, triggers a call to emergency services who can send help to your exact location. If you accidentally activate the button, you’ll have 10 seconds to enter your pin, and the alarm will be canceled. At the moment, this app is only available in the US. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
The odds that you may have to use a public toilet at some point while traveling are extremely high. This app from Charmin will help you find the nearest bathroom, and even provide information about how clean it is. You can also rate any public toilets you use, thereby helping other SitOrSquat users find clean and comfortable bathrooms while on the go. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
This app tracks your monthly cycle. While your period may not seem like a big deal, there are some countries in the world where it’s much more difficult to buy feminine hygiene products. With PeriodTracker, you’ll be able to pack everything you need, ensuring you won’t have to spend part of your trip wandering the souks of Morocco in search of tampons. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Traveling on your own means you’ll have plenty of time for reading. And books can be your friends, too! This app isn’t exclusively for women, of course, but it’s another app that all women should definitely consider downloading before embarking on a trip alone. The Kindle app gives you access to all your purchased books, and syncs them to the exact position you left them at on other devices, without requiring you to pack your e-reader. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
A Rideshare App
Having a rideshare app can be a lifesaver no matter where you are, especially if it’s late at night and you’re in a new city. Before traveling, see which ride sharing app is most popular (and safe) in your destination and download it, entering all your details and payment info before leaving. Lyft is popular in many US cities, Uber has a presence in many US and European cities (and beyond) and Grab largely covers the Asian market. Cabify is a solid choice for travelers to Spain and Latin America, while Taxify is becoming popular in many spots such as France, Australia and some countries in Africa. Careem is popular in Turkey and the Middle East.
Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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