As a woman, traveling solo should be less about fear and more about being able to experience new countries, cultures and meeting new people. Sometimes our fear of the unknown can prevent us from living our lives to the fullest and breaking out of our comfort zone.
Over the years and during my time traveling within the United States and abroad, I have relied on many phone apps to not only help me feel more secure while traveling solo but, also to make the whole journey a much smoother one.
Although you may want to completely disconnect while exploring, having a data plan and some – if not all – of these apps is worth it!
Noonlight, formerly SafeTrek – free or premium for $2.99/month
For now, Noonlight is only available in the US and bridges the gap between calling 911 and doing nothing if you find yourself in an emergency. I use this app in my daily life and have found comfort quite often by having it. Since its establishment in 2013, Noonlight has answered over 50,000 across the country and has protected over 1 million mobile users.
By holding down the Noonlight button, the app passively connects you to the police. Should you find yourself in an unsafe situation, release the button and your live location will be shared to emergency services while you are connected to a real dispatcher. Confirm your safety by releasing the button and typing in your 4-digit pin.
In 2018, the app was upgraded, and it now allows you to add your timeline of events when triggered (i.e. I’m going on a blind date) so, if something occurs police can see a timeline of your night’s events. It also can sync with other apps increasing your safety.
- Alexa/Google Home so, if you phone is out of reach you can use Alexa’s voice command to connect.
- Your smart watch using timer or panic mode.
- Nest to get help when heavy smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.
- Lyft/Uber to send driver and trip info to police when you trigger an alarm.
SafeVPN – $6.99 – $8.99
It is always important to be aware of your safety online, especially while traveling. SafeVPN provides:
- Private and secure access to the internet
- Encrypt your data to protect you from someone grabbing your passwords or other sensitive information
If you travel a lot for work, this is a must have.
Wi-Fi Map – Free
Even with a data plan, nothing beats a strong internet connection on Wi-Fi. However, when traveling that may not be the easiest to find. With the free Wi-Fi Map app, you will be able to locate free and fast Wi-Fi signals around you. Just be sure to have SafeVPN installed too because these Wi-Fi connections are public meaning many people will have access to the connection and your data if not protected.
RedZone – Free
Much like Waze, RedZone map is a live navigation app on the next level. Using reliable crime data information from government agencies, the app creates custom and quick safety and risk routes based on crime, safety and traffic conditions.
The app also comes with a safety meter to help you be more aware of your surroundings whether searching for a restaurant or heading to a tourist site. This is a must have if you are a solo travel woman.
Smart Traveler – Free
Smart Traveler is the official State Department app for U.S. travelers. The app gives travelers access to:
- Fact sheets on current US relations with a specific country.
- Current travel warnings and alerts.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which enrolls you with the nearest Embassy or Consulate.
Rome2Rio app – Free
Airplanes, trains and automobiles – all forms of transportation and always a struggle to choose between them. With Rome2Rio you can enter any address, destination or landmark and you will instantly get matched will all different forms of transportation so you can choose which is the best option for you.
SitOrSquat – Free
I have been to many countries where finding a usable toilet was a rare find. This app made it much easier. Some countries you will find that one bathroom is not like the other. Some you must pay to use, and others are literally a hole in the ground. SitOrSquat is an app that will help you find public restrooms nearest to your location. Rate restrooms after use to help others learn where is best to “Sit” or “Squat”.
SkyScanner – Free
By far the best app to find inexpensive flights, Skyscanner dives deep into over 1,200 travel sites to find you the best deals. Think of all the money you can save for delicious food and cool souvenirs.
Tourlina – Free w/in app purchases
Your female buddy travel app, Tourlina is great for finding other likeminded solo travel woman using a secure and trusted network. Enter your travel dates and destinations and Tourlina pairs you with other travels so, you can choose if you want to pal around with someone who has mutual interests and wanderlust. Don’t worry, Tourlina verifies every new user.
Drops: Language Learning – Free w/in app purchases
Learn up to 32 free languages by dedicating only 5 minutes a day. Seriously, that is it. With 100% visual learning, the Drops: Language Learning app uses professionally curated wordlists with more than 2600 words that cover 90% of everyday word usage.
Bonus app: Mobile Passport
Want the perks of global entry without paying for it? Mobile Passport is the answer. Now, it’s only available in larger hubs. 26 ports of entry to be exact. However, where you can use it no interviews are necessary and you can access express lanes. Pay a small fee and you get document scanning and passport storage.
I probably could go on and on and give many more apps that will both aid in your travel efficiency and help you feel safer while traveling but, my next adventure is calling.
If you download any of these apps, let me know how they help you on your adventures. I love hearing from you.
PS: Some other great apps to download:
- Rideshare: Lyft (US), Uber (US and Europe), Grab (Asia), Cabify (Spain and Latin America), Bolt, formerly Taxify (France), Careem (Middle East and Turkey) and MyTaxi (Europe’s largest taxi app)
- Trip Whistle: Great for international travel. The app finds your location and allows you to reach local emergency police, fire and more with a single touch.
- American Red Cross: Be prepared in case of an emergency
- Clue: Period Tracking App: It is not as easy in some countries to find feminine hygiene products. Know your cycle so you can be proactive.