Are you considering taking a trip alone? Do you regularly travel alone?
Smartphones have made travel more manageable but have also added a level of safety and organization that was previously unattainable for most novices. Here are some tips and tricks that will help make your travels less frustrating no matter what happens.
Solo travelers should take extra care to make safety their #1 priority. Unexpected situations are more controllable if you have a few critical things in place before your journey begins.
First, make sure you set up location sharing with your phone for the duration of your travels.
Second, you’ll want to set up regular check-in periods to confirm all is well. Consider every third day, or every evening, a simple text letting your buddy know that all is well.
Third, choose a tech-savvy, responsible friend or family member. Don’t rely on an oblivious person that is never near their phone. If you need assistance, they will have to locate you, get help, and follow up to ensure your safety.
If you have an iPhone, the Find My app that comes pre-installed is a great tool that allows friends and family to know where you are at any moment. To get started, open the Find My app and tap the People icon at the bottom, and tap Share My Location.
Next, enter the name or phone number of the person with whom you want to share your location. You can choose to share it for an hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely. There’s also an option to notify your friend when you leave or arrive at a particular destination.
For non-Apple phones, use Google Maps to set up location sharing. Like the Find My app, you can choose who you want to see your location and how long you want them to see it. They don’t have to have a Gmail address to use this method.
Fourth, update your emergency contacts and the Medical ID information on your phone. For iPhone users, it’s in the Health App, and for Android phones, it’s under Settings, Users, Emergency Contact Info.
This data will help first responders if you are in an emergency situation. They are trained to check these sections of your phone in case of a medical emergency when you are not responsive.
Spend time before your trip to enter all pertinent health information in the medical ID. Don’t skip sections. Include your birth date, medical conditions, allergies, medications, and blood type. Also, make sure you have at least two emergency contacts listed here. These people must already be in your Contacts app and have valid telephone numbers.
Regarding medications, besides having the information listed in your health app, it is also a good idea to have photos of all medicines with the entire prescription legible. You may need a refill in a different state or country if you lose anything, and only the original bottle will help.
Whether traveling abroad or at home, have your insurance information at your fingertips. Most carriers have apps that contain your insurance card. Create online access and log in to the app to learn how to use it.
Also, just in case, scan your insurance card(s), front and back, so you can easily pull it up if needed. Then, verify you know how to get to it on your phone.
Scan your passport and have copies available on your phone and printed out in your luggage. If your bags and wallet or purse are stolen with your ticket, you’ll need an accessible copy. Again, keeping a copy on your phone in a secure app is the best solution.
The more organized you are before you go on your trip, the less frustration you will have during your adventures. Using a travel planner app, such as TripIt, is a great way to keep all of your itinerary information in a convenient location. In addition, it allows you to easily access your hotel, car rental, and flight reservations within one app.
Once you create an account on TripIt, it will build itineraries based on confirmation emails for flights, accommodations, restaurant reservations, and other activities. The information is automatically forwarded to the app from your email, or you can manually forward confirmation emails.
TripIt is my favorite because it works seamlessly. I have used it for years with great success. The app also allows you to share your trip with other people who are not traveling or sync it with your calendar.
Lastly, it is wise to have apps from each airline you will be using during your travels on your phone. Create an account with each one, so your flight itinerary is easily accessible within the app. It’s not enough to have the complete itinerary in an app like TripIt. You cannot check in or buy a flight using a travel management app. You need the airline app.
I hope you find comfort and a game plan from the tips listed. I haven’t included adding the AirBnB app or specific city apps. Instead, my focus is getting you organized and prepared should the worst happen.
Do you love traveling solo? Are you planning your first solo trip? What’s your biggest concern? Have you ever used any of the tips I’ve suggested in the article? What are your favorite travel apps that make your trips more enjoyable?