The Top Five Apps For Not Dying in a Foreign Country

So, you want to travel the world, but you watch the news and you’re worried about some of the things that can happen. The world is a dangerous place, and it’s worse if you’re not familiar with local laws, services, and customs. So how can you keep yourself and your family safe travelling overseas? Obviously, you can never totally eliminate the risk, but your smartphone can definitely help! With these five useful apps, you can…

5. Speak to the Natives in Their Own Language

Google Translate – Android/IOS – Free

So, you didn’t listen to your mother, and you ate the street food. Ten fifty-cent tacos later, and you’re in real trouble, and you need to find a bathroom now. You’ve found someone who might be able to direct you, but you spent high-school Spanish trying to flirt with the hot guy/girl across the row, and you definitely don’t have time to go flipping through your little phrase book.

With the official Google Translate App, one tap translates spoken English into any one of dozens of supported languages, and reads the results in natural language. It also translates anything they say back into English for you. The translations aren’t perfect, but they’re more than good enough to save you from Montezuma’s revenge. Even better, the app also translates signs and labels automatically using your phone’s camera. At that price point, this app is a must-have for would-be world travelers.

4. Keep an Eye on the Weather

AccuWeather – Android – Free

Okay, so the weather isn’t all that shiny. Still, there’s a fine line between your camping party and the Donner party, and that line is zero degrees Fahrenheit. AccuWeather provides up-to-the-minute information about the weather, no matter where you are in the world. If you’re going anywhere even a little bit outside of civilization, knowing what mother nature has in store is invaluable, especially if you don’t know the local climes well enough to judge her moods.

3. Get Help When You’re Sick

mPassport – IOS – Free

Let’s say you’re in trouble – you licked a public telephone pole or tried to ski backwards or ate something optimistically called a ‘Meat Surprise!’ However it happened, you’re sick or injured, you need help, and you’re stuck in a foreign country. In the US, you’d go to a doctor, find a pharmacy or, call 911. All of these tasks are made virtually impossible if you don’t speak the language.

Fortunately, mPassport has your back. The app can tell you the emergency services number for most places in the world, direct you to pharmacies, schedule doctor’s visits, and even order prescriptions.

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Smart Traveler – Android/IOS – Free

Sometimes, there are things you need to know. If a crazed killer is on the loose in Minsk turning people into tasteful handbags, or if a huge tidal wave is inbound, this is stuff you need to know right away. Fortunately, this helpful app from the state department keeps you up to date with the latest travel alerts and travel warnings, along with the latest maps, and the location of the nearest US Embassies if you’re in real trouble.

1. Quickly Call Emergency Services

Help Call – IOS – $2.99

Sometimes you don’t want an app – sometimes, you just need help, now, with no fuss. The beauty of this app is how minimalistic it is. You open it, and are presented with four large, friendly tiles asking what kind of help you need. You select the relevant one, and the app makes the call. That’s it. No looking up numbers for what country you’re in. No trying to type anything. Two taps, and help is on its way. When an emergency is underway and you’re far from home, it’s exactly what you need.

Scott Johnson is a blogger who writes tech and gadget articles for a variety of clients such as phone insurance brand.