If there has ever been anything which has held us back from fulfilling our travel ambitions, it’s fear for our safety. Going out there into the wider world, to foreign lands can be more than a little daunting, even for groups, but in this new age of advancing technology there’s more and more we can do to safeguard ourselves against the dangers which have faced tourists since the dawn of travel for leisure. Thank heavens for the smartphone!
Where on Earth?
Amongst the most important advances in mobile technology to the safety of tourists has been the rise in GPS and maps-based apps. A phone with a decent GPS signal can pinpoint its location to an accuracy of within (and sometimes far greater than) 100 meters. This means that whilst you can still end up in the middle of nowhere, you can tell exactly where that is with a glance at Google Maps. The feeling of being totally lost in a foreign city is misery incarnate. It’s also something which we needn’t experience any longer.
The usefulness of this technology doesn’t stop with situations in which the user is lost. It also comes into play when the user urgently needs to find a location. If you’re in dire straits and need to make your way to the UK embassy or a police station, you’re just a few taps of a touch screen away from knowing exactly where that is and seeing a route to the location displayed on-screen with helpful arrows to guide you.
A little assistance
It’s easy to lose track of where you’re meant to be and when you’re meant to be there during your travels. Thankfully, in this day and age your phone isn’t just your phone, it’s your personal assistant/borderline nanny. The latest iPhones are particularly well equipped to organise your lives, thanks in no small part to a certain disembodied voice named ‘Siri.’ This knowledgeable navigator can plan your diary, set you reminders and even search the web for transport information – Simply ask Siri to find “flights to Larnaca” for example, and you’ll have some useful information at your fingertips in barely any more time than it takes to ask for it. If you have an Android device, then ‘Google Now’ offers similar functionality.
Now you’re speaking my language
One of the greatest barriers towards resolving problematic or unsafe situations during travelling can be languages. It’s polite and commendable to attempt to learn the language of a place before visiting it, but sometimes this simply isn’t possible. Check out Google Translate. This handy application could help you get your point across when you need to most urgently by translating your speech from English to the relevant foreign language.