The Best Apps for Solo Travelers

Your smartphone can be your best friend when you are traveling alone. Caretaker, travel planner, and lifeline. That means you’d better have the right apps to help you get around and stay safe.   Note that a number of these solo travel apps require the creation of an account, profile setup, location tracking to be turned on, and other fussing around. Leave time to take care of this before you leave home.

Your smartphone can be your best friend when you are traveling alone. Caretaker, travel planner, and lifeline. That means you’d better have the right apps to help you get around and stay safe.

Note that a number of these solo travel apps require the creation of an account, profile setup, location tracking to be turned on, and other fussing around. Leave time to take care of this before you leave home.


Safety Apps for Solo Travelers

TripWhistle Global SOS (iOS) helps solve the challenge of knowing the 911 equivalent abroad; it’ll call the local emergency number for you and share your location if you need it. (Here’s hoping you never do.)

The RedZone Map app (iOS | Android) offers the safest route from point to point instead of the most direct, based on various crime and social data. The app tracks incidents in real time to route you around them, although it does depend on reports from what appears to be a small user base at present. I tried it in several areas with which I am pretty familiar, and it did show less safe areas pretty accurately.

My Safetipin (iOS | Android) is an India-based app currently available in only five countries that will assess the area; give it a safety score based on nine parameters including lighting, population density, and transportation; and then suggest where to go. It also has a night mode for neighborhoods that may be less safe at night, and has functions that will allow you to notify authorities if you get into trouble.

Translation Apps

Language barriers can loom even larger when traveling alone since you have no companions to fill in gaps in your own vocabulary. Google Translate (iOS | Android) is most folks’ go-to app, but Microsoft Translator (iOS | Android) has been gaining ground of late. For an in-depth comparison of their functions,

Lodging Apps

Sure, you could check into an anonymous hotel and hole up in your room on a high floor, but many solo travelers are looking for lodging options that offer more of an opportunity to meet local people. Apps like Airbnb (iOS | Android) and Couchsurfing (iOS | Android) give travelers the chance to interact directly with a local host. If you’re more interested in meeting fellow travelers, consider booking a hostel stay through Hostelworld (iOS | Android).


Tour and Activity Apps
Joining a group tour can help you find other travelers to talk to if you’re feeling lonely. One app to help you find tours and activities is the Peek app (iOS or Peek.com), which was recently recommended by Melinda Gates. While researching an upcoming trip to the West Coast, I found truly a ton of stuff to do—it would have been almost too much were it not for the “handpicked activities just for you” feature, which narrowed my options down to 33 from more than 400. Those options were based on the profile I generated at sign-in, however, which resulted in a bit more of a narrow selection than I might have searched for myself.

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