Mobile apps may not necessarily make you safer when travelling solo

As I was writing this article, I was fortunate enough to be at a conference in Florence, Italy. Like a growing number of women who travel overseas, whether for work or leisure, many of the trips I’ve done in recent years have been alone. And as a digital criminologist (as well as a mobile app enthusiast), I’m certainly a convert to the practical usefulness of technologies for travel.

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There are a wide variety of smartphone apps that certainly make travelling alone easier to navigate.

Think offline maps, language translation, transport timetables, online ticket bookings, Uber, electronic banking, virtual private networks (VPNs, especially if using electronic banking on public Wi-Fi), and updating friends and family about one’s activities.

Then there are the more specific “safety” technologies. Some of them, like the Australian government’s Smart Traveller website, allow voyagers to register their intended whereabouts in case of a natural disaster or emergency. Travellers can also keep up to date with local risk and incident alerts, which can help you to steer clear if there is an incident in the city you’re headed to.Others, like BSafe and Bugle, allow you to easily notify your emergency contacts if you feel unsafe, or do not arrive at your intended destination.But while these apps might make

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