Getting sick or injured while away from home is what worries most of the people who like to travel. Because emergencies may happen when we least expect them, it's important that we travel prepared, meaning that we need to be informed about local hospitals, emergency numbers, names of medications and conditions, and so on.
Most of us don't go anywhere without our mobile phone. There's plenty of mobile apps that can help us prepare to travel safely and stay healthy during our trip.
One of these apps is TravelSmart, a free app for Android and iOS made by Allianz Global Assistance, a leading provider of travel insurance and travel assistance. This app provides people who travel with real time flight information, international emergency numbers, the medical dictionary of Rx and First Aid terms, access to travel insurance information, and more.
Upon starting the app, you'd be asked to create an account. This is optional, however, in order to access all features and information, particularly those regarding travel insurance, you should register.
The app requires basic information, including your name, email address, and the password you wish to use. The newly registered account needs to be verified, which requires users to exit the app and verify their account from the email inbox.
While the verification is important, especially in the matter such as insurance, I found this part inconvenient, because most of the mobile apps that require and enable account registration allow in-app verification.
After registering an account (and verifying it) the app opens to the Home page, which contains the app's main features, including Flight Status, Medication Dictionary, First Aid Terms, Claims, Country Information, International Hospital Search, and Policy Information.
Flight Status feature allows users to track the status of their flight in real-time. Users can enter their flight number or use the search function to select departure and arrival airport. This feature provides on-time status and gate information.
You can add as many flights as you want by tapping on the plus icon. However, users can only put in the dates of flights within a three-day window (today, tomorrow, and the day after). Personally, I didn't like this and I think that information should be available for at least a week.
Medication Dictionary allows users who might need to refill their prescriptions while traveling abroad to store a photo of their prescription labels and find international names for common medications.
Users can browse through the list that is sorted alphabetically, or use search function, which makes things easier thanks to the autocomplete feature.
First Aid Terms simplifies the communication to all users who might require medical assistance abroad. This feature provides translations for common illnesses, injuries and first aid needs in 17 languages (except the English), including Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, and more.
Simply choose the direction of the translation (from-to), and then one of the 65 medical terms you want to translate. It would be good if there's an information on how to pronounce each word to avoid misunderstandings and delays in providing medical assistance.
Country Information section basically only includes emergency phone numbers for 217 foreign destinations that can be reached with one-touch dialing, including countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. There is also information about each country, but not in the app. You need to tap on the link and visit the country's Wikipedia entry.
While this solution is convenient, more information about each country would be more than useful, for example, information about local food, diseases, things you might need, health tips, etc. It doesn't require much effort or space in the app. Simple reminders in a form of bullets or list would be ok.
Another travel app we reviewed recently, CDC TravWell app, handled this very well, so other similar apps may take some notes.
International Hospital Search section allows users to look for the closest medical facility or healthcare provider in the country and city they travel to, along with their address, phone number (one-touch dialing), and website. The database includes 2,000 hospitals in 129 countries, which have been reviewed for travelers by Allianz Global Assistance.
Users who purchased a travel insurance policy from Allianz Global Assistance can use Claims and Policy Information features to store and manage their policy information, review coverage details, and access the information quickly and easily even without Internet.
This means something because most of the other features in the app require having an Internet or Wi-Fi connection, which can often be tricky when traveling.
Finally, the TravelSmart Hotline button at the bottom of the home screen allows travelers to quickly reach Allianz Global Assistance medical assistance or customer service from anywhere in the world. This button will give you peace of mind, knowing that you'll easily be able to reach the company should you have a claim or get sick or injured.
As a conclusion, while there are certainly some things I'd like to see improved, TravelSmart app is still a solid resource for all people who travel abroad and want to have the insurance policy and useful medical information at their fingertips.
Benefit: All travelers who need information about their trip, local medical resources, and insurance policy would find this app useful