Travel writers don’t talk about travel insurance very much. You’ll find very little about the subject in those glossy magazine articles or in budget round-the-world blogs.
After all, most of what you read is sunny and cheerful. Talking about motorbike accidents and the onset of strange jungle rashes is generally confined to book anthologies like A Wolverine is Eating My Leg or Sand in My Bra.
But bad things do happen to travelers all the time. Plus the older people get, the more they have to think about prescription refills and explaining a malady to someone in a foreign language.
Allianz Global Assistance is one of the sponsors of Perceptive Travel (thank you!) but even if they weren’t, this new TravelSmart app they’ve got out for your smartphone is a great step in the right direction. This has long been an industry that loves dense language and paperwork, so it’s nice to see them entering the digital age and giving us more than peace of mind to take along on our trips.
Your policy information is a part of the app if you have a policy, but even if you don’t have one there are a lot of great features to make this worth downloading. The iPhone version is more developed than the Android one at review time, but the latter should catch up eventually. Here’s what’s included:
Do you know what those pills you’re popping are called in Czech if you need to buy some more? In French or Vietnamese? Even worse, if you’re in a country that speaks Arabic or Chinese, you’ve got a whole different script to deal with.
This app lists drug names in multiple languages and in the case of those different scripts, spells them out so you can just hold up your phone and show a doctor or pharmacist. You can also snap photos of your prescription bottles and store them in this app for retrieval.
First Aid Translator
How do you say, “I need an ambulance!” in Spanish? Or even just “allergy”? The first aid translator built into this app allows you to just select the phrase or word, select the language, and get your answer.
Emergency Number Finder
Another thing seldom considered until it’s time to panic: how do you call 911 in another country? It’s actually 123 in Colombia, 155 in Turkey, and 112 in Denmark. In some other countries there are different numbers depending on whether there’s a fire, a medical emergency, or a mugging. (Of course you still have the problem that nobody on the other end may speak your language, but we’ll get there soon with instant translation apps…)
This is the most promising feature, but it’s not quite ready for prime time in this version 1.0.1 that I tested. It only shows hospitals vetted by Allianz and apparently there aren’t very many of those yet. Hopefully the database will expand over time since it’s fundamentally a great feature, with Google Maps integration to find your way there in a hurry.
The Apple version also has a click to call button in order to quickly reach a company rep for assistance, as well as a flight tracker to alert you to any flight delays or cancellations. Presumably those will be added to the Android version in later releases.
See more on the TravelSmart app here and get it from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. See more info below on insurance options.
Thanks to our partner Allianz for sponsoring this post, providing travel coverage for the unexpected. Perceptive Travel received financial compensation from Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) but all opinions are our own.