Your friends and family may have concerns about your travel  plans. And while you wouldn’t want it to happen, it’s wise to consider how you would let them know your location simply and urgently if the need arose (like being hospitalised).

There is an app for Android and Windows smartphones that will meet this simple need. Called TrackMe you can get it at the Google App Store. It has many features but I’ve tested the two most useful for a traveler in difficulties.

Click on the Share button and the app gets your location using GPS or phone tower location services. You can then either email or SMS that information to anyone. The text message has a web page link and found me with good accuracy in Bangkok.

In addition – and this may give a sense of security to your family – you can set up a secret word (like ‘!!locatesimon’) which if sent to your phone by SMS from any mobile with an unblocked number will result in your phone sending back exactly the same location information as described above. This means that as long as your phone is turned on and connected to a network where you can send an SMS, your family or friends can find the location of your phone (and hopefully you) without you having to do anything at all. As your phone sends a text in response, the location request is not hidden and you can see who has made the request – of course it’s up to you who you give the secret activation code to.

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