New iPhone app provides travel alerts and warnings

By John Walton, July 5 2011

Frequent flyers have another way to check up-to-the-minute travel safety advice with the new Smart Traveler iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch app from the US State Department, the American foreign affairs ministry.

While some of the content (like US embassy locations) might not be relevant to Australians, the State Department's information could be a lifesaver if travelling in or through conflict zones or in the event of a natural disaster -- or in shifting geopolitical times like the death of Osama bin Laden.

That's especially true when on the other side of the world, where timezones mean that the US State Department may be faster to update late-breaking news than the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and its own Smartraveller email and web advice.

In fact, the ideas are so similar that they've even been given the same name -- although the US Smart Traveler and Australian Smartraveller are spelled differently.

The app is remarkably fully featured for a government app.

You can set up specific itineraries for your journey, which will tailor travel alerts, warnings and updates to your specific travel.

The Travel Alerts section lists all current advisories -- particularly useful if you're in transit through an unfamiliar region or have been away from your usual sources of information for some time.

You can also find out basic information about the country, some of which will obviously be more useful for Australians than others.

Download this app from US iTunes store | AU iTunes store

John Walton
John Walton

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


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