Summer’s here so it’s time to pack our case and head to the sun… but should we be taking more than our suncream and Speedos? Most holiday destinations are perfectly safe, but there are many safety gadgets we can take as added insurance. Here’s the APH.com guide to the best available right now.
Find the best travel safety apps and gadgets to make sure your holiday is one to remember for all the right reasons.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm
The dangers of this gas have been well documented, but thankfully the vast majority of holiday accommodation is vigorously checked, but taking additional protection in the form of a travel-friendly CO alarm certainly won’t be wasting space in your suitcase. The Firehawk CO7BD is free-standing battery-powered unit that’s ideal for holidays. It also incorporates an LED display which shows CO concentration, peak figures for the preceding 12hours and Carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) percentage measurement. A loud warning alarm will indicate dangerous levels of CO, while a low-battery warning will ensure you’re not left without protection. The sensor should be replaced within seven years of purchase. Please note, the alarm does not act as a smoke alarm.
How much: £24.99
Where: Get it here
Symptoms of CO poisoning: Please read these before travelling. Click here for details
Holiday tips for gas safety: Tips for staying safe on holiday
iPhone Metal Detector app
Losing your car- or appartment keys on the beach won’t sound like an emergency until it happens to you. From picking up vital baby supplies to urgent medication or driving home from a remote beach… lost keys can become a serious event. Help dodge disaster by downloading a metal detector app to your iPhone or Android device. They won’t pick up Long John Dereck’s long lost treasure buried in the sands, but they could help locate keys secreted just below the surface. No really – these apps do work. Swerve big data charges by downloading these apps right now.
How much: Free
Where: Pick your operating system here.
Mommy I’m here… wandering child alert
Keeping tabs on kids is one aspect of holidays that can fill parents with dread. One blink, one mis-directed stare and they’re off… Help’s at hand, though, with the Mommy I’m Here Advanced escaping child alert. Acting as a wireless leash, the teddy bear-disguised tracker not only makes a great fashion addition to any toddler’s summer collection – but also offers a tracking system that’ll alert your base-station keyring fob with an alarm should the youngster make a run for freedom by straying more than 30ft away. If the child is out of sight, you can press a button to remotely set off a 90db alarm that sounds on the teddy bear – helping you locate the errant offspring. It’s waterproof, can be attached to shoes, belt or other clothing using a toddler-proof system. The device offers 1,500 channels to choose from, negating the risk of interference from other tech-savvy mums and dads. Does not require subscription or mobile connection
How much: £23.25
Where: Get your child-tracking teddy bear here
Safety Turtle child swimming pool alert
How many hours have you spent scouring details of appartments and villas hunting details of protection surrounding on-site swimming pools? It’s a thankless task with information either unlisted or incorrect, so take control with a swimming pool alert system that’ll sound an alarm if one of your kids enters water while you’re not around. The Safety Turtle system includes a wrist-fitted detector – in the shape of a cute turtle – for the kids, which has a range of more than 70m. It won’t fall off during play, or be activated by splashing water or a spilt drink. However, as soon as it’s totally submerged it’ll trigger a loud alarm on the accompanying base station – which won’t stop until manually reset. The wristbands work in fresh water or pools but have limitations in salt water. The battery is sealed in the wristband and lasts around four years. Additional wristbands can be purchased and work without any further installation. The system covers all pools, ponds or rivers within range of the base station. It’s not cheap, but as a one-off purchase it’s sure to offer a great return on reduced anxiety levels.
How much: £198.00 for base station and one wrist band
Where: Get your Safety Turtle here
Test your pool water
We all like a dip, but do we really want to be swim-buddies with waterborne fun-snatchers such as Pseudomonas, E-coli, species of Aeromonas, Shigella, Enterobacter, Klebsiella and other coliform and non-coliform bacteria? You might not be on first name terms with this motley crew, but take a trip to Google and you’ll be hanging up your Speedos quick time. Don’t despair, though, take these test strips along and check that your resort or appartment pool is being chlorinated properly within just 20 minutes. Most pools are fine, but some could be harbouring holiday horrors you don’t want to be sharing your stomach with. Grab these strips and avoid the inconvenience of spending a week with your head staring down a dubious foreign lavatory.
How much: £34.94 for 10 strips
Where: Start your search for strips here
Check for spiked drinks
Research shows that one in 10 people have had drinks spiked while on a night out in the UK and that figure can be a considerably higher in holiday hotspots around Europe and beyond. With everything from so-called date rape drugs like GHB and horse tranquiliser ketamine being used, leaving a beverage unattended is a risky move. Use the strip to instantly reveal if your Crème de Menth has been tainted with anything dubious. Simply dab one with drops of the drink and a positive or negative result will be revealed.
How much: £4.99 pack of five test strips
Where: Get your strips here
Following on from Britain; Spain and France are Europe’s most enthusiastic consumers of cocaine, so you might want to ensure your chic holiday villa or posh hotel room wasn’t the venue for a drug-fuelled bash held by a cabal of off-duty City traders on a quiet weekend away from their Ferraris. Class A drugs are rife throughout Europe, so check your accommodation is clean by giving the surface a quick swipe with these detector wipes. Simply tear open the packet, wipe a surface and if the swab turns blue you’ll know cocaine was present. The intensity of blue determines the amount of cocaine residue present. Get a positive result and ask to be moved or have the property thoroughly cleaned. Swabs to test for other types of drugs are also available.
How much: £2.99
Where: Get your Class A detection wipes here
It’s not just you that needs keeping safe while on holiday – valuables are just as vulnerable when left languishing on the beach while you splash in the surf. It seems that hiding your phone and wallet beneath a towel isn’t as thief-proof as once thought. This is where the Beach Vault springs into action; simply drill it down into the sand and fill the 12-inch deep and 6-inch wide pod with all your expensive gadgets, cash and cards. It also includes a customised towel with integrated pillow holder… How much: £25.00 (shipping not included) Where: Find out more here
Going on holiday with a large group of friends and family, or perhaps your kids are going away on a school trip? Use this clever smartphone app to keep track of where everyone is. It might seem like a snoopers’ charter, but all members have to give permission and actively join a group, so don’t call Liberty just yet. Simply set up a group, invite your family or friends to join and get instant access to members’ locations. Great for those holidaying with older kids, or younger offspring going to holiday clubs etc. The app includes instant messaging to individual members or entire groups. The app uses a GPS tracker allowing you to follow all members of your family in real time. The system does require Wi-Fi or 3G connection to fully operate all functions, so make sure you buy a data bundle for your mobile before you leave home. How much: Free Where: Download for Android, Apple and Windows devices here. Android devices here Apple devices here Windows devices here
It’s unlikely many of us will be jogging across Death Valley without a sensible supply of the wet stuff, but even running out of water in a remote holiday hotspot can leave adults and kids seriously dehydrated in just a few hours. The Lifestraw Go can be used to collect water from sources such as streams or public taps and then filtered for safe consumption using the integrated straw. The device is used in disaster zones around the world and removes 99.9999% of water-borne bacteria. It’s a handy size, too, and will easily fit in your bag. A great emergency safety tool for all travellers. Each straw can filter around 1000 litres. How much: £25.96 Where: Buy your Lifestraw Go here
Cyclist turning indicator
Another great tool for cyclists heading abroad, this system will help signal your intended direction changes to other motorists. The lightweight signal panel can be attached to various bags or even your jacket and is powered by LED lights to make it super-visible during daylight hours, too. The display is controlled by a wireless switch strapped to the handlebars. The panel uses rechargeable batteries which can be pumped using the included USB socket. Hand signals and visual checks should also be made before manoeuvring How much: £56.40 Where: Get your indicator panel here
IceDot crash sensor for cyclists
Our third and final safety aid for the holidaying cyclist. Taking personal safety to a new level, this sensor will attach to any cycle helmet and, when paired with a app on the user’s smartphone, will detect motion changes and impacts that suggest an accident has occurred. It will then use Bluetooth to trigger an alarm on the phone and start an emergency countdown. If the user doesn’t cancel this, the app will automatically notify the rider’s emergency contact numbers and send the GPS coordinates of the incident to help emergency services locate the stricken rider. It’s not just for cyclists, either; hikers and skiers can also benefit from its lifesaving potential. How much: £96.46 Where: Get the Ice Dot here
Mimo Baby Monitor
Taking your young baby on holiday is a great way to get over giving birth and grabbing a bit of reality back, but it can also be a worrying time for parents. Changes in climate and different foods can all affect infants. Problem sorted.. the Mimi is a babygrow that’s also a monitor – keeping parents fully up to date with their baby’s vitals direct to their smartphone. Be notified if the baby wakes, or if there are changes to the tot’s breathing pattern, body position or temperature. The accompanying smartphone app will show breathing pattern and rate, along with a function that lets you listen live to what’s going on in the nursery. The system uses Wi-Fi so data can be received wherever you are. How much: It’s on sale in the UK soon and should cost from from around £130 if American pricing is transferred to the UK Where: Get more information here
Tsunami and earthquake warning
History has shown the horror that a tsunami can inflict on the human race, so make sure you’re prepared should the worst ever happen. CWarn is a free global tsunami warning system that monitors earthquake action and sends out a text message to anyone in a location that’s at risk of being hit. Simply join up and enter the location of your holiday for additional peace of mind. Any risk will be sent to your phone through a message detailing timelines and threat level. Locations can be easily changed if you’re moving around. Anyone affected will get one of the following warning levels: Green: Very low likelihood of humanitarian disaster Orange: Potential humanitarian disaster Red: Very high likelihood of humanitarian disaster How much: £Free Where: Register for free here
Sunburn warning wristband
Keep your kids protected from damaging UV rays with this wristband that monitors how much sun they’re exposed to. The UV-sensitive panel on the ‘watch’ changes colour to indicate the amount of harmful – but invisible rays – battering their skin. Great for reminding parents and kids when more sun tan lotion is required – or if they need to evacuate the beach altogether and make a break for the shade. The bands can also have phone numbers written on them and be used as identity bracelets. How much: £1.99 each Where: Purchase here
goTenna… mobile communications without the bills
This gadget lets you stay in touch with loved one in areas not covered by mobile cells, Wi-Fi or satellites. Pair your device with your goTenna and it’ll turn your phone into a walkie-talkie-like device that communicates with other goTenna users for free. Use the free app to type out a text message or share a location with a specific person, group, or even broadcast to anyone within range. Talking or which, the range covered by goTenna will vary from 0.5 miles in built-up city streets to several miles in beach or forest locations. A great safety back-up for anyone hiking in mountains or forests – or looking after kids on the beach etc. How much: £100 (approx.) Where: Here you go – get goTenna
This feature is for information only and does not constitute medical advice. Please visit a health professional to discuss concerns about travelling abroad.