App review: SAFE Global

SAFE Global is a new travel security App with features including check-ins, geo-fencing, and one-touch emergency alerting. We take a closer look.

SAFE Global

Do either you or your loved ones worry about your personal safety when you travel? Or perhaps you worry about your son or daughter who has embarked on a round-the-world gap year?

While most trips abroad are perfectly safe and trouble free, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to be alert to any potential dangers when you travel. It’s also a fact that some areas of the world are more turbulent than others, and come with additional risks for travellers.

This is where SAFE Global comes in. The App, which recently launched on the App Store and Google Play, describes itself as a “travel security companion” that enables users to connect with family members while abroad, check-in using location services, stay updated about security threats in the region and even contact specially trained operators in an emergency situation.

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Who created SAFE Global?

The App was the brainchild of CEO Hefin Jones MC, who is a former Regimental Sergeant Major with the National Mission Unit. His work conducting operations with Intelligence Services, Police and US Tier 1 Military Units has given him an in-depth understanding of the security risks of travelling in remote and hostile regions.

How it works

Simply launch the App on your Apple or Android phone and create an account. You’ll be asked to fill in some basic details and confirm your account by email. The App will also request various permissions including location services and access to your device’s storage.

Once logged in, you’ll be invited to try a 3-day trial (without needing to submit any card details) of SAFE Pro, which showcases the most number of features. Many of the features are also available on the free version of the App.

App features

SAFE Global has three versions: a free LITE version and two upgradeable versions – PRO and ULTIMATE. We have highlighted which features are available in each version.

Travel advice

  • Ultimate / Pro /Lite: News relative to your location or next destination.
  • Ultimate / Pro /Lite: Map showing nearest hospitals/police/embassies wherever you are, with callable contact details and directions.
  • Ultimate / Pro /Lite: Details country reports by email. This comes in PDF form and includes information on geography, people and society, government, economy, communications, and transnational issues.
  • Ultimate / Pro /Lite: Professional travel, medical, and survival safety tips and advice.
  • Ultimate / Pro /Lite: Local weather forecasting, as well as searchable alternative locations.

Location services

  • Ultimate / Pro / Lite: Live contact tracking – individually managed. Click on the menu on the top right-hand of the App and select “Contacts” to either allow or stop your contacts from receiving check-ins and tracking your location. 
  • Ultimate / Pro / Lite: One-touch check in (notifies designated contacts of your location). This is limited to 1 user for Lite, up to 8 for Ultimate and Pro
  • Ultimate and Pro: Geo-fencing (want to alert someone if you stray off course? Automatically notifies your Primary Contact when you enter or leave a virtual area).

Live support

  • Three unique SAFE guardian features connecting you to SAFE’s 24/7 support:
    • Ultimate and Pro: SOS (immediate emergency two-way audio connection to our trained operators).
    • Ultimate: SAFE Call (non-emergency two-way audio assistance in situations that are urgent, but not currently life-threatening, with the option for a call back).
    • Ultimate: SAFE Timer (timer set by you to alert the Alarm Receiving Centre if the duration expires without confirmation of your wellbeing).
  • Ultimate: Round-the-clock two-way audio support from SAFE’s UK based Alarm Receiving Centre at the touch of a button.

What we think of SAFE Global

On a recent trip to Dublin I tested SAFE Global for myself. While I realise Ireland is not a particularly risky destination, it was still a great opportunity to access the different features.

What I liked

Once logged in, the App has a well-designed and clear interface, with all the features accessible with a click of a button. I think this is important as you don’t want to be using a fiddly App in a tense situation (for example if you are trying to make an SOS call).

The tracking and check-in features are a great way of giving your family members peace of mind while you travel, without having to make much effort. Checking in takes just a second (and a single tap of the screen).

I was also impressed with the wealth of information offered in the country reports. From my Ireland PDF there was loads of facts on Ireland’s history, population, demographic and transnational issues – in Ireland the main issue they face is related to illegal narcotics.

While I had no need to use the SOS button (spending most of my time in various Irish pubs) I think this is a fantastic feature and would give me confidence if I was travelling in a more turbulent country. I also like that there is a “non-emergency” option for urgent but not life-threatening situations.

What I didn’t like

When I first registered for the App I had a couple of issues, which I shared with the team at SAFE Global. I have included their responses.

My issue: the App requested a large number of permissions to access my personal data, including microphone, camera, storage and contacts. I couldn’t understand why this was necessary before I had even started using the App.

Safe Global’s response: “SAFE requesting these permissions up front is Android-specific, for all iOS users each permission request appears only when required for each individual feature (i.e. access to camera if uploading a profile image, access to microphone if upgrading to Ultimate and therefore two-way audio access to the ARC, contacts so that you can easily add contacts already using SAFE, etc.).”

My issue: when using the live tracking feature I was concerned that my location information might be shared with third parties. 

Safe Global’s response: “Your location information is shared only with those direct contacts you have specifically selected, as well as the ARC if you are an Ultimate user (this is explicitly stated in the T&C’s, and is to ensure that should you activate the SOS, the ARC are able to identify your location). We take user privacy extremely seriously at all times, and do not share this information with any third party except ARC where this has been explicitly subscribed to.”

Would I use this App again?

Yes. As a young woman who often travels solo, this App allows me to be better informed about the security issues of the countries I am travelling to, and I can easily update family members of my movements if they have concerns for my safety. If I was planning to travel to a country where safety was an issue, I would upgrade to the Pro version. 

Want to download SAFE Global?

SAFE Global is available to download for free on Google Play and the App Store. The PRO plan costs £4.99 per month and the ULTIMATE plan costs £14.99 per month.

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Disclaimer: this article was sponsored by SAFE Global