A Twitter user garnered attention on the platform after sharing a clever hack for if you ever find yourself lost or stranded — and started a chain of other hacks people should keep in mind, especially while traveling alone.
Pete Eriksen (@terrapinpete) shared on Oct. 22: “If you ever get lost while hiking, or get stranded on the road—change the voicemail on your phone giving your approximate location, date, time and details of your situation and your plans. If your phone dies, people trying to reach you will have a place to start looking.”
“This is a genius idea!” one person said about the hack.
“I can’t believe I never thought of this,” another said.
For all sorts of reasons, an average of 2,000 people get lost on hikes annually in the U.S. — based on data gathered from Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. This number doesn’t include the number of people who get lost during natural disasters or traveling around unfamiliar areas.
Other Twitter users also replied with other hacks they’ve learned about how to contact someone during a dire situation.
“SMS messages often go even if you have zero bars,” another Twitter user added. “They use the signal your phone uses to ping for towers. So even if you can’t complete a call, a text might get through. Send a photo of where you are in a text message.”
“Whether your phone shows bars or not, in an emergency dial 911,” someone said. “Your 911 call will use ANY cell service available, NOT just the one you subscribe to.”
However, there is a caveat with this. According to USA Today, which fact-checked a similar claim made during Hurricane Ida, you do need cell service or Wi-Fi to change your voicemail message. USA Today spoke to spokespeople from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to confirm that you need at least a Wi-Fi connection or the ability to dial from a landline to change your voicemail.
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