Saturday, September 23, 2023


One of the best tips we’ve ever heard. Read this – It could save your life

I recently came across this tip online and thought I should share it with as many people as possible. This is a GREAT tip for when your phone is about to die. NOTE: Changing your voicemail will not work if you do not have cell service, as this states. If you are going somewhere without cell service, update your voicemail beforehand just to be safe.

If you don’t know how to change your voicemail on an iPhone, click here. If you don’t know how to change your voicemail on an Android, click here. 

Please share this tip. The more people that know about this, the better. We like saving lives!


Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


  1. Ummm, if I still have battery and cell service I’m calling 911. I set my voicemail once when I got my phone. The battery would be dead by the time I googled how to change my voicemail.

    • Zactly! Someone posted this tip on a community website (Nextdoor) and the EMS folks got on and said this was a bad idea. If you are in whatever trouble, call 911 *FIRST*, they’re the folks who are primed to get you help.

  2. If you need a cellphone to save you from your lack of skill and knowledge, you should hire a guide. This so called tip won’t save you from yourself.

  3. Always carry a power block with you! Mine is smaller than a pack of cigarettes. Plug your phone in and in a few minutes you have plenty of juice to make a phone call.

  4. You should downloaded an App called “What3Words” to your phone. It divides the world into 3 meter squares and gives each square a unique combination of 3 words. If you don’t know where you are, all you have to provide to someone looking for you are the 3 words listed for your location in the app (which can be done by text message). That person can then put those words into the app on their phone and get directions to your precise location. It’s pretty simple to use and it’s free.

  5. Why would you use up battery charge to change your voicemail message>?Call 911.
    And if you have no cell service, how will you change your voicemail?
    This is stupid and dangerous advice!!!

  6. When in trouble, text message. Search and rescue can triangulate multiple text messages sent to you from different locations. Please find a clearing to stake down your blue poncho or blue emergency blanket. The Civil Air Patrol’s camera in their single engine aircraft will see it.

  7. Coming from a former Search & Rescue volunteer: if you are lost or stranded, your best option is to stay put! It is much easier for first responders to find a stationary target than a moving one.

  8. I talked to my local SAR team and they do not agree with this. First and foremost you should always let a family member or friend know your travel plans and schedule. Second, a text message to a family member, friend or your local authorities back home will get through when a voice call will not. Fourth, straying away from your camp or vehicle in unfamiliar terrain is a sure fire way to die. Short scouting excursions to check for better cell reception, better shelter, civilization, food or water or firewood that keep your camp or vehicle in sight are ok. Finally, a voicemail change indicating that you are in distress takes precious battery time and may not be heard until it is too late.

  9. This is a very bad idea, if you have service and a low battery send texts to several friends with your location and situation. Voice uses far more power than text, you should take action rather than a passive message that somebody may or may not hear for some time.

  10. This social media tip is nonsense like most of them. If you have cell service call or text for help.

    Shame on you for repeating this.

  11. BAD IDEA! I don’t think it is a good idea to advertise on your voicemail that you are stranded somewhere or away from your home. That is an open invitation to thieves to break into your house or, even worse, to find you and do whatever to you while you are in unsafe conditions.

    • Only someone who knows you and your number would be calling….. not that threatening when you look at it that way. the random burglar does not know your phone number

      • Maybe not, but how many spam calls do you get a day? Are they people you want knowing you’re not home and won’t be for some time?

  12. The item you clipped states “…or has no signal”. That makes this suggestion useless from the start. Yes, you qualified it, but in fact, that is incorrect. It’s does not say it won’t work with no signal. It cannot not work if it has No signal. Too late at that point. Try texting. You might get lucky. Or better yet, carry a satellite based EPIRB like a Garmin InReach or Zoleo. Let’s you summon emergency responders and text with your emergency contacts. This clip has been spreading like wildfire on the internet in recent days. At best, it gives a sense of false security when you need help. At worst, it’s dangerous if you are in real trouble and make critical decisions as a result of thinking help is on the way.

  13. I believe there are still a lot of 911 call centers that are not equipped to handle incoming texts. I think a good solution would be to have an group contact set up in your contact list labeled “emergency”, which would include a few trusted relatives or friends, as well as “911”. That way, if the message didn’t go thru to 911, it might get thru to others on the group list. To test the setup, send a message that says, “This is a test. Please ignore”.

  14. Everyone should have a Garmin InReach which allows you to send texts to selected individuals using satellite system. No need for cell towers

      • No. You do not want an EPIRB. those are for ships in distress. You mean PLB, personal locator beacon. That said, if you need that much support for your skillset you should consider upping your skills and scaling back your risk until then.

  15. I think you have a great safety message here. Texting does use less power in a situation where there isn’t much juice left in your phone but this is a great tip to do early in a “lost, stranded, trapped…” scenario. By the way, the link you have for Android phones is really only for Google Voice, if you have that installed and are using it. I found a different link that gives you several of the most common ways to set up or change your voicemail on different brands of android phones using different carriers. I recommend practicing this a couple of times to make sure that you understand your phone and the process well. Then copy your instructions into the notes section of one of your contacts. Maybe one that you have in your phone labeled EMERGENCY.

  16. If you have enough power and signal to change your voice mail message with the date, the time, and you situation then you have enough power and signal to call 911 and give them the same information.

    • Why would you call 911 to tell them you ran out of gas or had a flat. This service is for emergency’s only. I am an Emergency Manager and every power outage people call 911 and over whelm them taking resources away from emergency needs. I would suggest calling a friend or family member ,or text them and provide those details. Even better idea is to always carry a small backup power supply. They are small enough to fit in a pocket and will give enough power for a call or text.

  17. This is a great tip if you know in advance you’re going to need to use it. Personally I’ve never been in an emergency situation where I had advance warning before it happened, I believe that’s what qualifies it as an emergency.

  18. I believe this tip has been disputed by a number of Sheriffs departments that state you’re much better off texting your location. SMS takes far less power and it is proactive vs reactive. Seems like doing both, with texting first, might make sense

    • I agree! Changing voicemail would take far too long and drain your battery too. Sending a text usually works with a very weak signal versus trying to use voice.


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