When travelling, you are likely to find yourself using semi-public and public Wi-Fi networks in airports, and hotels rather than your password-protected and encrypted work or home network. Connecting to these Wi-Fi hotspots makes your devices vulnerable to hackers since anyone else who is using the same network as you can easily access your unencrypted data.
A VPN protects your network by encrypting all data packets within it. VPNs are typically linked to thousands of servers throughout the world, and therefore, you can easily choose the server that you want to connect to and its host country. Rather than using proxy services like many travellers prefer doing, it is advisable to use a VPN service. Here’s why you should use a VPN while travelling.
Safety and Security
If you are a budget traveller and you stumble upon a free Wi-Fi hotspot, that’s definitely great news. However, connecting to such networks also links you to a web of hackers. Unsecured networks in particular pose a great risk to your data security since anyone can access them and do whatever they want.
Using a VPN service helps you hide your personal information, including credit card details, bank details, passwords, and emails. This ensures that your private information is protected from hackers. VPNs work by encrypting your data thus making it difficult for anyone to access it without authentication.
Unrestricted Communication and Browsing
You cannot access certain websites when travelling to countries such as China and North Korea. In such countries, Internet freedom is limited since governments strive to dictate what citizens can see and do online. Therefore, access to social media sites, such as Facebook and global news websites, is either restricted or blocked altogether.
With a VPN, you can access whichever sites you want without any restrictions. You only need to connect to a server located in a country where access to the blocked sites is permitted. Besides this, VPN services help you maneuver blocked access to VoIP services such as Facetime, WhatsApp, and Skype.
When travelling, you may also want to catch up with your latest movies and shows on streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. The Netflix catalogue, for instance, differs from one country to another (click here to find out more about Netflix secret access codes). Such restrictions greatly constrict your entertainment options, thus making VPNs a necessity.
With VPN software in place, you can set your home country as your endpoint. This allows you to access the streaming services and all content therein as if you were back home. Besides movies and TV shows, a VPN gives you unrestricted access to music streaming sites such as Spotify.
Keeps Your Bank Accounts Intact
Arguably, every traveller’s nightmare is to have his/her bank account frozen in the middle of nowhere. When this happens to you, it means that you won’t have access to the much-needed cash to cater for your travel expenses and other costs. Being hundreds of miles away from your home country and without access to your bank accounts is definitely something that you wouldn’t even wish on your worst enemy.
Your bank account can be frozen if you attempt to undertake an online banking transaction or even check your account from an IP address outside your country. In this case, your bank will notice that the transaction was done from a foreign country. Other than alerting your bank before you travel, installing a VPN is advisable since it gives you access to your accounts without the risk of having them frozen.
Cheaper Travel Packages
When travelling, it is definitely your wish to get airline tickets at the lowest prices. Nonetheless, your computer’s IP address affects airline ticket prices, especially if you are booking online. Typically, airlines use your current location and ticket-buying behavior to set the price at which they want you to buy a plane ticket. Keep in mind that based on their booking history, a fellow traveller in the same city as you can book a seat on the same flight at a lower price.
To navigate this, use a VPN whenever you book your air tickets so that you trick the airline into believing that you are in another country. For instance, if you are booking a flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne and your IP address is known, you are likely to pay more compared to someone whose IP address indicates that he/she is in Brazil yet is booking the same flight.
Just the same way that VPN encryption helps protect your correspondence and documents, it also safeguards all your transaction information. This includes receipts and payment details. When using a VPN service, it is easy to make an online purchase when travelling – more so if you are limited to semi-public and public services.
VPNs similarly make it easier for you to control any IoT devices that you have back home. With the software, you can still control IoT devices within your house by simply choosing a server that is located in your home country.
Things to Look Out For in a VPN
If you are a frequent traveler, you need a VPN that suits your travel needs. Most importantly, you need one that has relevant apps for whichever platforms you use. There shouldn’t be any extra fees or restrictions when it comes to simultaneous connections.
Frequent international travelers should only consider VPN services that work in as many regions as possible. This will guarantee unlimited access to restricted sites and optimal data security. The VPN that you choose should have acceptable speeds so that it doesn’t slow down your Internet connection. It should also come with an auto-connect feature to make it easy to use.
The importance of using VPNs when travelling shouldn’t be understated. This is the surest way of keeping your data away from prying eyes and killing travel boredom by accessing whatever content you want to access at any given time. As a traveler, you should make VPNs an indispensable part of your digital toolkit.