Last Updated on August 16, 2017 by Christine Kaaloa
When getting ready for a trip, there are lots of essential items you have on your packing list. But there’s one very important travel survival item many people forget or don’t even know about in the first place – a VPN!
There are many reasons why you should be using a VPN while traveling! A VPN serves a variety of purposes, such as enhancing your online privacy and security, allowing you to avoid any Internet restrictions or censorship
imposed by local governments, and increasing speeds when streaming. A VPN is a must-have for any globetrotter and it’s easy-to-use, too! Below are 5 ways a VPN can improve your travels
What exactly is a VPN?
VPN stands for virtual private network, and it encrypts your Internet connection to protect your privacy. Encryption is a way to secure your digital data, information and online communications. Encryption works by scrambling your information, so it cannot be viewed by anyone except those with a “key” – generally the recipient or sender.
Is it hard to use a VPN?
No, quite the opposite. On my trip to China, I used Golden Frog’s VyprVPN. It’s very simple to use, just download it onto your laptop and/or smartphone, open it up and hit connect. Voila! It does all the work for you.
Why should you use a VPN while traveling?
Every traveler should have a VPN – whether you’re traveling down the block or to a destination on the other side of the world. You can use it across devices like your mobile phone, tablet and computer! Here are just 5 of the many reasons why you need a VPN for your travels.
Protect your privacy over open Wi-Fi
While waiting for your flight you may take advantage of the free airport Wi-Fi network. Although convenient, this network may also be unsecured – meaning hackers or snoops can easily intercept your communications and view your information, or the network provider may be collecting data about the sites you visit. Yikes! And this doesn’t only happen in airports – it applies to any public Wi-Fi network you encounter on your trip. This includes Wi-Fi in-flight on the plane, at the cute local coffee shop downtown and even at the crowded train station.
Using a VPN secures your connection to ensure your privacy on any public Wi-Fi network. This way, no one can snoop on your communications including the emails you send home, your personal information such as credit card or bank information, and your browsing history. A VPN also stops the Wi-Fi network provider from collecting personal information about your browsing activity or search history, which is often sold to advertisers! With a VPN installed on all your devices, you can stay private no matter where you are traveling, or how unsecured and shady the Wi-Fi network is.
Share from anywhere
When you’re on the road, you’ll want to share photos and special moments from your journey ! To keep all your friends and family in the loop, you’ll want to access to your social media sites. Accessing these sites can be a challenge in certain countries. A VPN is especially helpful in countries with strong Internet restrictions like China, who restricts or blocks access to popular social media sites – like Twitter Facebook and YouTube . With a VPN, you can bypass restrictions, access an open internet and use your favorite social media sites, like you do from home!
Access your favorite shows…and watch them faster
If you’re traveling or living abroad, you might want to keep up with your favorite shows online through subscription services like Hulu, Netflix or YouTube. The problem is that many countries restrict access to streaming content based on your location. When I was living in Korea, Netflix was not available, which forced expats to search for a comparable subscription site to watch their favorite shows back home. But in some countries, none of these sites work!
With a VPN, you can select a geolocation from a variety of server locations worldwide (VyprVPN has 50+ locations). For instance, I could set my location to the United States (or any location) and trick the network into allowing me normal access to my subscription site. A VPN will ensure you can access what you want to watch from any location.
Also, you can watch your shows faster with a VPN! A VPN allows you to bypass any throttling (intentional slowing down of streaming caused by your Internet Service Provider) as well as escape slow or congested networks that you frequently find in crowded public places.
Stay in touch
Using a VPN will allow you to stay in touch throughout your trip – from Skype and VoIP services, to sharing stories on social media, to emailing friends and family and even, accessing current event news. Some countries filter the Internet, and a VPN is an excellent tool to avoid censorship and allow you to stay connected while you’re away.
For instance, Google is censored in China and Google owns both, Gmail and YouTube. Without a VPN, I wouldn’t be able to access either! Would you be comfortable with not accessing your email for the entire length of your trip?
Save money on flights, car rentals and more
As you travel the world, you will be subject to localized pricing when shopping or booking reservations online. Some countries have higher pricing than others. This means you may be paying more than you need to for your flights, hotels and car rental, depending upon your location! With a VPN, you can select your location and then view prices in your home currency or other currencies. This helps you to save money on your travel purchases!
6. Avoid online banking or PayPal lock out
There are many internet services, which track your geolocation habits when you do your online business. Some important examples are your bank, PayPal and bill pay services, such as your mobile phone company. This tracking is to ensure your personal and financial information is safe from hackers. The moment these institutions recognize you’re logging in from a foreign location, they could flag you. A VPN helps you get around that, by allowing you to choose an IP address from your home destination; thus, masking the foreign IP address you’re working from.
Getting a VPN
I recommend VyprVPN as the best VPN for travelers. It was a necessity on my China press trip and used it every day to upload content to social media, access Gmail and monitor my YouTube channel. This service might set you back about $9.99 /month or $ 6.77/ month for an annual subscription. Not a high price to pay for piece of mind or the ability to stay connected with folks back home.
Once you start using Golden Frog’s VyprVPN, you will never travel without one again!
GRRRL TRAVELER readers get 3 months free as an Autumn deal. Otherwise, they get 50% off on VYPRVN A VPN has a range of uses for travel from protecting your information on open WiFi to accessing sites and more!
Have you ever used a VPN? What are your reasons why you should be using a VPN while traveling?
Disclaimer: I received a free trial subscription to use and test VPYRVPN on my trip to China. I was under no obligation to review this VPN. Having tested VPN amongst other three free VPNs (on my mobile and laptop), I found VYPRVPN was the most consistent, and so I requested a sponsorship. I’d still highly recommend and use this service again.