In our modern, connected world, not having a stable internet connection when you’re travelling is absurd. Many of us panic when we don’t manage to get a decent signal from coffee shops and restaurants, so not being able to access our notifications or chat to our family while we’re on the trip of a lifetime is unimaginable. Thankfully, most tourist destinations around the world now have reasonably stable Wi-Fi functionality, so you don’t need to worry about that too much.
One thing you should be concerned about, though, is your security. After all, when you’re using suspect public Wi-Fi or you’re in a place you don’t trust, the last thing you want is for your personal data to be compromised. That’s where a VPN comes in. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it’s effectively a way to scramble and encrypt your connection so that prying eyes can’t look at your internet usage. Here are some reasons why using a VPN abroad is an excellent idea.
You’re looking after your security
While it’s not necessarily true that Wi-Fi networks in other locations won’t be secure, the truth is that you can’t trust a connection you’re not familiar with. That being the case, using a VPN makes perfect sense when you’re abroad. Scrambling your data means no nefarious elements will be able to access your information or know what you’re doing while you’re on the network. This way, you won’t encounter any unfortunate problems to do with the safety of your data while you’re on holiday or travelling.
You can access blocked sites
Depending on where you are, you might find that some of your favourite sites – Facebook, Google, and other sites – are blocked. Some countries, like China or Myanmar, don’t allow you to access these sites because they have restrictive censorship laws. A VPN means you can bypass those laws and access your favourite sites. Make sure that you’re being safe while you do this, though, because you don’t want to run afoul of the authorities.
You can stop your bank account being frozen
Sometimes, when you make purchases or engage in other transactions abroad, your bank can flag it up as suspicious activity and freeze your account. This is annoying, but depending on your needs it might also strand you somewhere you don’t want to be. Using a VPN to dummy your location to your home country or home city means you won’t run into this problem. Trust us when we say that this isn’t something you want to happen, so make sure you’re picking the right dummy location!
VPNs aren’t just for PCs or laptops
In the past, people used VPNs to make sure their laptops or desktop PCs were safe while abroad. Now, however, most people use their smartphone or tablet to access the internet and conduct business. If you pick up a good VPN, you’ll likely find it has a good mobile app associated with it, meaning you can use it on your smartphone or tablet too. Even though we all depend on our mobile devices, we can still neglect them when it comes to security, so VPNs being available on mobile is great.
You could book cheaper flights
This is a little niche, especially since most people will have booked their return flight before embarking on their trip, but you might find this advice useful. If you dummy your location to the country you’re currently in, you may find that your plane tickets are cheaper. This is because many countries charge less domestically than they do to visitors from other countries for flights. Make sure you do your research while you’re in the country, not just when you’re making the booking in the first place.
Streaming non-local content is easy
Want to watch something on Netflix USA, but can’t access it due to your location? With a VPN, that won’t be a problem. No matter where in the world you are while you’re on holiday or travelling, using a VPN means you can dummy your location to the USA and access not only Netflix but other US-based streaming services. Another benefit to this is that it works anywhere, so even if you’re not travelling you can do this. Time to settle down and get into that show you’ve been meaning to watch!
VPNs are easy to set up
With all these benefits, you might be thinking that VPNs are tricky to set up or only for technically-minded sorts. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Most VPNs these days are extremely user-friendly and easy to set up, and they come with pretty satisfyingly low price points, too. There’s really no excuse for not using a VPN while you’re abroad, whether you’re a frequent traveller and a computer expert or a complete novice at both!
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