If you’re a frequent traveler, you might want to start considering using a VPN as they have many benefits for travelers. I’m going to explain a few reasons to use a VPN for travel, which are the reasons I have used one (and tried many) over the last 7 years of travel.
When I first took a trip to Europe in 2009, I did not know what WiFi was (and I’m dead serious – I know that seems crazy). My friend had an iPhone and was like “It has this thing WiFi and apparently we can connect like anywhere…” We never figured it out. It was still the time of going to internet cafes and paying to use their big, slow computers to book a hostel on Hostelworld or call our parents on Skype and let them know we were alive.
Now, things are so technological. You can get SIM cards as you travel for mere pennies so you are always connected, you can stream movies, book hotels from your phone, make cheap international calls, and text anyone for free on Whatsapp. No more carrying around a book with train timetables!
But, with more stuff being online it means more chance of someone hacking you and when you log into public WiFi, that can happen! As a blogger, it’s something I think about when I get into my WordPress and banking at airports and other public places. Beyond that, there are other reasons a VPN helps like saving money on flights and being able to access blocked websites.
What is a VPN
A quick little Google search explains it as: “VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, allow users to securely access a private network and share data remotely through public networks. Much like a firewall protects your data on your computer, VPNs protect it online”.
Basically, when you log into a VPN, you can change your IP address and change the country “the internet” thinks you are in. For example, if you are in China and Facebook is blocked, you can change your VPN to the USA and voila, you can access Facebook. You can read more about them here.
VPN’s are really easy to set up and usually show up as an icon in the apps section of your PC.
What VPN To Use for Travel
I use several, actually. But that is mostly due to streaming TV shows. You can get by with just one, and the best one is NordVPN. I use it in conjunction with Vyper and Unblockus. Almost all VPN’s will be a monthly fee and you can either pay monthly automatically or pay for a year or two up front to save money. I recommend the latter. I think right now it’s under $3/month. For the latter two, I think it’s $7 per month. Ben has us all set up with several as sometimes streaming channels recognize one VPN, but won’t get past two.
5 Reasons to Use a VPN for Travel
One good reason to have a VPN is just to protect your information. If you are often using public WiFi spaces, this is a good idea for you. I don’t know what people sit around trying to steal online information from people working at Starbucks but apparently, it happens. People can somehow steal your credit card information and passwords but using a VPN can help protect that.
2. Booking cheaper flights
I never book a flight without checking with a VPN for prices from other countries! Let’s say I’m in India and booking a flight from India to the USA. The price might say $1200 round trip. Just for curiosity, I could change the flight to be USA, to India round trip, and it might come up $800. You might think that’s odd but the way I had read about it ages back is that because I’m IN INDIA booking a flight out of India, the price is higher as they know I need that flight. So, what you can do is change your VPN to the USA, and then search that same India to USA flight (but now you’re doing it from a country you’re not in, so basically backward) and you might find that flight for the same $800 price.
With the VPN, you can also check random countries to see if it’s coming up cheaper there. Remember to always open up a new incognito browser each time that you check as if you don’t, it remembers you with “cookies” and the price can go up and up.
3. Accessing blocked websites
Some websites are blocked around the world. This could be social media sites in places like China, or even a banking site being blocked if you are outside the country. Any time you come across a blocked site, you can simply turn on your VPN and change the country.
Maybe the reason I need a VPN the most… TV! While Netflix can be accessed as you travel, the shows change to what is available in that country. Let me tell you – it’s not the same in the USA and India! It’s not even the same in the USA compared to the UK. You can switch countries to access different shows and movies.
Hulu is blocked outside the USA so I use the VPN to access Hulu here in Mexico and did in India as well. I also use it to access my Amazon Prime shows (so I can watch every episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm).
5. Language Barriers
If you are in Mexico and google something, often results will show up in Spanish. If you are on Amazon, it will automatically go to Amazon Mexico, etc. If you want the USA websites, you can just turn your VPN on to the USA.
If you want to try out a VPN, I recommend starting with NordVPN. You can sign up for it here.
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