Pack up your suitcase, make sure to get your passport, and take a cab ride to the airport! If you are wondering about leaving anything behind, it is probably your premium VPN subscription.
A lot of Internet users overlook the benefits of using VPN when going abroad, whether for holiday or business reasons. If you are one of them, let us convince you why you should get on the same page with us when it comes to VPN for travel.
In this article, we are listing the top reasons why a VPN is your best friend when you are planning to leave the country. However, to keep things fair, we are also telling you to know about some of the downsides of using a virtual private network service when going abroad. It does not matter where you are going, but you should be mindful of your online privacy and security.
Take a look at the list of topics below to see what we are talking about (click to jump).
Why you need a VPN for travel
- 1. Be smarter than hackers when connecting to public hotspots
- 2. School and other network restrictions should not apply to you
- 3. Connect to your office, no matter where you are
- 4. Say goodbye to geo-based price targeting
- 5 .Keep your Netflix library close, wherever you go
- 6. Governments should not enforce Internet censorship
- 7. Keep ISPs in the dark
- 8. Journalists and whistleblowers need extra protection from offended governments
- 9. Prevent your bank from freezing your account due to suspicious activity abroad
- The downsides of using VPN for travel
- In conclusion
Why you need a VPN for travel
A VPN service brings you security, privacy, and comfort when you are traveling to other countries. The virtual private network tool should be as indispensable as your smartphone – it should not be left behind when packing your suitcase.
Here are the top 9 reasons why you need a VPN tool for travel.
1. Be smarter than hackers when connecting to public hotspots
Unless you have an unlimited mobile data plan that works in any country, traveling means that you eventually connect to the wireless network connections of others.
It does not matter if the Wi-Fi network belongs to the hotel, cafe bar, restaurant, airport, or anywhere else. If the connection is public and unprotected with a password, there is a big chance that you will get in trouble.
Hackers are known to lurk in public places where many people connect to open hotspots. And it would not be an issue for them to clone a Wi-Fi network and lure you into connecting to it, since you would not suspect a thing.
If you fall prey to those cybercriminals, they could get hold of your identity and private photos, steal your email and banking credentials, spread malware to your friends, or even use your own computer remotely to run illegal activities that are likely to draw the attention of the police.
2. School and other network restrictions should not apply to you
Using a VPN for travel is an excellent choice for sidestepping location-based restrictions. For instance, if you need to connect to the Wi-Fi network of a school, you might notice that it is impossible to access certain websites, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
It happens because school administrators do everything necessary to create a distraction-free zone for their students. This way, the students can focus on educational content and stop wasting so much time on their smartphones.
But the trick to overcoming this barrier is to connect to a VPN server. By creating a secure tunnel for sending and receiving your data, the VPN client gets past the school’s firewall and establishes a connection to a remote server that encrypts everything.
As such, you can freely navigate to any website you wish, even the ones that are banned on school premises. It is all possible thanks to VPN technology.
3. Connect to your office, no matter where you are
Freelancers and independent contractors can relate. If your job allows you to work from any part of the world, as long as you have a steady Internet connection, then you should know the importance of using a VPN for travel.
Thanks to VPN technology, you can connect to your workplace no matter where you are. The secure tunnel brings you closer to your company’s intranet, making it think you are a regular employee just sitting at their desk.
Thus, you can access all local resources, including printers. And, if your VPN service has a split tunneling feature, then you can stay connected to the workplace while still being able to reach local sites, such as Google Maps.
4. Say goodbye to geo-based price targeting
Many booking and flight agencies have an unhealthy practice of varying their prices for each site visitor based on multiple factors, which happen to include the person’s location recorded at that time. Unfortunately, it is not illegal to do this, but we can all agree that it is (or should be) frowned upon.
To determine that you are a recurring visitor who cannot make up his mind about buying a flight ticket or renting a room for the night, the marketing agencies use several techniques, such as your browsing history, session cookies, and IP address.
It seems that recurring visitors are simply punished for not wanting to buy the first offer they see. The longer they look for better offers, the higher the price will be.
However, you can defeat this bad practice by making yourself look like a first-time visitor, no matter how many times you actually visit the site in question.
It can be achieved by masking your IP address and connecting to a server from another country using a reliable VPN service for travel.
5. Keep your Netflix library close, wherever you go
Let’s face it: staying up to date with our favorite TV shows is essential for us cinephiles. And things should not have to change just because you must leave the country for a few days.
Gone are the days of DVD movies that could be viewed offline. The only disadvantage of being subscribed to Netflix is that you always need an active Internet connection to catch up to your favorite shows.
Assuming that you can find a high-speed Internet connection that allows you to watch Netflix without having to worry about lagging, delays, buffering, connection drops and other hiccups, there is one more problem: the Netflix library is personalized for each country.
So, if you are a US resident who is leaving the US, you might not be able to access your Netflix shows anymore. And the trick is to set up a VPN service for travel, in order to connect to a US server.
Likewise, if you are a non-US resident, you can still connect to a US server (or any other server) to unlock the Netflix library that exclusive to US (or any other country). Problem solved!
6. Governments should not enforce Internet censorship
If you live in a country whose government does not restrict Internet access or enforce online censorship, then congratulations! But not everyone is as lucky as you are.
The most popular example for this is The Great Firewall of China, where the government actively blocks access to certain sites, including social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Secure messaging services like Telegram are forbidden, and even a software giant Google has to deal with this oppression. Nobody likes it, but you cannot argue with an entire government.
On the bright side, premium VPN services for travel got you covered. By masking your true IP address and connecting to a safe country via a VPN, you can penetrate the government’s firewall and freely navigate the Internet.
There is one more problem worth noting: some governments are aware of the benefits of using a VPN to bypass firewalls. In that case, you must get your hands on a dependable VPN service for travel that supports obfuscation.
By connecting to obfuscated servers, you are hiding the fact that you are using VPN. Instead, your connection looks like regular HTTPS traffic. And no one can blame you for practicing basic security hygiene by using HTTPS instead of HTTP.
7. Keep ISPs in the dark
You should already be aware of this, but your Internet service provider knows everything you do the second you step inside the Internet.
Every link you click, every site you visit, and every torrent you download can be seen by your ISP. When traveling to a foreign country, it can be quite challenging to keep up with its copyright rules.
So, if you are unintentionally downloading a torrent with copyright material, which happens to be illegal in the country you are visiting, then your ISP might send you warning letters or worse, tip off the local authorities.
While incognito/private browsing sessions may keep your browser from collecting some information, they cannot keep you shielded from ISPs.
But a trustworthy VPN service for travel can fix all of this. Once you are connected to a VPN server, your data traffic is encrypted and cannot be decoded by the ISP. Therefore, you are safe to download whatever torrents you want, knowing that you are safe.
8. Journalists and whistleblowers need extra protection from offended governments
A minority of people fall in this category but they are the ones who need the best possible protection. If you are a journalist, whistleblower, political activist or researcher going to a foreign country for work, you need a VPN for travel.
You do not even have to be a professional to put your freedom at risk. Just ask the American woman who insulted a dictator while traveling to Africa and ended up in prison. Researching and writing crucial information that could shake a nation’s government to the core comes with high risks.
Therefore, when you are connecting to the Internet and trying to reach your home country to share the latest news, make sure to protect yourself with a premium VPN for travel. To be extra safe, turn on VPN obfuscation and join the Tor network while staying connected to the VPN.
9. Prevent your bank from freezing your account due to suspicious activity abroad
We cannot really blame banks for cutting off access to your account when they believe there is suspicious activity going on. Besides, it is the responsible thing to do.
If you are planning to travel abroad, you should consider contacting your bank to let it know what you will be using your credit card from another part of the world.
Sadly, this is often not enough since many banks and financial services like PayPal have strict rules about this, in order to ensure your financial security no matter what.
And it can be sometimes impossible to get in touch with your bank from a foreign country to set things straight. But you can get around this annoyance and make sure that you can always make a payment or withdraw cash from an ATM by turning to a reliable VPN service for travel.
The trick is to connect to a VPN server from your home country. Even if the IP address is from another city than the one where you live, it is less suspicious for banks. Therefore, there will be a lower risk of getting locked out of your bank account.
The downsides of using VPN for travel
We cannot afford to keep you in the dark when it comes to VPN for traveling. As such, you should also be aware of the disadvantages of using such technology.
It is illegal to use VPNs in certain countries
We have already established that a virtual private network service can help protect your online privacy and bypass firewalls when traveling to countries that enforce Internet censorship.
But you should know that some countries ban or restrict VPNs, making it illegal to resort to this technology when connecting to the Internet.
That means that, if you get caught using a VPN or VPN that is not approved by the state, you could get into serious trouble. In this case, it might not be worth using a VPN service for travel. We recommend being cautious when traveling to countries that ban or restrict VPN usage.
Some VPN servers are blocked by Netflix
Therefore, if your VPN provider does not keep up with the Netflix blocks, it means that its servers will get eventually banned. When this happens, you will encounter the Netflix proxy error, which recommends you to disable your proxy or VPN.
Fortunately, there are workarounds for this, and the simplest one is switching to another VPN server. If you cannot find a server that works, you should contact the tech support of your VPN provider and ask for help.
And, if the issue persists, then it is time reconsidering your VPN options. Perhaps you should purchase another VPN for travel, one that always has working servers for Netflix.
VPNs can slow down or disrupt your Internet connection
Sadly, this is a huge drawback that usually applies to all VPNs. If you are traveling to a country with slow or unstable Internet connections, then a VPN service will damage it further.
There is really nothing you can do about it. You can try tinkering with the VPN settings to switch to a weaker protocol, enable split tunneling, and disable obfuscation.
But even if it works, you do not really want to be discovered by the government and placed in jail just because you turned off obfuscation, or get hacked by someone at a coffee shop just because you used PPTP, the weakest VPN protocol.
So, if your VPN service is crippling your Internet connection, perhaps you are better off not using it. Evidently, this also means that you should not be engaging in risky activities without a VPN. Save it for another time and another place with a better Internet connection.
Virtual private network services are wonderful pieces of technology that give you back Internet freedom. No matter what are your reasons for going abroad, make sure to have a trustworthy VPN for travel.
But, at the same time, you should take into account the downsides of using a VPN when traveling to foreign countries. We cannot stress this enough: always practice good security hygiene, regardless of the circumstances!