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you should always use a vpn while traveling

Ever been on the move and desperately needed to connect to the internet? Public Wi-Fi seems like a lifesaver, right? But hold your horses! Unsecured internet access during your travels can be risky. It's like leaving your front door wide open with a sign saying 'Welcome' to all online threats. Thankfully, many VPNs are here for your rescue. Be it Surfshark, ExpressVPN, Nord VPN, or Private Internet Access, these VPN providers offer you private internet access by encrypting your data and shielding it from prying eyes. Say goodbye to risks and hello to secure internet use. Let's dive into how a virtual private network can be your knight in shining armor for more than just online security while traveling.

Protecting Privacy Is The Main Reason People Use A VPN Provider

Let’s get this out of the way first - the top reason why people use a VPN provider is for increased security. This fact was clear in a 2023 survey conducted by Forbes where they showed that 77% of VPN services are being used for personal use and 80% of the respondents cited “Increased Security” as the reason why they had a VPN.

Of those people that took place in the survey, 42% further specified that they used VPN services to increase their security when using public wifi networks.

I suspect that this number would have been much higher except for the fact that I think too many people lack a basic understanding for why data security is important and the risks that come from connecting to shared wifi access points like those found everywhere today from restaurants and gas stations to train terminals and hotels. What makes this even more complicated is that literally anyone can create a fake access point with a legitimate sounding name.

For instance, have you ever checked into a hotel and seen “hotelguest” but then you see one that says “BonvoyMembers” that the front desk person didn’t mention at check-in? That could be a nefarious hacker sitting out in the parking lot with his laptop just waiting to snoop on your data!

Good thing you are one 38 million Americans who use a VPN regularly!

If not, you can buy vpn service easily from companies like Surfshark and get your stuff set up and protected within minutes.

Now that you’ve protected your data and improved your privacy, here are some other reasons why e need to have a trustworthy vpn installed at all times!

marriott hotel page in argentina

Avoid Localized Search Results And Website Formatting

Websites and search engines use cues from your computer such as cookies and your IP address to determine where you are located and then they serve you a customized experience. This is great if you are an American living in Detroit since the airline’s page will show you prices in US Dollars and Google shows the search results in English.

However, if you travel to Argentina and browse for something or want to book a hotel … suddenly your results are in Spanish and prices default to Pesos! Plus, on some sites it won't even accept your login if your user account is your phone number unless you switch it from +54 to +1. 

This might sound trivial but it can be a pain if you travel regularly.

Cheaper Hotel And Flight Deals By Selecting A Different Location

Ever noticed how the same flight or hotel deal can have a different price tag based on your location? It's all about price discrimination. Companies switch up prices depending on where you're booking from. Sounds unfair, right?

Here's the kicker - using a VPN for travel can help you save big time. Just change your server location and voila! You might see cheaper deals.

Case In Point

  • Jack lives in the United States. He's planning a trip back home to his destination country, Australia. Without a VPN, the flight costs him $1500. But when he switches his device location to India via VPN, the same flight is only $1200!
  • Jon from Australia wants to book a hotel in the US. The site shows her a deal of $200 per night without VPN. She changes her server location to Mexico, and suddenly that same room is available for $150!

A word of caution though - always read the company’s terms and conditions before booking and for extra certainty, check with the company through live chat or email before booking with an altered location.

The way that most brands get around avoiding VPN out of region purchases being prohibited is that they require customers to purchase the plane tickets or vacation package using a credit card issued from that country. For instance, if you are in the United States and there’s a better deal if you switched your country to India … you will only be able to book if you use an Indian credit card.

In short:

  • Price discrimination is real
  • A simple switch of server locations can save you money
  • Always verify before booking

Remember, every penny saved on deals means more spending points for fun stuff during your trip! So next time you plan a trip, don't forget to use that vpn for travel!

hbo max not available in argentina

Access Geo-restricted Content

Accessing geo-restricted content works less well than it did in the past but a VPN can still open doors for travelers looking to watch shows back home.

Streaming services unfortunately have invested a significant amount of energy to make this more difficult to do and are notorious for blocking access to certain shows in different territories. Netflix in particular has been explicit in this policy and so it will only present to you shows that they have global rights to if it detects that you are using a VPN - even if you are connecting to a country where that content is legally available.

Using a VPN to stream shows from a foreign country falls into a legal gray area for other brands though and there are also local laws to consider. While it's not technically illegal in most countries, it does violate the terms of service of most streaming services.

If this is a concern of yours, check your terms of service The streaming service has clear guidelines stating that users should only access the service in the country where they established their account. It's always advisable to familiarize yourself with and adhere to the terms of service of any platform you use, and to respect the laws of your country regarding internet usage and access to foreign content.

Bypass Censorship and Website Black Lists

Internet censorship is a real bummer for travelers. Some countries - as well as individual cruise lines, hotel operators, and airlines have a tight grip on web traffic flowing through their network. This often includes blocking certain sites and online activities ranging from porn and other adult content to controversial political sites or even gaming.. A real killjoy, right? But here's the good news: VPNs can help you sidestep these blacklists.

VPNs To The Rescue

VPNs are like your personal ad blocker for censorship. They hide your address, making it easy for you to access blocked sites without attracting attention from hackers. Plus, they offer privacy protection that keeps your online activity under wraps.

Legal Stuff You Need to Know

In some places, using a VPN to dodge blacklists could land you in hot water. So always check out the country's stance on VPN use before going ahead. And don't forget to read the privacy policy of any VPN service you're considering – just because they offer free trials doesn't mean they won't track or share your data.

Sadly, VPNs Can Be Blocked Too

System administrators aren’t dumb. Chances are if they have implemented a filter to prevent you from accessing certain content online … they’ve also thought about how to block VPN traffic too. Not all VPN services are created equal and while most are simply “what you see is what you get”, others like Surfshark offer a “Stealth VPN” feature to obfuscate your connection - making it more likely that you will be able to connect even if other services are blocked.

Messing around with national security policies as a visitor to a foreign country is something not to be taken lightly unless you want to take some prison selfies. However, the chances of being caught are typically pretty low and sometimes you just gotta stream that game live, rather than waiting for the box scores to update.

man working on his laptop in hotel room on the beach

Selecting the Ideal Travel VPN Service

Now that you know WHY you need a vpn while traveling, let's take a look at what you should consider before making the choice to buy a vpn subscription so you can pick the right one.

Key Factors to Consider

Picking the best VPN for travel can be a confusing process since most VPN services offer a basic level of service that is more than sufficient for typical users who are only worried about blocking hackers from snooping on them when they connect to public wifi. For others - like myself - when traveling and working remotely in different countries around the world, there are some other things to consider consider:

FeatureDescriptionWhy It's Important for Travelers
Server Locations Number and geographic distribution of servers. Access to geo-restricted content and services from home or other countries.
Speed and Performance How fast the VPN connection is, especially during peak times. For smooth video conferencing, streaming, and efficient work without interruptions.
Security Protocols Types of encryption and security protocols offered (e.g., OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP). Ensures data integrity and privacy. Different protocols offer varying levels of security and speed.
No-logs Policy The VPN provider's policy on not storing user activity logs. Protects user privacy and ensures that their online activities aren't tracked or stored.
Kill Switch A feature that disconnects the internet if the VPN connection drops. Prevents accidental exposure of user data if the VPN connection is interrupted.
Simultaneous Connections Number of devices that can be connected to the VPN at the same time. Allows travelers to connect multiple devices (laptop, phone, tablet) simultaneously.
Compatibility Support for various operating systems and devices. Ensures the VPN can be used on any device the traveler has, whether it's Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, or others.
Customer Support Availability and quality of customer support (e.g., 24/7 live chat, email support). Provides assistance in case of connection issues or other queries, especially in different time zones.
Price and Payment Options Cost of the VPN service and available payment methods. Helps travelers budget and choose a service within their means. Also, some might prefer anonymous payment options.
Trial Period/ Money-back Guarantee Whether the VPN offers a free trial or a money-back guarantee period. Allows travelers to test the service before committing, ensuring it meets their needs.
Wi-Fi Protection Enhanced security features for public Wi-Fi connections. Protects travelers when using public Wi-Fi in hotels, airports, cafes, etc.
Bypass Censorship Ability to bypass internet censorship in countries, hotels, airlines, and cruise ships with restricted internet access. Stealth VPN service or “Server Obfuscation ensures travelers can access all websites and services, even in countries with strict internet regulations.
Bandwidth Limit Whether the VPN has any data or speed limits. Unlimited bandwidth ensures consistent speed and no data caps, essential for remote work.
Streaming and P2P Support Whether the VPN supports streaming services and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. Allows travelers to access streaming content from home and safely engage in P2P activities.
Dedicated IP Option Option to have a unique IP address that isn't shared with other users. Useful for travelers who need a consistent IP for specific tasks or to avoid blacklisting due to other users' activities.

Travelers working remotely should evaluate VPN services based on these features to ensure they select a service that best fits their needs and ensures a seamless work experience while on the move.

Remember, selecting an ideal VPN is not just about finding a service; it’s also about finding what fits your specific needs as well as providing an extra layer of security while traveling. So take this step seriously and choose wisely!

Wrapping It Up: Why You Need a VPN for Your Travels

So, there you have it, folks! Using a VPN when you're out globetrotting isn't just a cool tech trick. It's an absolute game-changer that can help you dodge those pesky localized search results and website formatting. Plus, who wouldn't want to score cheaper hotel and flight deals by simply switching up their location? But the fun doesn't stop there. A VPN lets you bypass censorship, access geo-restricted content like your favorite shows or sports events, and steer clear from any website blacklists.

Choosing the right VPN service is crucial though. Not all are created equal. So make sure to pick one that fits your travel needs best. Don’t forget - safety first! Now go ahead, pack your bags, grab your passport and don’t leave home without turning on that trusty VPN!