Before I started traveling full time, I didn’t really think of internet security and its risks. I was more busy with planning my itinerary, sorting out my budget and thinking of what to pack for my trip.
Then I had a friend asking me how I’ll make sure that my blog stays secured when I travel and how I will do my payment transactions when on the road. Hmm, I honestly wasn’t prepared for that.
Let me share the basic’s of VPN usage while travelling!
What is a VPN?
VPN (Virtual Private Network) described in easy words, is a private connection between your computer and any website or application. It works like a protected tunnel system.
By having a VPN, you can change your IP location, encrypt your data, and access sites that might be unavailable and blocked in your location.
It basically protects all of your internet traffic regardless of its type, including emails, payment transactions, videos, and music.
Why Do You Use It?
There are 3 main reasons why using a VPN makes sense – whether you are travelling or at home.
At home you use your own password protected network. This is different when you are on the road.
While you’re travelling, you often connect to public WiFi networks in places like airports, cafés, hotels, and train stations. Anybody on this same network can easily grab your unencrypted data – usernames, passwords and credit card numbers from the web browser or app.
2. Access Blocked Content
Some governments block popular sites like Netflix, Facebook, or international news channels to restrict access to services that are considered contrary to national interest. VPNs will bypass internet filtering and you will be able to, for example update your Facebook status in China or watch your favorite series while being oversees.
3. Get cheaper Hotel and Flight Prices
VPNs can actually help you buy cheaper plane tickets and book accommodation at lower rates. Domestic flight tickets bought-in-country are often cheaper than if they were bought abroad.
Also, hotel rates are often cheaper when booked from certain destinations. Many online booking sites enable hotels to run market specific promotions which can only be accessed via a country specific IP address.
How Do You Use It?
Using a VPN is quite simple. You decide on a VPN provider, download and install the VPN on ALL your devices – mobile, tablet and laptop. Then start it up after you’ve connected to the Internet.
Choose the server/address (or “endpoint”) you’d like to use and after a few seconds, all of your data is encrypted and passing through the virtual network.
In order to be sure the VPN is working, connect to an endpoint in a different country and go to a website like http://whatismyipaddress.com/. If you see the IP address is in that country, you are good to go!
A few things to consider when choosing your VPN provider:
Good choice and amount of server locations worldwide
Good platform compatibility
Allows to use multiple devices simultaneously
Includes an auto-connect feature
Has acceptable speeds
No hidden fees