Traveling is always exciting, but it can get dangerous pretty fast, especially if you aren’t careful with your online activity. Another problem is the internet content limitations, depending on the country you’re visiting. A virtual private network (VPN) is a tool highly recommended to travelers to protect their devices from cyber threats and access any content they want.
This article will explain precisely why a VPN is a must-have tool if you plan to spend a lot of time online when traveling.
What are the cyber threats when traveling?
Cybersecurity threats are consistent no matter where you are. Yet, they are even more prevalent when traveling for several reasons, including:
- Increased reliance on your devices – you will need location services to get around and browse the internet for cool spots to visit. With increased use comes an increased risk of becoming exposed.
- Use of public, unencrypted networks – most travelers don’t spend much time in their hotel rooms as they’re out and about exploring. Thus, they mainly rely on public internet connections to get by, which are often unencrypted, making them easy to exploit.
- Unsafe public computers – travelers without a personal laptop may rely on public computers in libraries or hotels. The maintenance on these computers is usually bad, resulting in outdated operating systems and even viruses like keyloggers.
Most of these risks are unavoidable, as you will need to take them to get around and take care of business while you’re away. So, unless you want to stay off the grid during your vacation, you should find a different solution, which is exactly where a VPN comes in.
How a VPN helps you stay protected
Now that you understand the cyber risks of traveling, it’s easy to see how a VPN can be a great tool to mitigate most of them. To understand how a VPN helps, let’s see how it works:
A virtual private network is exactly that – a virtual private network. An online VPN service sends your internet data through a secure tunnel – one of their servers. The VPN server then encrypts the data and hides your IP address before forwarding it to whichever site or service you’re trying to reach. All this is done simultaneously, so you won’t notice a significant drop in speed from using a VPN.
Thus, a VPN:
- Encrypts your data traffic, allowing you to use public networks securely.
As your internet traffic is encrypted, you can freely use public networks, knowing you’re not at risk.
- Works just as well on mobile devices, so you can safely use location services.
With a VPN on your phone, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the move. You can enjoy the internet and all its essential services, helping you have a better exploration experience at your vacation spot.
But what if I told you that cybersecurity isn’t the only great reason to use a VPN when traveling? Perhaps the most exciting thing a VPN allows you to do is to change your virtual location to anywhere you want. So, even if you’re somewhere in Europe, you can browse the internet as if you were still at home in the U.S., for example.
This means you can access all blocked websites and content like Netflix shows while traveling. We’re not encouraging anyone to spend their entire vacation watching TV shows, but the possibility for that is there with a VPN. Some countries like China and Russia have strict firewalls that block many websites and services you probably use daily. You can easily bypass these restrictions by changing your location via the VPN.
A VPN can even help you save money. Companies charge different prices based on location. By switching your virtual location to an objectively poorer country, you can find amazing deals on plane tickets, car reservations, and more. Therefore, a VPN is quite an adaptable service that might help you improve not only your trips but also your online experience overall.
A virtual private network (VPN) is an essential travel tool. Apart from the many security benefits which allow you to browse the web anonymously, there are other benefits that travelers will appreciate. The main one is the ability to virtually switch between locations, letting you access the content you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.