Using a VPN when you are traveling is more important than you realize. When using public network, scammers, hackers and thieves can access your computer with ease. Connecting to free Wi-Fi is convenient but precarious. It is very easy for prying eyes to see what you are doing and steal your information.
A VPN will keep your passwords safe and allow you to virtually be elsewhere. However, it is often overlooked by travelers yet it is a priority. Below are some reasons you should use a VPN when on the road.
Surf Securely Over Open Wi-Fi
Free and open Wi-Fi has a hidden cost: your security and privacy. At unsecured hotspots, your data can be spied on and the information you send and receive is ripe for the taking. These could be e-mails sent and received, sites visited, files sent and even the passwords that you use to log in.
A VPN encrypts your data, keeping it away from prying eyes. It’s the best way to be safe on suspicious networks.
Access Media Across Borders
If you are addicted to media, especially TV, occasionally you might find your access blocked when you have traveled outside your country. Rights agreements could that someone else might own the rights to broadcast in the country you are in. However, through VPN, you can view blocked content like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and the BBC while traveling overseas.
Access Restricted Websites and Services
In some countries, prominent websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and even entire networks of Google’s services may be blocked. You might find out that Skype and other VOIP services are blocked in some countries by telecom providers afraid of losing revenue, or dictatorial regimes who wish to monitor calls.
Peer-to-peer traffic is also being cut at local level. This technology which started with Napster has become famous for BitTorrent. They are often linked to pirated music and movies; P2P is used by a host of legitimate technologies these days. A good VPN for torrenting and P2P file sharing can help you stay safe while using BitTrorrent.
Some governments are trying to control what their citizens should have acces to online. The most famous being China and the “Great Firewall of China.” Fortunately, a VPN will give you access to the internet from another server in a different country, bypassing any censorship in the country you are visiting. For example, there’re some VPN services that work very well in China to bypass its consorship.
Prevent Online Banking Lockouts
Most people are aware that it is important call your credit card company beforehand and inform them you are traveling abroad. So that when you pay for your hotel, they don’t panic and block your card thinking it may have been stolen.
When you’re traveling in another country, your foreign IP address may raise an alarm for your bank or online services such as Paypal. The company may flag you and ask security questions to verify that your account hasn’t been hacked into. You might even be locked out, requiring a phone call to the bank before regaining access to your money.
However, if you use a VPN with an IP address of your home country, you can avoid this kind of problem when accessing your bank account or Paypal while traveling abroad.
Although there are some free alternatives out there, they are often slow, and wrought with performance issues. You can go for paid VPN and there’re some really good cheap VPN services. Either way, it’s a small price to pay for piece of mind, and access to the internet when you are traveling.