If you are worried you do not know how to use a VPN when traveling, don't be - it could not be easier. In most cases, accessing VPN internet services is as easy as clicking a button on your phone or laptop. You can also set up a VPN to come on right when you turn on your device. These days, your traveling VPN can do everything from protecting your passwords to letting you pick which country's websites you surf through. Here are five reasons why using a VPN when traveling is a must.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. That being the most obvious reason for using a VPN. It is all about security when traveling. There are many ways that people may track your internet movements, or monitor your internet use, or even soak up a few passwords and user names if they are smart. VPN makes snooping on you and stealing from you very difficult. It adds a new layer of security that is more like a fresh layer of hell for the dedicated malware producers, snoopers, and brute force attackers. You can use a VPN for everything from boosting your MacBook security, to ensuring your safety when using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Being able to determine where you can access the internet is very powerful. Let's say you are in France, and you want to know the way to a local hotel. You try the internet, but it is mostly in French, so you turn on the translation software and what you find seems to pale in comparison to what you researched when you were home. So, you switch on your traveling VPN and pick a server from your home country and/or home area. Suddenly, all the websites you researched back home are available, they are all in your language, and the way the websites are laid out is a little closer to what you are accustomed to.
Let's say that you are in another country, and you seem to be reacting to the local food. You try to look up the symptoms on your phone, but even though the websites you find are in your language, you are finding it impossible to get a good answer. This is especially true when you try national search engines. So, you turn on your VPN and pick a server in your own country. Suddenly, you have access to WebMD, NHS, and many other reliable websites that will help you figure out if you are ill, having an allergic reaction, are having a normal reaction, or are experiencing some type of food poisoning. It could save you the thousands it would cost to visit an overseas A&E department.
When you think of using a VPN when traveling, you often do not think of using torrent software. Most people think that torrenting is all about piracy, but that is very far from true. Using torrents, especially abroad is the quickest and most practical way to disseminate large files between a group of people. Let’s say that you have just finished your animation or your overseas video shoot, and you need to get the rough cuts back to the sound studio, the editors, and so forth. Using torrents is the best way to get your files back there safely.
Plus, these days, releasing your stuff to torrent websites is becoming a good distribution model. We all think of greedy Hollywood producers trying to stop piracy, so they can go back to charging $80 for a crappy remake of Mulan. Yet, many smaller and middle-sized producers can gain the most recognition and profit by releasing their property free to download via torrents. Advertisers will pay through the nose for viral content that people are downloading from torrents, which is often why the copyright-free stuff has a few obvious product placements in them. You can watch and enjoy it when traveling if you have a VPN. Not only are your downloads and uploads safe, but your ISP cannot see what you are doing, and they cannot throttle your Internet speeds for downloading too much per week.
You may have heard about people living the van life. These are Instagram users who go out visiting famous places so they can post about it on Instagram. It is not a new concept. For example, there are people on Tiktok who have taken photographs of them doing the splits in front of famous buildings, and there are Facebook crazes like planking and cat breading that using similar principles. But, while you are dominating Instagram with your popularity and charm, you are exposed to massive amounts of risk. Everybody from local Wi-Fi hotspot fraudsters, to people sniping your new followers, are going to be after you.
They know that you are away from home and so are going to have a harder time recovering your profiles. They know you are not using your normal secure services, and there are plenty of mobile internet hackers who can insert themselves into your profile while you are traveling. Not to name names, but an easy trick is to insert a new user into your social media management software, meaning they have indirect access to information from your social media, and access to what is posted. However, if you have a VPN, a hacker will have a hard time targeting you. In fact, without placing malware on your phone to start with, the hacker will find it almost impossible to target you when you are traveling.
The great thing about VPN services is that they encrypt your data, ergo your internet use between you and their servers. This may not sound like it protects you while you use internet banking and money-account passwords, but it makes stealing from you very difficult.
Hackers, crackers, snoopers, and ID thieves need a certain amount of information to be successful. Stealing something like your identity is easier than stealing your banking or money-account information. This is because certain information is required to pull it off, and thieves cannot pull that information from encrypted communications. This means that even if a systemic bug or hacking loophole is discovered, and all passwords and usernames are released, the thieves will not be able to match one with the other. In short, they wouldn’t have enough information to steal from you.
Take the example of the HeartBleed exploit. This is a hacking loophole that has existed on massive and famous websites for years. Yet, people who religiously used VPN were not affected. This is because even though the hackers were able to gain large snippets of information from website users, the information they got from VPN users was useless. All they would see is that “Somebody” uses HSBC services, and goes on Facebook 5 hours per day. If you are traveling and you are accessing credit card statements, using internet-connected money apps, or are trying to log into your online banking, then you should be using VPN if you want to keep your information safer. Remember that the harder you make it for online thieves, the more likely it is they will scurry away and bother somebody else.
James Murphy is a full-time content creator and a traveler from New York. He always uses a VPN when travelling to make sure his content is delivered on time. He is a father of two lovely toddlers and is a die-hard fan of the New York Yankees.