In the past, the point of travel is to go on vacation, unwind, and disconnect from work. However, these days, travel and work had become inextricably linked for digital nomads and traveling entrepreneurs. Instead of spending the day just doing nothing, you are expected to log in for work while soaking up the ambience from wherever you’re working.
While combining work and travel seems like the ideal combination, it’s not without its inherent risks. Cyber security is particularly a concern, especially if you’re fond of using free public Wi-Fi networks when accessing bank accounts or sensitive work documents. This is where a virtual private network (VPN) steps in, providing travelers with a shield of protection in the virtual realm.
Definition and Brief History of VPNs
You can think of VPNs as secure tunnels between your device and the provider’s server. Through encryption algorithms, it cloaks your activities from threats as well as trackers who are looking into profiting from your information.
The technology dates back since the late 1990s when businesses used them to establish secure remote connections. Over time, their use expanded to encompass personal privacy and global accessibility, making VPNs an essential tool for modern internet users, especially travelers seeking secure connectivity while on the move.
The Benefits of VPNs for Travelers
VPNs are a must-have solution for cyber security, especially if you travel frequently. That’s why before you leave home, make sure you install a reliable VPN, such as ExpressVPN on Mac or PC laptops you’re bringing. If you need more reasons to subscribe to this service, read on.
- More Secure Than Public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks in places such as hotels and airports are often less secure and more susceptible to cyberattacks. That’s why it makes sense to use a VPN. Since it encrypts your internet connection, you can protect your sensitive data from potential hackers who might be trying to intercept your information on unsecured networks.
- Data Privacy. Inevitably, you’ll need to access sensitive information such as online banking details, your professional email, or work documents while traveling. Fortunately, a VPN encrypts your online traffic, ensuring that your data remains confidential and reducing the risk of your personal information being intercepted by malicious actors.
- Bypassing Geo-Restrictions. If you’ve ever used streaming services such as Netflix or HBO Go, you already know that you can’t simply watch the same content as another user from the other side of the world. However, through a VPN server, you can change the featured content on the streaming platform by choosing your preferred server location that has the shows or movies that you’d like to watch. In doing so, you can access that location’s specific set of content, which means the world is your oyster in terms of streaming content.
- Skirting Booking and Price Discrepancies. Some travel websites and booking platforms might show different prices based on your location. Sidestep this particular pricing tactic by using a VPN to connect to servers in different countries. Thanks to this technology, you can potentially find better deals on flights, accommodations, and other travel-related services.
- Avoiding Censorship. In some countries, governments are actively banning platforms and censoring content that they deem unsuitable for the population. Using a VPN, you can easily bypass these censors and use the Internet as you usually would.
Key Features to Look for in a VPN for Travel
When considering a VPN for travel, certain features are non-negotiable:
- Strong Encryption. The foundation of any VPN is its encryption protocols. Look for a VPN that employs advanced encryption methods like AES-256 or IKEv2 to ensure your data remains impenetrable to hackers.
- No-Logs Policy. A reputable VPN provider should adhere to a strict no-logs policy, meaning they don’t store any records of your online activities. This ensures your privacy remains intact.
- Diverse Server Locations. Choose a VPN that offers a wide range of server locations across the globe. This not only allows you to bypass geo-restrictions but also ensures a smooth browsing experience by connecting to a server near your physical location.
- Connection Speed and Performance. Nobody wants a sluggish internet connection, especially while traveling. Choose a VPN with fast servers that minimize the impact on your browsing speed.
- Cross-Device Compatibility. Ensure the VPN supports all the devices you’ll be using during your travels, from laptops and smartphones to tablets. Some VPNs also offer browser extensions for added convenience.
- User-Friendly Interface. Traveling can be hectic, so a VPN with an intuitive and user-friendly interface is a blessing. A streamlined app makes activating the VPN as simple as a single click.
- Responsive Customer Support. Technical issues can arise at any time. A VPN provider with responsive customer support can help you resolve problems swiftly and keep your online security intact.
- Trial Period and Money-Back Guarantee. A trustworthy VPN provider will offer a trial period or a money-back guarantee. This allows you to test the service and ensure it meets your needs before committing.
- Cost and Payment Options. Budgets vary, so compare pricing plans to find a VPN that aligns with your financial plan. Additionally, verify that the payment methods offered are secure and convenient.
- Advanced Features. Some VPNs provide extra features like split tunneling (allowing you to choose which traffic goes through the VPN), ad-blocking, and malware protection. Assess whether these features enhance your online security while traveling.
Travel with peace of mind knowing you are protected against cyber threats. Through a reliable VPN connection, you can work and access your online accounts without worrying about data breaches and identity theft. So, go ahead and travel safely with a VPN covering your online tracks.