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Most people do not think about what their online activity would look like before setting out on long journeys. It is only when they encounter some hitches online during their journeys that it begins to dawn on them that they are no longer in their home countries where they could surf any website, or access even their bank accounts freely.
Using a VPN should be considered essential for travel the same way your phone and phone chargers are. If you are not still sure why that is, here are some reasons why you should use a VPN.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is like your own safety jacket or private path to the internet. All pieces of information you send and receive online are encrypted before it makes their way to and from the air, keeping them safe from criminals, fraudsters, or even the government of some countries.
The user’s initial IP address is replaced by one from the VPN provider. This would mean that all your activities online are kept private and you remain anonymous.
Securing Your Presence on Public WiFi
During any journey, there is always an opportunity to log on to any public wifi that is available. This can open you up to hackers who are also online to access and steal people’s pieces of information for several nefarious purposes.
Many governments in a bid to protect their citizens have published some safety precautions about using public wifi. Once you are not required to produce a log-in and a password to gain access to any wifi, then it is not safe to be on that wifi. This would mean that all your personal information like emails sent, banking information, credit card details, and even login passwords used will be open for theft.
So how can you log in to public wifi without getting defrauded? A VPN has that answer. A virtual private network will make all your pieces of information useless to any hacker. There are many types of VPNs and you will have to do your research on the best VPN list and choose the one that would work for you.
Accessing Geo-Restricted Content
If you are doing journeys across different countries, you may find that some websites that you could access in your home country are now inaccessible when you get to a different country. This is because some countries usually block certain websites like Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, and other online outlets due to some censoring by the governments of those countries.
Some months ago, Twitter ceased to operate in Nigeria because of an announcement by the country’s federal government. So, let’s say you are a staff member of Total UK on a short assignment in the company’s branch in Nigeria and you need to get on Twitter by all means during that period, a VPN can help you with that.
This kind of censoring usually occurs in Asian countries especially China, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. All you need to do is use a VPN to select a country where that website is available and you would be good to go.
Unhindered Access to Your Banking or PayPal Account
Usually, when you log in to your banking site or your PayPal account several times, pieces of information concerning your login habits are stored. One of these is the location from which you most frequently access your accounts. So, when you log in from a different country with a new IP address from your new location, your banking site or PayPal account will recognize this immediately and may lock you out of your account immediately.
Given that you cannot travel without doing some spending, this issue could put you in a precarious situation if there is no VPN to bail you out. If you can download a very good VPN before traveling, you can select your usual location and it would appear like you are doing your transactions from there. That way, you will be able to access your funds.
Avoid Location-Based Price Targeting
The prices for airline tickets, hotel fees, or even car reservations could vary depending on the location from which you are making your requests. This is because service providers like these know that some people in different countries could afford to pay higher amounts for certain products and services.
If you are in those countries that could be billed higher and you know you don’t have such type of funds but you would have been able to afford the bills if you were applying from another country, you can use a VPN. All you need is to hop between different servers in different countries and find the best deals available.
Surf the Internet Without Leaving a Digital Footprint
If you are a researcher, journalist, whistleblower, or political dissident, then you should be using a VPN when you are traveling. You can’t afford to risk government bodies or other organizations following your footprints.
The VPN will make sure to conceal your identity and leave you anonymous. This will go a long way to ensure you do not raise any red flags. People get arrested in different countries for their political utterances because they forget that freedom of speech is not the norm everywhere in the world. You can save yourself by just using a VPN.
If you are going on a long trip, you will definitely get bored if you don’t indulge in some online activities. You will also have to do payments and other important things like sending emails and all. Due to different laws in every country, you may find it difficult to get what you used to get in your country.
This is why you need a VPN while traveling. You can get the best deals on fee payments and also bypass hitches when you visit the digital space.
Rylie is freelance writer, fitness blogger, and travel junkie. Originally from Toronto, she currently resides in Lima, Peru but is always on the move to discover new adventures.