A lot of travelers use different apps, websites, tips and tricks, hacks, etc. that make their travel experience so much better, easier, convenient, cheaper, and safer. However, a lot of people often forget and do not realize a very important service that they need to keep them safe and secure while traveling. In this post, I will tell you exactly what that is and why you need it.
So when I decided to quit my job to travel the world, I asked my brother who works in cyber security how I can be safe with my personal information while traveling and he told me I needed to get a VPN. At that point, I had no clue what a VPN was and why you should always use a VPN while traveling, but I quickly signed up for a VPN before I took off. I am so glad I got a VPN, as it has been so helpful.
Even if you’re not traveling long-term, you still should get a VPN no matter what. As you travel, you will most likely access public WiFi, check your email, log in to your accounts or social media, check your bank account, search the web, and do various other things on your devices (phone or laptop). However, when you do any of those actions on your devices, you are opening yourself up to scams, viruses, and identity theft.
The last thing you want to deal with while traveling is having your accounts hacked, locked out, or having your personal information stolen.
So how do you prevent all of this from happening?
The best thing you can do while traveling is to use a VPN every time you use your device(s).
What is a VPN?
A VPN stands for “virtual private network” and allows you to connect to a secure and private network. According to NordVPN, “it creates an encrypted tunnel for your data, protects your online identity by hiding your IP address, and allows you to use public WiFi hotspots safely.”
I am not a techy person, so this post will be very simple and will not go into too many details.
*Disclaimer: Some countries prohibit the use of VPNs or require them to be registered with the government. It’s up to you to fully understand when, where, and how you use it. A VPN also helps protect and secure your information, but it cannot 100% prevent hacking, scams, viruses, etc. but a VPN does reduce your chances.*
Why do you need a VPN?
It’s important to have a VPN because it protects your personal information and hides your online activity. Even in your home country, it’s wise to use a VPN. For example, let’s say you’re going on a weekend trip and you want to connect to your hotel WiFi, using a VPN will help protect your information when you log in. Or let’s say you work remotely and you want to work at a cafe or Starbucks. When you use the public WiFi there to access your computer, you want to make sure to use a VPN to securely and safely connect.
It’s pretty easy for criminals to access public networks and you do not want to risk the chance of your device(s) or information getting stolen.
Why do you need a VPN while traveling?
There are so many scams that target tourists and one of them is through your online activity. While you’re traveling, you’re constantly accessing public networks that can make you vulnerable and easily able to hack. Think about it – when traveling, you’re checking emails at a cafe or the airport, you’re checking how much money you have in your bank account, you’re researching flights, accommodations, and travel. Therefore, every time you do that while traveling, you want to make sure you protect your personal information and activity.
Below are a few examples and reasons why a VPN is so important and an absolute must while traveling.
Avoid getting hacked using public WiFi
The #1 reason why I got a VPN was the constant use of public networks. While traveling, you will be connecting to WiFi all the time. You will most likely connect to WiFi at your accommodation, at the restaurant, at the airport, throughout the city, at a cafe, etc. Every single time you connect to WiFi, you are opening yourself up to possibly get hacked and someone being able to see your online activity. When you use a VPN, your online traffic is invisible to potential hackers and therefore, will be a lot harder for them to hack your information.
Anyone using the same network as you can hack into your phone/computer and access your information. Depending on the network you connect to, there can be hundreds or thousands of people using the same exact network as you. For example, think about when you’re at the airport in another country and you want to use the WiFi. Thousands of others are also using that same network and can potentially access your information.
There are times when hackers even set up “fake” WiFi networks so you connect to it and then they can hack into your device or install viruses on it.
When you use a VPN while traveling, you can protect your information while using public WiFi. You won’t have to worry about connecting to every single network and stress about if it’s safe to check your email, your bank account, social media, etc.
Protect your privacy
Even if you’re using a private network, your online activity can still be tracked. When you use a VPN, you can hide your online activity and protect your privacy. When your VPN is turned on, you can browse the internet securely and anonymously.
Get cheaper travel
A VPN is a great way to potentially get cheaper flights and cheaper travel. Airlines and companies will sometimes increase their prices based on your location. So if you are searching in California, the prices you see might be very different than someone else that is located in Bali. A lot of the time, prices are cheaper when you’re searching within the country vs. when you’re searching from a different country.
A VPN changes your IP address so it appears you’re accessing the site through a different location and different country. If you want to potentially get cheaper prices on your travel, you can use a VPN to change your location and see if the prices are cheaper.
Protect your money while abroad
Whenever you need to check your bank account while abroad, be careful of what network you’re logged into. For example, if you need to check how much money you have in your account, pay your bills, or purchase anything, you want to use a VPN while traveling to secure that information.
The last thing you want is to be traveling and realize your money was stolen from your account.
Avoid being locked out of your bank account
When you’re logging into your bank account or any website from a foreign country, they might think there was fraudulent or unusual activity. When they suspect fraudulent or unusual activity, they can flag your account or freeze your account. For example, if you’re normally logging into your account in America, but all of the sudden, you’re logging in from Thailand, your bank might flag or freeze your account for unusual activity. If your account is frozen, it will take a long time to provide proof that it was you and access your account again. And while you’re traveling, who has the time or the desire to do that?!
Since you’re traveling to various countries or traveling long-term, you will be accessing your bank account from a lot of locations. Most banks allow you to set up travel alerts where you notify your bank that you’re traveling so they don’t think it’s fraudulent activity when using your card. However, you might go to another country or the bank might not catch it and still flag it.
This can also apply with email accounts, social media accounts, etc. as sometimes when you log into a different location, it gets flagged as unusual activity and lock you out of using your account.
When you use a VPN, you can connect to a network that’s based in your home country so it doesn’t think there’s any unusual activity going on. A VPN will help you avoid getting locked out and having to spend a lot of time getting the account back.
Access more content abroad
Netflix and other streaming services offer different content, shows, and movies based on the country or region you’re in due to licensing agreements. Having a VPN will allow you to access different content based on where you connect to. For example, if you’re in Portugal, you might not have access to your favorite shows back home in America. Therefore, if you use a VPN, you can change your location to America and access your favorite shows and content.
Secure your work
If you work remotely, you should use a VPN to protect your information abroad or even in your home country. Usually, when you work, you are accessing confidential and important information. When you’re using private or public networks, all of your online activity can be tracked and visible. Similarly to you wanting to protect your personal information, you will want to use a VPN to protect your confidential work information.
Access blocked content and platforms
Depending on where you’re traveling to, some sites, content, platforms, etc. are blocked within that country. For example, sometimes Instagram, Facebook, Google, or WhatsApp are blocked and unavailable to use in certain countries. If you’re visiting a country that blocks specific content you want to use, you can use a VPN to still access it.
Best VPN service to use
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you buy something through those links I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! All opinions are my own.
There are several different VPN services that you can get, but not all are created equal and are good to use. When finding a VPN, you want to make sure it works in as many countries as you will be traveling to various places. You also want to make sure the VPN service has good speed, security, and price.
The VPN that I’ve used since 2018 is NordVPN, which I highly recommend. I’ve been using NordVPN since the beginning of my travel journey and before I even got into blogging.
Why you should get NordVPN
NordVPN has access to over 5200+ different servers in 60 countries which gives you a lot of options to connect to. Another amazing thing about NordVPN is that they have a strict no-logs policy. Their strict no-logs policy means they do not collect user data and will not store any of your online activity in their database. In the online space and our information constantly being seen and sold, this is incredible!
When you sign-up, you can access your NordVPN on multiple devices too. You can use the same account on your phone, laptop, iPad, etc. This is great because you can use your VPN on several devices without having to pay more.
NordVPN is also very reasonably priced. For a couple of dollars a month, you can reduce your online threats of scams, viruses, and identity theft and get access to cheaper travel and content. If you’re interested in getting a VPN, which you should, you can get 68-72% off using my unique link. You can also use promo code: alongwithpong at checkout.
I always use NordVPN when I’m in my home country and when traveling abroad. I have peace of mind knowing my personal information is private and secure.
In conclusion, using a VPN is an absolute must while traveling and should not be overlooked. Too many times people do not take it seriously, and then find out later their information was hacked or stolen. Identity theft and scams are extremely unfortunate and can be avoidable.
Whatever you do, please make sure to get a VPN before traveling or accessing your phone on public networks.