For those in the know, the reasons to use a VPN when travelling are pretty obvious. Not everybody is in the know of course, and Daves Travel Pages is here to help! So, if you have ever wondered what a VPN is, how to use one, and why, this is just what you have been looking for.
What is a VPN?
Let's start with the basics. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a way of connecting securely to the internet via a private “tunnel” through the web. This is the most secure way of connecting to the internet, especially by WiFi when travelling, or even when at home for that matter. Taking it one step further, Hotspot Shield is a VPN which also offers anonymous browsing, IP masking, privacy and security. You can unblock websites such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube which may be blocked in some countries or areas, watch TV from home when abroad, and many more things besides. I used one in the past to create a “dupe” for online gaming where I had two accounts seemingly from different countries… but enough gaming geek talk from me!
Reasons to Use a VPN When Travelling
To Access UK Content – Being from the UK, one of the things I miss from home when travelling, is being able to watch a new TV series. I have missed whole “personalities” careers whilst cycling around the world! A VPN like Hotspot Shield, means that I can access UK content such as BBC iPlayer even when I am sitting in a cafe in Thailand. Right at this very moment, there are probably tens of thousands of British ex-pats and travellers all trying to figure out ways to watch the 2014 World Cup with decent English commentary. A VPN is going to fix all that! Personally, I will use it to watch a new series of Doctor Who when abroad.
Do Online Banking – When online banking was first introduced, it was the answers to all my prayers. Finally, I could organise my finances whilst travelling! What tends to happen though, is every now and again your bank randomly blocks you from accessing your accounts whilst outside of the country. It really can be quite irritating. A VPN can be used to hide IP addresses, which means that you can fool your bank into thinking that you are logging in from your own country. This can also be very useful for logging into PayPal, or other number of online services.
WiFi Security – When cycling around the world, I tend to access the internet wherever and whenever I can. Coffee shops, supermarkets, hotels, garages – You name it, I have probably logged in from there over a free WiFi connection. The problem is, those access points are not always secure, especially in regularly frequented places. The last thing you need is somebody snooping on your activity, logging passwords and logins to banks and other online accounts. As Hotspot Shield encrypts all the network data, this private information remains secure. Take my word for it, you don't want the massive inconvenience of access to your bank accounts being frozen, if you are down to your last few coins in a foreign country! Better to be safe than sorry by using a VPN.
As might be expected, this VPN covers all the main platforms such as Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android. There are two versions, a free one and an inexpensive elite version that many people choose to upgrade to because of its additional features. The reasons to use a VPN when travelling far out-weigh the reasons not to, so take a look and see what you think.