I’m often asked whether or not I use a VPN while traveling internationally. There are so many people who legitimately don’t understand the importance of using a VPN in today’s world. I feel that there is a lot of misinformation in regards to this particular topic. Today I want to shed light on the use of a VPN while traveling internationally.
Do I need A VPN for International Travel?
For international travel, it is highly recommended that you use a VPN at all times. There are four major reasons why this is important. Shopping, geo-blocking, privacy, and censorship. It is important that you get a VPN before leaving your home, and not after you arrive at your destination.
4 Reasons Why an International Travel VPN is Important
Have you ever heard of Dynamic Pricing? In short, It is a type of internet-based system that increases or decreases the price of an item for sale based on specific characteristics about the person that is visiting the website. One of the most basic forms of Dynamic Pricing is geographical location.
If you visit an airline website, for example, looking to purchase an item – the price may be higher if you are in the United States than if you are in Vietnam. Online retailers will happily charge you more because they know that you are from a first world country.
Note: To be sure to learn how to use a VPN to get cheap flights.
Sometimes online retailers will increase the price based on what type of device you are using to visit their website. Are you using a phone? A laptop? If so, what brand? Is the device brand new and of the current year? Also, what specific area are you living in within your home country? They can also charge you more because the average income of your neighborhood his ‘high’. This is quite frustrating, indeed.
I can almost guarantee that you have experienced this at least once. Airline and hotel companies are notorious for using Dynamic Pricing. The best way to overcome Dynamic Pricing is to simply use a VPN. By using a VPN, you can select which location you want the VPN to route your information through. So basically, the website will think that you are in a completely different location. Change your VPN server location, delete your browser cookies & history, and then refresh your screen. Eventually you will find different pricing.
There are many websites today that use geo-blocking. This is a system that blocks you from accessing their website, or certain items on their website, based on the location that you are currently in. One of the most notorious globally-recognized companies that uses geo-blocking is Netflix. Netflix has a highly advanced geo-blocking system.
If you’re traveling internationally and have a Netflix account in your home country, it may not work the same when you arrive in the foreign country. You may be able to login and access a very small list of movies and shows or maybe everything is entirely blocked. It depends on which country you are visiting. There aren’t a lot of VPN companies that can claim victory in breaking through the Netflix geo-blocking system. Luckily I personally use and recommend only 1 VPN and it breaks through without a problem! See the bottom of this article.
Did you know that without using a VPN, it is unbelievably simple for your internet service provider to track you and watch every move that you make on the internet. They know which websites you have visited, they know how long you have visited these websites, they know what you have purchased, they know where you are walking or driving your car if you have your phone in your pocket.
But the scary part is it doesn’t just stop with your internet service provider. Government agencies can do this, websites can track you, marketers can track you, and worst of all, hackers can learn about you and find ways to breach into your life. It is ridiculously easy to gain information about you and your entire life if you are not using a VPN. It is a creepy and even frightening thought.
Why is this allowed? There are different theories, however, the most logical is that when big companies track you, they can sell your information to other companies who will then advertise to you. It is a multibillion-dollar business.
Luckily, when you use a trusted VPN, your actual and true identity and location is masked from everyone. It makes it incredibly difficult to track your identity or your current position. To remain private at all times, never turn off your VPN.
4) Country Censorship
If you plan on traveling internationally, you may find that you are visiting a country that is heavily censored. Some countries have censorship that is significantly stronger than others. Among some of the heaviest censorship are countries like:
- North Korea
- Saudia Arabia
Some of these countries have an internet firewall that is so strong, that once you enter, it is almost impossible to browse the real internet. China, for example, blocks more than 8,000 websites around the world. People inside of China can only browse the Chinese internet. There are very few VPN companies who can claim that they are able to break through the Great Firewall of China, luckily, I use one of the companies that can (see bottom of article).
Always Keep Your VPN On During International Travel
I can’t stress to you enough to keep your VPN on at all times during your travels. You literally never know when someone is trying to hack into your private life, steal your passwords, copy your travel documents, steal your banking information…you just have no idea.
One of the most common places for identity thieves is on an open and public network. These are places like Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, the local mall, airports etc. Anywhere there is a large public Wi-Fi system setup, you need to be aware and make sure your VPN is active. The easiest thing to do is simply never turn it off.
Get a VPN Before You Start Traveling Internationally
It is especially important to have a VPN on your computer and your phone before you arrive in a particularly sensitive country that has mass censorship. Immagine you arrive in one of these countries and realize that you do not have access to any website that you are used to.
When you open up your computer or your phone and connect to the local internet, all of the websites that you are used to will come up with an error message. But if you are not prepared with a VPN, then you will not be able to break through the wall. And then, when you try to visit a VPN website to download the software, those websites are blocked also. You are literally stuck.
I urge those of you who plan on traveling internationally in the near future to get a VPN installed on your devices before leaving home. Is usually a super simple process involving two or three clicks.
The Keys to a Good International Travel VPN
How Many Devices Are Allowed
Some companies limit the amount of devices that you are allowed to install the VPN on. Some companies will give you only 3 or 5 connections or your entire family. If you have a large family or a lot of devices, you definitely want to choose a company that allows multiple installations.
Compatible On All Devices
do you want to encrypt your phone? Your laptop? Your PC? Your tablet? Or how about things like your Playstation or Xbox? Choosing your company that can encrypt almost anything is important.
When you are browsing the internet, anyone can see your connection. If you are not using a VPN, they can open your connection and see exactly which websites you are using. If you are using a VPN they can see your connection but the information is encrypted and they cannot decrypt the code. well, that is if you have a strong encryption. If you choose a company that has weak encryption, then your information can be decoded easily. Strong encryption is key.
Logs are basically files of information that store information about it’s users. It is extremely important to choose a company that does not keep logs of their own customers. If a company keeps logs of its customers, then your information isn’t truly private. Don’t waste your time with these companies.
If a VPN company has a warrant Canary, it is a good thing. This shows customers whether or not the company has been issued a government subpoena or list of other strange orders from government agencies.
Generally when you use a VPN, your internet speed will be reduced by a couple of percent. Some companies will have a major impact on the speed of your device while browsing the internet. You do not want this. You want a VPN that does not dramatically slow down your internet.
Ease of Use
Whether you are installing the application or using the application, simplicity is essential. Nobody wants to deal with apps that are confusing.
Having only a couple of different servers to choose from is literally pointless. You want a company that has multiple servers all over the world to choose from. This will only help increase your anonymity.
Great Customer Service
If for some reason you need help, you want to be able to connect with a representative quickly and efficiently. Customer service is unbelievably important.
Don’t waste your time with free VPN companies. These companies notoriously have weak algorithms, keep logs on the users, and can gain access to your ‘encrypted’ information at any time. There is no accountability with these types of platforms. I personally would never trust them. Also, do not waste your time with companies that try to cheat you. Only spend your money on honest and fair companies who can be held accountable. It should not cost an arm and a leg to be private on the internet.
International Travel VPN
If you are currently looking for a VPN to travel with internationally, I highly recommend that you look at this VPN company. They meet or exceed at all of the points that I mentioned above. It is a company that believes in privacy. They do a wonderful job at battling all of the topics at the top of this article.