Tips, Travel

Why Use a VPN When You Travel?

Why Use a VPN When You Travel

If your security and privacy are important to you, you should use a VPN when you travel. A VPN, or virtual private network, extends a private network and the resources from that network across public networks like the Internet. Simply put, a VPN provides a point-to-point connection, a tunnel, to a private network so that you can use that network, and whatever resources are available on that network.

Why Use a VPN When You Travel -- woman on laptop at cafe

Image: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Many people are familiar with VPNs because they use them at work, or more accurately, when they are away from work. While you are away from your office, or campus, or wherever you work, you can create a tunnel to your work network. At that point, everything you do being done exactly as if you were at work.

VPNs are not just for work though. As a matter of fact, whether you use your employer’s or your business VPN while traveling will depend on why you are using one in the first place. You may very well may want to set up your own or use a service that provides one for you. Setting up and using a VPN is a topic for another day. Today’s question – why use a VPN when you travel?

Using the Internet via a VPN is like using the Internet from another place. The most obvious advantage to this while traveling is exactly that – shifting your location. Many banks prefer customers access online banking websites from their own countries. If you are using a VPN that connects you to a network in the same country as your bank, you access websites as if you were in that country. Another advantage to location shifting is media consumption. Want to watch your favorite TV show online? You may not be able to do that from where you are without using a VPN.

Why You Should Use a VPN When You Travel

Image: AussieGold via Flickr

Shifting your location is not the only reason to why to use a VPN when you travel. You can also work around a firewall or take advantage of the features of the firewall on your network. Perhaps you want to download a couple of movies – legally or not – and the public network you are using won’t allow it. Perhaps the firewall on your private network does a better job protecting your computer. Maybe you’re in a country that censors – or just monitors – Internet usage. Use a VPN when you travel and you can address both of these issues.

Why You Should Use a VPN When You Travel

Image: Joe Howell via Flickr

Finally, all traffic to your VPN will be encrypted in some way. This gives you two more powerful advantages – privacy and security. If all your traffic is encrypted point to point, you avoid any risk from users around you in a coffee shop or the hotel rooms around you eavesdropping on your Internet use. Not only can they not capture personal information and passwords, etc, they won’t know what websites you visit, who you email, or anything else about what you do while you are online.

A little privacy might be the only reason you need to use a VPN while you travel.

Why Use A VPN When You Travel has been brought to you by travelWIRED.

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