Top Reasons Every Connected Traveler Should Be Using a VPN
iPods, tablets, smartphones, PCs … traveling with a handful of gadgets is practically standard in today’s world. Particularly for bloggers and digital nomads who conduct the majority of their business online from all corners of the globe.
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But that constant connectivity leaves your devices vulnerable to attack — viruses, snooping, data theft, or worse. This is where VPNs come in handy. You’ve probably at least heard the term but may have no idea exactly what a Virtual Private Network actually is or does.
Put simply, a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a group of computers (or discrete networks) networked together over a public network — namely, the internet. Businesses use VPNs to connect remote datacenters, and individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their communications when they’re using an untrusted public network.
Why You Should Be Using VPN Software
There are plenty of reasons why you should be using a VPN for travelling. Here are just five good reasons to download good VPN software right now:
Cloak Your IP Address
Scammers rely on targeting your IP address (the “phone number” for your computer when you’re connected to the internet) to steal data, snoop on your browsing habits, or simply hack your computer. VPN software provides you with a new IP address to mask your actual IP address so you can surf anonymously.
Surf the Web Anonymously
For a variety of reasons, many people would rather surf the web anonymously. Along with the above IP address “cloaking,” VPN software creates an encrypted “tunnel” through which all of your data flows (websites you visit, files you download, etc.) completely anonymously.
Not only does a VPN allow you to surf anonymously but securely as well. This means that all of your most sensitive data — passwords, chat sessions, financial data, etc. — is completely hidden from spying eyes.
Good VPN software can alert you when the sites you’re visiting are known to be malicious or can harm your computer before you ever actually visit them. Think of it as a sort of “preemptive anti-virus software.”
Public WiFi Security
Last and perhaps most important is the fact that so many travellers rely on public WiFi networks while on the road. This opens you up to all kinds of illicit activity from other users on the same network. A personal VPN can provide you with a completely secure browsing session to ensure your most private data stays private.
There’s a variety of VPN software available, but we’ve liked TunnelBear, IPVanish, and ExpressVPN.
The best VPNs run seamlessly in the background without the need for any intervention from you. Most are available as free downloads, so you can test the waters before committing to a monthly subscription. From there, you can decide whether you want to upgrade to a full/premium version (with all the bells and whistles) or not.