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5 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 often conduct the majority of their business online from all corners of the globe.

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But that constant connectivity also leaves your devices vulnerable to attack – viruses, snooping, data theft or worse. Which 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.

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© hobvias sudoneighm

What is a VPN?

Lifehacker sums it up best:

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

  • 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.
  • Secure Browsing: Not only does a VPN allow you to surf anonymously but securely as well. This means that all of you most sensitive data – passwords, chat sessions, financial data, etc. – is completely hidden from spying eyes.
  • Malware Protection: 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 importantly is the fact that so many travelers 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 been using Hotspot Shield VPN for the past few months. In short: we’re thrilled with it.

The best VPNs run seamlessly in the background without the need for any intervention from you and HSS does just that. It’s available as a free download if you care to test the waters. Or you can upgrade to the Elite version which provides you with a whole new set of great features.


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