A virtual private network (VPN) is a category of technology that’s as equally useful as it can be confusing for travelers. Whether it’s the name that’s intimidating or the fact that most people don’t feel the need for them until they’re actually traveling, a VPN is something you should never go anywhere without. A solid VPN service, like my personal favorite Hotspot Shield, provides you with your own little secure piece of the Internet. Connections are made between your laptop, tablet, or other device over an encrypted tunnel, giving you the following benefits.
1. You Can Access Netflix, Hulu, And Other Streaming Sites
This one is more specific to US, UK, or Australian-based VPN services, like Hotspot Shield I mentioned earlier, which allow you to watch your favorite TV shows from anywhere. In essence, when you connect to the VPN, your laptop appears to be in the United States so you avoid the regional blocks Netflix and others use.
2. Maintain Your Privacy
Working through an encrypted connection to a VPN means the web traffic you’re browsing is very, very difficult to monitor. This not only helps you remain anonymous online, but also protects your communications from the NSA and other spy agencies when traveling.
3. Potentially Get Cheaper Airfare
Airline websites often structure their pricing based on the region or country you happen to be searching from. It’s more of an art than a science but by changing your virtual location using a VPN, you can compare prices different countries, possibly uncovering lower airfare for a given route.
4. Surf Cafe Wifi Without Worry
After breathable air, free wireless is the second most important thing floating around most digital nomads. Yet logging into any open connection you don’t control could broadcasting just enough information to get your online accounts hacked. A VPN can protect your online accounts at Internet cafes, coffee houses, and places with open wifi.