What is a VPN? And why you need one when you travel

Basically, a VPN is your own custom, private, and secure connection to the internet. 

To be more precise, a virtual private network or more commonly known as a VPN offers you the ability to extend a private network across another public network and enables its users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.

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So why would anyone need a VPN when they travel?

Well, there are a few reasons, firstly, if you decide to connect your Android to public Wi-Fi, the connection can be extremely dangerous. If you connect to one of these incorrectly configured networks it could allow hackers to access sensitive information on your phones such as passwords, usernames, credit card numbers, and more. Many of us take our privacy on the internet for granted, when in reality our most private information can be taken in an instant, and it can happen to anyone. Just think to all the times you used public Wi-Fi at your favourite restaurant, your local gym, or even a random store at the mall, all these public connections can act as an invitation for a stranger to access your most sensitive data.

This risk only becomes larger when you travel since travellers tend to use pubic Wi-Fi networks at a larger rate than someone who can simply connect to their home Wi-Fi. Popular tourist destinations, such as Vietnam, China, Russia, and many more have extraordinarily strict governmental censorship put in place to block and restrict many popular websites commonly used in other countries. This censorship includes individual URLs, specific domains, and entire IP addresses. This censorship allows government images, websites, apps, and more. This catches many tourists off-guard when they figure out, they cannot access their social media, email, and sometimes banking accounts. There are a lot of options to pay for a VPN, but if you’re travelling on a budget Urban-VPN is a free VPN option, that enables a secure and anonymous connection.

Secondly, a VPN can be used to mask your geographical identity and allow you to access content that is only available in certain countries. There are a few examples of how masking your location online can be beneficial. A VPN can come in handy for those rainy days or sleepless jet-lagged nights when you just want to watch your favourite shows or movies on your favourite streaming service. However, many travellers are displeased to find that many services are only available in particular countries, like Hulu, BBC, or Starz Play. Although popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are now available in almost all countries across the world, the selection of TV shows and movies is different in each country, meaning you might not be able to access your current series binge. This is where a VPN comes in handy. You can set your destination-point as your home country and then be able to access the service as if you were at home.

On the same spectrum of watching content that isn’t available in certain countries, a VPN allows you to access blocked websites. Many times, when people travel to different countries they are dumbfounded when they discover that many of their favorite websites like YouTube, Facebook, and various news outlets are all blocked. Countries that are well-known for this strict censorship include Cuba, China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and many more. By using a VPN traveler can select the country where the website is available, and you’ll then be able to access the website with ease. 

Lastly, a VPN can prevent your bank account to be frozen while abroad. We’ve all been there; we go to make a purchase in a different state, and we get a call from our bank saying that they’ve detected “suspicious behavior.” Now, imagine you’re in a different country and you don’t have access to your bank account because that website is blocked in the country, you’re in. A traveller’s worst nightmare! This scenario can be prevented by having a VPN on your phone, that way you will be able to access your funds or contact your bank in an emergency situation. An Android VPN is a great solution, if you are travelling on a budget, and want a safe, secure, and anonymous way to stay connected to the internet while abroad.

To put it simply if you’re going on a short trip or a long vacation, the first thing you should pack is a VPN. Having a secure, private, and safe connection to the internet will make your time abroad unforgettable! 

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