Why Do You Need a VPN for International Traveling?


VPNs are great when you’re traveling domestically, but if you ever go international, the benefits of using one can be even greater. Here are some reasons why you might want to use a VPN abroad, plus how to set up your own VPN while you’re traveling.


  1. Protect Your Privacy


You don’t need a VPN to browse anonymously online, but it’s much easier to protect yourself from prying eyes with one. If you’re using public Wi-Fi without a VPN, anyone who wants to snoop on what you’re doing will have no trouble finding out where you live.


A VPN encrypts all of your traffic so that anyone monitoring it doesn’t know what sites you visit or what information you’re downloading they just see encrypted nonsense. That means someone trying to spy on you won’t get any useful information about your browsing habits unless they manage to crack your password. Similarly, if you connect to a free hotspot without a VPN, anyone else connected there is also vulnerable to snooping.


  1. Keep Yourself Safe From Doxxing Attacks


Doxxing refers to hackers posting private photos of people online without their permission. It has become increasingly common over recent years as more people share their lives online (whether they realize it or not). While most times doxxing involves celebrities and politicians, this kind of attack can happen to regular users too.

In 2014, a hacker posted nude photos of several women on 4chan under the username “dickpillowcase.” The post was accompanied by personal messages saying things like “I hate sluts” and “fuck you bitch,” which led many of those targeted to believe they were being harassed or sexually assaulted.


If you’re looking at porn on public Wi-Fi, you could easily end up caught in a doxxing attack. This happened to actress Leslie Jones last year after she visited a comedy club with her friends. She later found herself receiving rape threats and having her social media accounts hacked.


Even worse, Jones didn’t take basic precautions against these attacks, such as changing her passwords regularly and protecting her Twitter account with two-factor authentication.


Using a VPN protects you from both kinds of attacks because it encrypts everything you send across the network. And since your IP address is hidden behind the VPN service’s servers, no one knows where you live and can’t track you down through your browser history.


  1. Avoid Local Laws and Stereotypes


Local laws around the world differ greatly, especially when it comes to sex work, drugs, and alcohol. For example, prostitution is legal in Thailand, but in other countries, it can carry serious jail time. Some countries have extremely strict drug policies while others tolerate marijuana use freely. Alcohol is often banned entirely in certain parts of the country, but isn’t heavily regulated elsewhere.


If you’re going to break the law in another area, a VPN can help you stay safe by hiding your location from authorities. It also helps avoid stereotypes. Instead of sticking to the same old rules, you grew up with, you can try something new instead.


  1. Get Around Location-Based Blocking


In many places, hotels, airports, and other transit hubs block internet services based on geolocation. You may still be able to log into Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and similar streaming apps, but you might run into problems getting them to load depending on where you’re located. This makes it impossible to stream video content when you’re traveling internationally.


A VPN lets you spoof your real location, making it look like you’re actually somewhere else. So, if a hotel blocks a specific site, you can use a VPN to trick its web filters and access it normally. This works for anything that relies on your device’s connection, including games, music, movies, etc. Of course, you should always check beforehand whether a particular website offers geo-restricted content before relying on a VPN to bypass it.


  1. Access Region-Restricted Video Streaming Services


One major downside of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video is that they only offer localized versions of their catalogs in select regions. As a result, if you’re traveling overseas, you may find yourself unable to watch TV shows or movies made in different languages, or films featuring foreign actors.


Fortunately, you can use a VPN to change your location and gain access to region-restricted video streams. Simply pick a server outside of that region and enter its name in the app. The service will then redirect your request to the closest available server.


This method won’t work everywhere, though. For instance, when I tried to access BBC iPlayer recently, I couldn’t figure out how to tell my computer to route my requests through a British server.


Also, sometimes the server selection is limited by availability, and you may not want to rely on it every day. But the option is better than nothing, and it’s easy enough to configure your router to forward DNS requests to your preferred VPN provider.


  1. Browse Without Restrictions


Sometimes you’ll come across a website or video that’s blocked in your home country, but isn’t anywhere near as restricted abroad. One way to solve this problem is to install a custom VPN client on your mobile devices. Alternatively, you can try an Android browser extension like TunnelBear. These tools let you browse the web safely and securely whenever you want. Just keep in mind that if you’re going to do this, you probably shouldn’t plan on accessing sensitive data on your phone either, otherwise your phone number could leak onto open networks.


  1. Stay Connected When You Travel Internationally


When you’re traveling internationally, staying connected is important. Having reliable internet access allows you to research local events, catch up with family back home, and research local businesses. However, when you’re roaming in areas with bad coverage, connecting to 3G/4G can be frustrating and slow.


To prevent this, you can sign up for a prepaid SIM card ahead of time. Or, better yet, prepare a backup plan that routes calls through a VOIP app like Skype. This lets you call land lines cheaply, even when you’re offline. With a good VPN installed on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you can turn your device into a portable hotspot. This gives you access to faster speeds wherever you go.


  1. Watch Geotagged Photos on Google Maps


Google Maps uses GPS signals to show nearby locations and landmarks. Unfortunately, this feature has been known to cause confusion for travelers. After all, if you zoom in close enough, you can see exactly where you parked your car, even if it’s on the other side of town.


It’s annoying if you’ve walked far away from your actual destination, but it can also lead to lost hours wandering aimlessly around unfamiliar neighborhoods. If you’re worried about missing your exit off the highway, simply enable satellite view on Google Maps.


Now, when you pan left or right, you’ll see a bird eye view of the surrounding landscape. This is handy if you’re planning a road trip, but it can also help you navigate unfamiliar cities.


  1. Use Public Wi-Fi Sparingly


Public Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient, but you usually have to give up your privacy to enjoy them. They’re also notoriously unreliable, so you never know if you’ll lose connectivity mid-download or miss part of a video due to buffering issues.


If you choose a reputable VPN provider, however, you can use its servers to create a virtual Wi-Fi hotspot. This lets you surf the web on a stable wireless network without sacrificing your privacy. Plus, you can set up tunneling mode on your phone, allowing you to securely tether your laptop wirelessly.


  1. Know What’s On Offer in Each City


Just because you’re visiting a city doesn’t mean you always need to hop on a tour bus or grab a cheap meal at McDonald’s. You can spend time exploring each locale on foot. You’ll learn interesting facts about the place, meet locals, and discover unique attractions. With a VPN, you can stay anonymous while you explore thanks to its masking capabilities.


  1. Don’t Be an Open Book


Sometimes you have to provide personal details when signing up for websites or services. This includes entering your credit cards numbers, addresses, email addresses, and other info you wouldn’t necessarily want to broadcast publicly.