Picture this. It’s February and you’ve been dealing with relentless cold, snow, and ice. Your body is aching due to the abuse it’s taken while you shovelled the driveway once again, or tried to smash up 2-inch thick ice.
That horrifying picture is actually my reality, but it’s a nice segue into our current topic.
Let’s say you’ve decided it’s time to get the heck out of town. You pull up a website that lists the countries of the world where it’s always warm. You close your eyes, point your finger to the monitor, and find you’ve just chosen to visit Thailand. Maybe you’ll stay there for the rest of the winter.
Since international air travel is not something any of us want to live through if we don’t have to, let’s skip ahead.
You’re in Thailand and it’s blessedly warm. One afternoon you’re lying on the beach and you realize what day it is. You forgot to pay some bills before you left home! But no worries. It’s the 21st century. All you need to do is log into your bank and make the necessary payments. You think all is well until the unthinkable happens. Your bank account has been frozen.
What could you have done to save yourself from this situation?
Use a VPN While Traveling
If you had used a VPN on your smartphone or laptop, you could have saved yourself from something like the above ever happening. While your bank account is frozen as a security measure and holds put in place as a protection to you, having something like this happen could be frightening or aggravating. Probably both. You wouldn’t need to sign up for the most expensive or best VPN services as even a free service would help you out in a situation like this.
How a VPN Helps
First of all, let’s talk about how a VPN (Virtual Private Network) could help you while traveling, and then we’ll also delve into the other benefits of using a VPN.
I’ll try not to be too technical with this explanation. Whenever you log into a website, whether it’s your bank or anywhere else, the route you take to get there is tracked. So when you logged into your bank, the software was aware you didn’t log in from your home location. Signing into your bank account from a foreign location likely flagged your account and ultimately froze it.
Which is ironic when all you wanted to do was get away from things that were freezing. But I digress.
A VPN provides protection and anonymity while on the Internet by cloaking you behind a private IP address that’s supplied by the VPN. You also have the option of choosing the origin of this IP address, so it could be in any country in the world. For the sake of your situation, you would choose the IP address of the country in which you normally reside before you log into any website like your bank account.
This means that wherever you are in the world, you can carry on business as usual.
There is an added benefit here is well since you’re not connecting to your bank, or any other website for that matter, from your own reasonably secure home network. You have no idea what kind of security measures have been taken to secure the public Wi-Fi in your resort, or wherever else you may be when connecting to the Internet. Since one of the features of a VPN is to protect all data that is transferred, you can be assured that you’re safe when doing your banking while abroad.
There may be another benefit if wherever you are staying has placed restrictions on your Internet access. If that’s the case, using a VPN will bypass the issue, allowing you to do what you please while on the Internet.
If you’re planning to call home so you can check on your frozen friends and family, you may be planning to do that using VOIP phone calls. If so, here’s another area in which a VPN offers protection. Since VOIP services are often hacked, it’s a good idea to be logged into a VPN before you make your calls. However, you should know that VOIP speed may be slightly impacted when doing so.
Obviously, there are a lot of valid reasons for you to be using a VPN while traveling. And frankly, you should continue using it when you come home. In addition to the features and benefits mentioned above, you won’t have your Internet service provider spying on you, you won’t have Google tracking you in order to serve you ads based on your behavior online, and your activity will be hidden. If you do things like download bit torrents.
Now that you have all this sorted out, I recommend you stay where you are. I hear we have at least another six weeks of winter..