Whether you are visiting Paris for a romantic weekend or rafting in the Himalaya, smartphone travel security is something to consider. With that in mind here are the top 3 reasons to use a VPN when travelling.
Travel used to be about disconnecting from work and your everyday life. Prior to the internet a postcard home and perhaps the odd phone call was the only form of communication. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Smartphones combined with good internet access means that most people never really switch off.
Whether it is keeping up with WhatsApp conversations, showing off on social media or staying on top of work (yawn!), most of us use our phone when abroad. But while it is your link to your life back home your smartphone is also at risk. So we’ve pulled together the top reasons to use a VPN when travelling.
But what is a VPN? It stands for Virtual Private Network. It enables your smartphone to use a protected network connection when using public internet. A VPN will encrypt your internet traffic and disguise your online identity. This makes it more difficult for third parties to track your activities or steal data.
So regardless of why you travel – business, vacation, or long-term adventure travel – you’ll want to go online. So you should take smartphone travel security seriously whatever you use your smartphone for.
Want to keep in touch with friends and family, to post to your favourite social media channel, to book ongoing travel and active accommodation or to watch your favourite program? Then these are the top reasons to use a VPN when travelling:
First and foremost a VPN is about online safety and security. The United States government has warned it’s citizens about using public WiFi as it may expose you to hackers who can access your device. To improve your online safety and security check out the best VPNs for USA here.
As a rule, if you don’t use a username and password when you connect to WiFi, it means it’s unsecured. Consequently your smartphone is often vulnerable. Anything from personal data to passwords, emails to banking information and credit card details to photos could be vulnerable to theft.
But when you use a VPN everything is encrypted which vastly improves smartphone travel security. The encryption makes your data practically useless to anyone hacking you through public WiFi.
Bank accounts are rightly more secure than almost anything else you use over the internet. Ever had your card refused when abroad? Well that is one of the ways they keep you safe. Similarly when using online banking they monitor where you access the app through your IP address. And a foreign IP is a red flag which can lead to your bank account being frozen.
Not being able to use your card or access your money is up there with the worst travel nightmares especially in todays day and age where card is used above cash and hardly anyone has travellers cheques anymore. Being the other side of the world without access to your money has ruined many adventure holidays.
So if you are going to conduct online banking while travelling then use a VPN. Not only is it safer and more secure (see above) but your bank will not be able to tell that you’re abroad. This could prevent a ‘foreign access’ threat from mistakenly being detected and locking your account.
Much of the content you consume is linked to your location. You won’t be able to watch BBC content when outside of Britain and likewise you typically you cannot use your favourite betting app while outside the country.
In addition to this some countries actively block certain types of content. For example, Voice over IP services such as Skype, Facetime and WhatsApp are banned in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. You’ll also find access to social media is blocked in certain countries as are various news sources.
When you use a VPN it replaces the IP address you use to access the web with one from your home country, thus giving you access to everything you normally use. So one of the top reasons to use a VPN when travelling is to access websites and apps that would otherwise be blocked.
We hope you found this smartphone travel security guide useful. Check out this article about the best travel safety apps for more useful tips.