In the past, when people returned from a vacation, they had to reconnect themselves to the life they had left. They had to fill in gaps in their knowledge accumulated during their absence from home, listening to local news updates, reading mail, or getting briefed by colleagues about the latest developments at work. Now, with the advent of the internet, no matter how far away we move from our homeplace, we always stay tuned to the information we want to follow.
Unless we deliberately choose to go on a retreat without the internet, we remain constantly in the know about what is happening in our family, workplace, and the world at large. We are now so used to remain connected to our usual environment when we leave that we never even feel pangs of separation in doing so.
Therefore, when we suddenly discover, while we are away, that a connection with the world we left behind is broken, the quality of our vacation significantly suffers. When we cannot access the internet the information we need, our vacation begins to cause us more inconveniences than pleasure, regardless of the grandeur of the places we are visiting.
How can the beauty of Qingdao linger in our memories, when we cannot use Google Maps to get there or cannot access any existing search engines to find necessary information about its history and attraction sites? Constantly facing difficulties with the internet, we bring home the memories of vexation and frustration rather than of excitement.
The dissatisfaction we often feel on vacation can be caused by various internet malfunctions. In what follows, we are giving a partial list of reasons that can spoil our joy of travelling, when we go on vacation overseas. The reasons that bring about our frustration range from websites blocked by cybersecurity to location-based restrictions to Netflix’s unavailability.
But our purpose is not to inform you about the troubles that you can experience during your trip. On the contrary, we want to offer you a solution to your possible difficulties with internet access on your journey. This solution is a Virtual Private Network. We will first briefly explain what a VPN is and then will tell you in detail what kinds of problems this software can help you solve on your vacation.
What Is VPN?
The VPN is a software that allows you to access the internet safely and privately by routing your connection through a server and concealing your online presence. Whatever you do on the internet, your traffic will remain private. To become invisible online, you need to start the VPN software from your VPN service. The program will encrypt your data before your Internet Service Provider sees it. When it has been encrypted, your data will stream to the Virtual Private Network.
From the VPN server, it will go to your desired online destination, whether it is Google+, Hulu, or your bank. What the VPN does to your destination is it confuses it. The software makes Google+ or Hulu think that your data arrives from the VPN and its location rather than from your actual computer and your physical location. If you still do not understand how the VPN works, think of it as the third party that connects to the internet as your proxy.
Where Can VPNs be Useful?
The VPN protects you from censorship, interference, and snooping on public Wi-Fi locations. It also shields you from getting logged while you are torrenting. Equipped with this software, you can also safely watch movies from your computer or smartphone and access those websites that are blocked in certain countries.
Indeed, some totalitarian regimes such as the UAE, Iran, Vietnam, North Korea, China, and Russia ban certain websites and services that they consider harmful to their ideology, politics, religion, or ethics. When you visit these countries, you will be unable to access websites that you use on a daily basis in your homeplace. China is a particularly drastic example of governmental censorship.
There is no access in China to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, Picasa, WordPress.com, Blogspot, SoundCloud, Google+, and Hootsuite. You will not be able to use Whatsapp, Messenger, Viber, Telegram, Periscope, Line, and Discord. If you want to find a location of any attraction site, you will have difficulty deploying such search engines as Google, Ask.com, Yahoo!, and Duck Duck Go. Sharing your impressions about the country with your friends will also be problematic, since in China you are forbidden to share videos through YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, and Nico Video. Nor will you watch movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and SoundCloud.
Be prepared to be disconnected from the news happening in the Western World, when you are in China. For the Chinese government bans even media channels. However thirsty for the information you might be, you will not read there The New York Times, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Bloomberg, Reuters, The Independent, LeMonde, L’Equipe, and Google News. Many pages of Wikipedia and Wikileaks will be inaccessible as well.
If you want to use all these banned websites while in China, you will need the VPN service to bypass its cybersecurity. As mentioned, the software will route your internet through a server in a different country, which does not block internet content. The same process will help you watch Netflix on your vacation. Once you are in China, you will not enjoy movies or shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
But the truth is that you do not need to travel as far as China to feel bereft of the pleasure of watching your favourite movies and shows on Netflix. Notorious for its geographical content restrictions, Netflix will disallow you to watch movies and shows streamed in your country as soon as you cross its borders. Even if you are travelling in your neighbouring country, you might not continue watching your shows, if its Netflix library does not include them.
To enjoy the content watched in your country, you need the VPN to trick Netflix into thinking that you are watching it from your home, not from a hotel abroad. This software is useful, too, if you simply want to enjoy the largest collection of Netflix movies available only in its American library. By changing your IP address to the American one, you will have an arsenal of 1157 shows and 4593 movies to watch from any location in the world.
When you are travelling abroad, your local bank can get overprotective and suspect fraud if you try to log into your bank account from a distant location and with a different IP address. Your bank is surely familiar with your login habits and will imagine that somebody else is trying to enter your account, once you make an attempt to do this from another country. Calling your local bank and explaining that nothing dodgy is happening and that it is you who wants to use your funds can be a hassle, especially if you are vacationing in some third world country. You will save a lot of time and energy, if, instead, you resort to the VPN. By using this software, you will camouflage your actual location and will convince your bank that you are logging in from home.
There are other instances where the VPN can come in handy while you are travelling overseas. It can help you protect yourself on public WiFi. It will enable you to buy cheaper flights from booking websites. With the VPN, you can also research online without leaving digital traces behind yourself. Or you can easily avoid location-based price targeting with its assistance. But whatever the problem you are facing during your vacation, you will be glad that you have installed the VPN before departing from your native country.