Last updated: 11:30 AM ET, Fri June 17 2016

Are Virtual Private Networks Crucial To Modern Travel?

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | June 17, 2016

Are Virtual Private Networks Crucial To Modern Travel?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Safety is the most important part of travel, and that goes for your tech gadgets as well.

The folks behind VPN solution NordVPN were kind of enough to offer some tips to business and leisure travelers who plan on utilizing Wi-Fi during their respective trips.

And we also get to explore a bit more about NordVPN and its possible use for your own cyber security.

First, NordVPN suggests that you use a VPN in general, which for those not familiar is a virtual private network that works to offer an encrypted connection where one doesn’t normally exist — such as through that free Wi-Fi you are offered at the local cafe.

There are myriad VPN solutions you can utilize from your phone or tablet and many will give you that extra level of security for crucial moments such as checking bank accounts from the road.

As for what kind to choose, NordVPN suggests using services that are both easily accessible and come with a fee.

That sounds counter to how you might look at things, but the company explains: “A VPN service needs to pay for the server maintenance, staffing and operational costs and in itself cannot be free. ‘Free VPNs’ typically rely on third party advertisers to cover the costs. Often they are free proxy services, marketed as a VPN service, when in fact proxies are not encrypted (they just change your IP address, but do not hide/encrypt it).”

NordVPN’s Jodi Myers was kind enough to boast of the company’s particular use to consumers: “There are a few things that make NordVPN one of the most advanced VPNs on the market. One of them is user-friendly design that is one of the top priorities of NordVPN.”

Obviously, you aren’t going to use an app or tech feature unless it operates seamlessly during your trip.

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We just don’t want to spend time fiddling, even if it means saving vital personal information from being leaked.

We leave it to you to pick out a solution that works best for you.

Myers continues on NordVPN’s specific service: “We want our services to be widely accessible and so easy to use that anyone can do it. Basically, to connect to any of our apps, you just need to turn the ON button. The algorithm automatically selects the fastest server, unless you manually select the one you want to connect to. Our apps have a polished, minimalistic design and 24-hour support chat. In addition, NordVPN encrypts data not only once, but twice. This is the only VPN provider that does this, and it shows the dedication that NordVPN has toward its users’ security. NordVPN also selects the safest security protocols, such as IKEv2.”

As for why anyone would use a VPN, the company spells out four advantages to jumping on the encrypted bandwagon.

The first, and most important, is that you protect your private information. Second, you can access some websites that might be otherwise banned in certain countries.

That brings us to the other two reasons, which is you get to stream content freely and save money on flights.

The former means you are well entertained while traveling abroad and the second means you are utilizing a little trick that makes airlines believe you are purchasing a ticket from another location.

Myers offered some thoughts on where VPN technology will take us in the future: “We think that in the future VPNs will become more and more widespread, as there are serious and growing threats to Internet users’ privacy and security, and this includes growing government surveillance and data retention, increasingly sophisticated security hacks, geo-restricted content, and more.”

Lastly, we asked Myers if there were any general tips for travelers eager to browse the web on their next trip.

The first thing that came to mind should be easy to remember, “It’s never OK to use free Wi-Fi networks without encryption, which you can easily install by downloading VPN software.”

Myers explains how surfing free access can get you into trouble: “If you are not protected, open network could be used to simply access and take over your computer — change passwords and do other malicious activity, no matter if you are on a banking site or any other website at that moment. VPNs are the best security mechanism you can employ to make sure the data you share over the internet is safe from prying eyes and remains confidential.”

Now you have one more thing to check off that packing list prior to your next holiday excursion.


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