As we continue our focus on traveler safety this month we are looking at the importance of using a VPN when traveling today. A Virtual Private Network (VPN), as we will learn, is a key part of staying safer when traveling.
For the month of September we are focusing on Traveler Safety. Each Tuesday we will do a deep dive into some element related to traveling safer for work (or pleasure for that matter). Be sure to read all of the preceding Travel Tip Tuesday’s here.
Travel Tip Tuesday #35 – Use a VPN when traveling
This week’s travel tip Tuesday applies to both leisure and work travelers. But, it’s worth noting that if you are traveling for work it’s likely that your company has provided some sort of VPN for you to use – at least when connecting to company assets.
Regardless of whether you company has provided you VPN access you should use a VPN whenever connecting to networks you don’t know or trust. And that’s pretty much ALL networks when traveling. And if you are traveling for pleasure you should also use a VPN whenever connecting any personal IT assets (like your laptop).
It could be the hotel network or maybe the airport wifi or even the airplane’s internet connection. Maybe it’s the cafe you grabbed a coffee at or that cool food court. Regardless of where you are one thing is true: use VPN!
What’s a VPN though?
But, for the novices, what exactly is a VPN? A virtual private network, as defined by Wikipedia does this:
“A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running on a computing device, e.g. a laptop, desktop, smartphone, across a VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network.”
In other words, a VPN securely connects your computer to another network that is secure (or more secure, anyway). Instead of accessing the Internet from your local hotel network you establish a VPN tunnel over the hotel’s wifi connection to a more secure network. Your traffic then traverses inside of that secure tunnel to the remote secure network and out to the Internet.
The benefits of this are noteworthy:
- Enhanced Privacy
- Improved Security
- Ability to circumvent local censorship / internet blockers (always consult local laws here so you don’t find yourself in hot water)
What kind of VPN do I need for traveling?
As noted earlier, it’s probable that if you are traveling for work your company will have provide a VPN for you. Use it. Just keep in mind that your connection to the Internet will now be out of or through your company’s remote network.
If you have a personal computer that you want to connect or maybe you are not on a work trip and just want to make sure your connection is more secure while recreationally traveling then you can purchase a personal VPN connection which will more or less do the same thing.
Private Internet Access is another company that typically ranks pretty well in terms of personal VPN services.
Regardless of the choice for VPN, be sure to have one. No sense in needlessly exposing yourself to unnecessary risk while traveling.
Thanks for reading this week
As always, we are grateful for your visits each week. So, once again, thanks for stopping in! By the way, we’d love it if you’d follow us on social media including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Or, join the conversation and leave us a comment below, too. We love comments.
Here is some practical Travel Gear to make your next trip safer:
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