You can hardly order takeout around the corner these days without an internet connection. Wherever you’re heading next, chances are the world wide web is coming with you, and you’ve got to get set to access it in all its glory.
Nobody would dream about leaving their wallet on the front porch with their pin number written on a big sticky note, but that’s essentially what you’re doing if you travel without internet protection.
Any nimrod with a few paid programs can access your IP address and wreak havoc on your personal identity. There is no foolproof way to completely protect your data, but a VPN is the next best thing. It’s one of the most straightforward steps towards online security, and affordable monthly and yearly plans are more than worth the investment.
Today, we’ll highlight those few providers who have grown capable of protecting our data and bypassing the IT department because nobody needs to know exactly where you’re working from.
Why YOU Need a VPN
There is no such thing as a laptop without sensitive data on it, and providing digital security is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of using a virtual private network.
These private networks are capable of disguising your data from hackers, bypassing paywalls, and removing geographical restraints against account access. The list goes on and on, and savvy travellers all agree – every device is worth a VPN’s protection,
Consumers, remote workers and digital nomads aren’t the only people who have noticed the increased demand for VPN’s. More companies offer VPN services than ever, so take your time, and you’ll run into the perfect protection partner.
It’s important to wade through the muck and guarantee your VPN can do what it promises. Loads of pretenders are trying to cash in on a growing market by cutting corners and making promises of glory. Still, only a few providers are truly capable of beating the odds (and getting through HBO’s geographical ban).
These Are The Best Travel VPN’s:
#1 PIA VPN
#2 Nord VPN
#3 Fastest VPN
#4 Avast VPN
#5 Express VPN
How Does a VPN Work?
A VPN changes the source of your internet access from your hotel room, coffee shop, or hotspot to a remote location, preferably one of your choosing. A VPN works a lot like Samuel L. Jackson in Snakes On A Plane, by putting a barrier between you and the snakes. All your data is sent through the wash and comes out untraceable.
All of this is accomplished by simply changing your IP address. That group of numbers defines your physical location and are what websites use when granting access. Usually, your IP address is assigned by the router and internet service provider you use to log on with, but a VPN redirects your IP to give another barrier between your sensitive information and ne’re-do-wells.
That barrier is not just virtual. Your traffic is redirected through a remote server in a physical location that works just like your router would at home.
This server is sponsored by a private company that is constantly forced to update the code and technique used to bypass companies who don’t want you browsing privately, which is why with VPN’s you get what you pay for.
There is no such thing as a free lunch or a VPN with no operating costs. If you’re not paying for it, it means they’ve figured out another way to make money off you.
What To Look For in a VPN?
Enough is enough! The best VPN’s for travel sick out in the crowd, but why exactly? These are a few features the greats bring to the table.
Look for companies with a no-log policy to make sure your VPN isn’t recording any information on your digital whereabouts. This means they pledge not to keep track of your browsing history or any internet usage statistics.
It defeats the point of a private network for a corporate overlord to be hoarding data on everyone who relies on them to surf anonymously, but that hasn’t stopped several companies from becoming the entities they swore to protect you from.
You Get what you Pay For
VPNs rely on privately owned and operated servers to host your traffic which is why you can’t trust a free VPN. It’s a safe bet to assume these honeypot services are doing something to make money behind closed doors. That could mean selling your data themselves or turning your browser into an ad-filled malware trap.
We even noticed a ‘free’ version of a VPN service that secretly sucks your devices processing power towards paying customers, a gross invasion and a breach of trust. Free services also aren’t as inspired to constantly update their barriers and ensure their services can bypass tricky blockades.
If you want a VPN that’s constantly ahead of the curve, you’ll have to shell out a few bucks to help host the server.
International Servers and Availability
Both on your end and the endpoint, it’s essential to have options. VPNs won’t work the same in every country, so read the fine print and ensure your chosen private network works in your final destination. For example, if you are getting a VPN so you can get online doing your trip to China, make sure you choose a VPN that will actually work in China!
Virtually you want to select a VPN that can send your traffic to as many servers as possible. Some services allow you to narrow your server down to a particular city, while others will only offer a few countries of access.
If you’re just wired in for privacies sake, your host server location won’t matter too much. However, if you want to make sure you can access the internet just like you would at home, you should use a service provider that gives you plenty of server choice.
Has the App
I don’t want to send my data through four different private networks. I expect to cover all of my devices and work seamlessly from my mobile phone to my laptop with any VPN I pay for. Any high-quality provider will include an app with a purchase that can easily be installed off your particular app store. A good VPN is an essential travel app.
Does It Work with your Streaming Services?
Before you spend a dime, make sure your VPN will get the job done. Netflix, HBO, and Amazon are more difficult to access in many countries. Any online bank accounts that detect unusual activity will lockdown in an instant.
Lacklustre VPN’s leave a trail that can be picked up by anyone who has a vested interest in knowing your actual location.
- > Monthly Price: $15
- > Annual Price: $100
- > Monthly Price: $11.99
- > Annual Price: $59.88
- > Monthly Price: $10
- > Annual Price: $29.95
- > Monthly Price: Not Available
- > Annual Price: $55.20
Tunnel Bear VPN
- > Monthly Price: $9.99
- > Annual Price: $59
- > Monthly Price: $12.95
- > Annual Price: $29.88 (two-year commitment)
The Best VPN’s For Travelers
If you want a VPN that can do all of those things and plenty more, there is no better place to start your search than this list.
#1 PIA VPN
- Monthly Price: $15
- Annual Price: $50
Protect up to 10 devices simultaneously using the Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN. It uses an open source software to provide thorough all round privacy and IP masking services. PIA offers fast access to worldwide services and 24/7 technical support in case you encounter any problems.
PIA operates a strict “no logs” policy which offers an even deeper level of protection and means that that never record your IP address, bandwidth consumption, browsing history and connection times.
#2 Express VPN
- Monthly Price: $12.95
- Annual Price: $99.95
With a price point as steep as Express VPN comes many expectations, but this all-inclusive provider goes above and beyond to be worth every penny. They have servers in more countries than any other provider on our list and are steadily growing.
Plus, Express VPN offers a code that instantly protects up to five additional devices that you can share with your friends.
If a VPN works in China, you can be damn sure it will work anywhere else and bypass any location blocks on streaming services. The VPN owes its success to rigorous encryption and the most secure OpenVPN protocol available.
Express VPN gets underway in two clicks or less and allows you to quickly toggle the VPN on and off depending on which web page you are accessing. From your toolbar, you can have one-click access to servers in five different countries and check out a speed test to ensure everything is running smoothly.
#3 Nord VPN
- Monthly Price: $11.99
- Annual Price: $59.88
Maybe the owners of the Panama Papers would have been better off trusting in this private network service also based out of Panama. The extensive service is one of the more expensive options out there, but you can often find a year pass at a substantial discount.
Even at full price, the robust security protocols of this VPN outweigh the costs. Nord’s services are streamlined towards allowing credit card purchases and account access internationally. The network can extend across six devices at the same time. The company also offers a partner app that works on all sorts of platforms, even Linux.
#4 Fastest VPN
- Monthly Price: $10
- Annual Price: $29.95
Finally, we arrive at a real budget option. You can snag this barebones VPN for as little as 1.11 per month with a three-year plan and still receive the benefits of 24/7 live chat. Good customer service is worth its weight in gold, yet it’s often the first thing cheap products eliminate.
This service is not the best choice for getting around streaming regulations. It should get you into Netflix and HBO, but it’s been known to struggle elsewhere. You may have guessed it already, but it is not actually the fastest VPN on the market, nor is it close to the top of the leaderboards.
It does lead the way in one essential category: an affordable price. If you don’t need much more than to browse anonymously, there is no need to pay more than this.
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#5 Avast VPN
- Monthly Price: Not Available
- Annual Price: $55.20
Aargh, surf the high seas as free as the breeze with a simple, year-long purchase. Avast retains high marks in streaming accessibility and leaving your devices completely alone while it powers your search.
You won’t find any logging or bandwidth restricting on this VPN of the people, and you don’t just have to take their word for their product’s quality. Sign up for a seven-day trial without entering your credit card information and decide for yourself risk-free.
It’s not easy to immediately commit to a year’s subscription, but take a closer look at Avast’s options. You’ll find several variable pricing that allows you to pick and choose the features you want out of your VPN.
- Monthly Price: $9.99
- Annual Price: $59
This corporate VPN does a surprisingly good job looking out for the little guy. Security giant McAfee (now known as Trellix) is behind this slimmed-down VPN. Tunnel Bear isn’t dripping with special features or stuffed full of servers, and you won’t be able to use this service in many oppressive countries.
Instead, this VPN focuses on being as transparent and straightforward as they come. Tunnel Bear invites independent audits and reviews of their policies and seeks to constantly stay in touch with their users on certain decisions.
No VPN on the market focuses more on staying out of your business.
- Monthly Price: $12.95
- Annual Price: $29.88 (two-year commitment)
Our final VPN is all about excess. They provide a network built for everybody with unlimited simultaneous connections. Each device can choose its own servers, too, as the network covers 3000 choices.
What sets it apart and sneaks it onto our list is the newly unveiled WireGuard protocol. The upgrade pushed the bar and made Surfshark the fastest VPN on the market while maintaining the previous protocols potent security system.
That all adds up to a travel VPN with a whole lot of pros and a surprisingly low subscription price.
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How To Use a VPN When Travelling
Step one is to check your compatibility. Most of the VPNs on our list offer loads of international coverage, but not every network is available everywhere. Express VPN leads the way with access in 194 different countries.
Once you’ve found the right service, take care of the download and install before you hit the road and using a VPN while travelling will be a one-click process.
VPN providers can pop up on your toolbar or home page and will often offer a quick connection to the nearest available server at the click of the button, or you can search through every available server and choose your own adventure.
Turn on your VPN before you start browsing and enjoy the internet in peace. Once you leave your home, there is no wrong place to have your VPN on, but it is absolutely essential anytime you’re accessing personal information while connected to a public wifi network.
These private networks aren’t quite super servers. You should expect the extra step of the process to slow down your internet speed by a fraction of a second, but nothing major. Keep your server as close as possible to speed things up a notch.
One surprising benefit of a travel VPN is airline tickets. I don’t care if you travel by air twice a year or thirty – we all love cheap plane tickets. Airlines let robots set their ticket prices, and these companies feed off your personal data to set prices.
While VPN’s don’t eliminate cookies, they do make it much harder for the airlines to log the number of times you searched for a specific flight. You can even beat the system by checking ticket prices internationally.
Sometimes a flight is way cheaper when purchased in a specific country. It doesn’t work every time, but it can’t hurt to look before you book.
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You don’t need a computer science degree to bypass paywalls and location blockers. Modern travelers can protect their data in a heartbeat and open up the internet beyond unreasonable limitations. VPN’s break the rules in your favour and bring nothing but protection to your personal devices, all with a few clicks.
Internet security doesn’t have to be complicated. These VPN’s know as well as anyone that our data is no one else’s business. No matter where you’re heading next, the Best VPNs for travel will protect your browsing and keep your identity under wraps, all for an affordable free and user-friendly download or two.
The right private network works as travel insurance for your virtual identity. Hopefully, you’ll never log into the wrong wifi network at the wrong time and expose yourself to hackers with malicious intent, but there is no longer a need to take that chance, and the streaming benefits alone are worth the investment!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!