Using the Internet Safely While Road Tripping

Going on a road trip? Fantastic! Before you set off, though, have a quick look at the information below. You’ll find it very useful and practical!

Planning a road trip is always something that gets the proverbial butterflies going in the stomach. The destinations, the drive itself, the friendship, and the memories that are about to be made can excite even the dullest of people! We all want to make the best of a road trip, so what are some of the best precautions one can take? Well, for one, it is that none of the people going have forgotten to take anything important with them. Secondly, you want to be as secure as possible when it comes to your road trip! One major factor for security which is often forgotten is sanitizing your internet connection. On a road trip, using the right VPN is a must. You will find out why this network security software will give you great peace of mind when it comes to securing your data while road-tripping, plus a host of other benefits are there, too!

Almost all people today will travel with some sort of smartphone or internet-enabled device. Whether that be to listen to Spotify on the road, make videos or calls on social media, talk to a family member or friend or maybe even do something work-related, we need the internet to do this on the go! Therefore, we need to make sure our internet is protected at the source with a good VPN!

What Is a VPN?

A VPN, or virtual private network to call it by its full name, is a network security software that has been around for quite some time. Initially, in the late 1990s, the technology began as Microsoft’s PPTP or point-to-point tunneling protocol. Modern VPNs come in the form of apps and are accessible to everyone. There are both free options and professional, premium VPNs out there offered by several VPN providers. As such, it is vital to know what you are downloading as a shoddy VPN can risk your cybersecurity. 

Technically speaking, a VPN shrouds your internet connection in a tunnel (as mentioned earlier) when you connect to a server in the app. This both encrypts your connection (randomizes and garbles it) as well as flips your IP address (the internet address websites can see and locate you with). A premium VPN will successfully encrypt your connection with the AES-256 bit standard as well as give you a solid IP that websites cannot determine is a VPN provider. Also, you won’t lose connection speed nearly as much or have dropout if you go with a premium VPN provider. What is more, a premium VPN provider such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, or CyberGhost will give you a ton of other features you can use, as well as good customer support. 

Finally, a premium provider will give you the following benefit that most free VPNs cannot promise;

  • A no-logs policy meaning your browsing is not snooped upon by the VPN company
  • Evidence that the firm has passed external security audits 
  • Regular updates to the software
  • Other features

How Can a VPN Help While Road Tripping?

Now that you’ve understood what a VPN is, why do you even need it while on a road trip, you ask? As mentioned earlier, you will undoubtedly need mobile data while traveling for a variety of reasons. The worst case is that you will stop and connect to public WiFi somewhere. 

Now, when it comes to using mobile data or public WiFi on your devices, there are obvious risks that most people are not aware of. These pertain to both the outright security of your devices, as well as the integrity of the personal data stored on them. 

The risks are as follows if you do not use a network security solution;

  • You may compromise your device on an unsecured WiFi network such as those at a petrol station or rest area. This is because your connection can be intercepted or ‘sniffed’ if you do not have layered security
  • Paying for things with your bank cards is risky without an active VPN connection. Your credentials can be swiped or hijacked if your connection is unprotected

Aside from the security angle, a VPN (as mentioned before) allows you to replace your local IP address (wherever you are connected to) with one of your choices in the app, anywhere in the world. This means that you can access all of your local-only streams and services by switching to the server where they are located. This can be everything from Netflix to a company intranet connection. If your accounts are registered in the U.S., simply switch to a server in the U.S. and the internet will not know you are somewhere else!

Finally, let’s talk about how you would go about installing a VPN. The process is quite straightforward. 

First, select a quality VPN provider before heading off on your road trip. This can be any of the premium providers mentioned above or a tried-and-tested free VPN like Proton. Next, install (or subscribe, first) the VPN service. Once this is done, the VPN that is appropriate for your device (whether that is a laptop, smartphone, or tablet) will be installed. If this does not happen automatically, make sure you install the compatible version yourself from the VPN provider’s website.

The final steps are next. Now, you need to launch the VPN app that you have just downloaded and installed, upon activating your VPN service. Before you connect to a server, go ahead and rummage through the settings and activate the “threat protection” and “kill switch” options, too. There also may be options you’d rather keep off. 

In the end, connect to a VPN server according to what you need. If you need general protection, just connect to the server that is geographically nearest to your current location. If you need to ‘unblock’ a geo-restricted service, as mentioned above, connect to a server in the country where that specific service is.

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