Most followers of this blog will know that I am globetrotting freelancer, and because of this I’m always on the lookout for useful apps & travel tips for making life on the road that much easier. A product that does just that is NordVPN, which I’ve been using for several months now.
NordVPN is one of the major VPN (Virtual Private Network) service providers on the market that strives to help everyone access “total internet freedom”, which means access to secure and private internet, plus many other benefits that come with it… cheaper flights, access to Netflix/Hulu while overseas and any banned websites that your country or ISP blocks.
So what exactly is a VPN?
A VPN Service encrypts all the traffic flow between the internet and your device. It also prevents tracking software and organizations from monitoring your internet activity and helps hide your IP address. Additional benefits of unblocking the net is accessing all geographically blocked internet content (i.e. access to Facebook when traveling to Vietnam or China).
The major benefits for using a VPN:
While I’ve been using NordVPN, I’ve found the best benefits to be that of below but there are many other features.
1. Save money on flights.
The trick to find cheaper airfare is to make it appear that you’re accessing the booking website from another country, the one where you can buy the same tickets at a lower price.
For example, airplane tickets are cheaper when purchased in the country of origin, i.e. when buying local tickets in Latin America, you will save money if you appear to be in Latin America, not in the U.S. Sometimes it appears there is no apparent reason why tickets bought from one country cost less than booked from another country.
To show this in action see the kayak.com price experiment above, comparing New York to Sydney prices when booking from the USA, and then booking from Australia. The price difference was about $600 USD. Quite a saving. Combined with the Honey Chrome coupon extension this can save a lot of cash.
2. Stream as if you were in USA or UK.
With a VPN, you can access most streaming services just as if you were in the U.S. and that includes Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, Hulu, YouTube with local restrictions and so on. Hoorah!
Please note, that Netflix is cracking down on VPNs lately and NordVPN does not guarantee to be successful in avoiding their blocks.
3. Be safe on public wi-fi.
If you are shopping online, sharing confidential information or doing online banking on public WiFi, you are vulnerable to hacking attacks. Public WiFi’s, online stores & cyber cafes are huge targets for hackers who try to steal users’ financial details and then use it for money laundering or other schemes. NordVPN makes using public WiFi safe, however, this did come at the cost of some speed – on some very slow WiFi connections I could not use NordVPN unfortunately and download speeds were reduced.
Your online privacy is a serious matter, and that fact is, you are vulnerable on public WiFis. I just read about a USA Today reporter on a flight who was hacked mid-air while writing an Apple & FBI story. It does happen.
4. Access banned sites & sharing services.
Popular social media sites, such as Facebook, are banned in China & Vietnam. Youtube is blocked in Tajikistan. Bitcoin sites are banned in Russia – just to name a few geo-restricted websites. Using a VPN can help bypass these restrictions, especially when you travel. Although I have not been in these situations on my travels just yet, I am glad to hear there’s another option rather than using a dodgy proxy server.
New NordVPN for Mac
While NordVPN has software for most platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, iPad), the Mac version was just recently launched, geared towards the every day internet user and the UI is quite slick – very simple & intuitive to use. In fact, you just click the big ON button and you’re connected to the VPN.
These are just a few of the features that I’ve found most useful, but NordVPN have a ton more to take advantage of. Learn more over at NordVPN.
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