Why VPNs are essential for expat digital nomads

Published:  9 Dec at 6 PM
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For those who never leave their home country, using a VPN may not be a priority, but for expats it’s a necessity, no matter where they’re located.

Nowadays, living and working overseas is a fairly straightforward procedure once the correct visa is obtained, but internet access can be less than straightforward, dependent on your location. Even if you’re not dependent on personal internet access to stay in touch with those at home or use social media, unhindered surfing can be tricky – even more so if you’re enjoying online content such as TV shows and international media outlets.

For newbies to this topic, virtual private networks allow encrypted, safe access via the remote server of your choice, simply by using a new IP address. No-one can track exactly where you are, and it’s possible to avoid blocks such as those imposed by, for example, China. If you’re using internet banking, it’s an essential tool for safety, and state repression of websites can be easily contravened, allowing you to surf freely.

Over the past decade, a number of countries worldwide including Russia, China, Iran, Thailand and Cuba have introduced stringent new laws about online activity. Using a VPN gives encrypted data, thus blocking spyware from tracking your favourite sites and your possibly unwelcome comments. In addition, your private banking websites are totally protected through encryption. It’s also important to equip your smartphone with a VPN if you use it for banking or purchasing online.

There are financial advantages of using a VPN, especially if you’re a frequent flyer on a budget, as both airlines and many flight comparison websites charge different prices dependent on the country of booking. Finding a lower-income country using your VPN means you can book your flights at a far better price. For digital nomads using free public wifi in coffee shops, hotels, airports and suchlike, your VPN makes sure cybercriminals don’t steal your data packets or bank details via its use of a security layer for every single piece of info entered on either your laptop or smartphone.
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