As a nation of worriers, there are many things we worry about before going on holiday. Did I get a good exchange rate? What will the hotel be like? Will I get a better tan than my friends? Yet despite the fact that 84% of Brits connect to the internet while visiting abroad, most of us are too busy stressing about pickpockets or roaming charges to realise that connecting to the internet is the riskiest thing we do while on holiday. For this, and other reasons, you should never forget to pack your Virtual Private Network (VPN) before taking off on your hols. (Looking for some background information, check out this article to find out exactly What is a VPN?)
1. Because using public wifi is just asking for trouble
Any hacker worth their salt can easily hack into a public wifi network, meaning any time you log onto the wifi at airports, hotels and restaurants you are risking handing your information over to cybercriminals. The countries that pose the highest risk? The USA and Spain according to recent research.
Of course you can't just quit the internet cold turkey - that's why you need to download a VPN. Activating your VPN will work to encrypt all your data so that nobody can see your sensitive information - such as passwords and credit card details - no matter how many people are connected to the same wifi network as you.
2. Because sometimes you just need a bit of British telly
It's Thursday evening, day ten of the holiday, you're tired and you're sunburned and you just want to spend a nice quiet hour watching last night's episode of the Bake Off before going out for the night. Or maybe it's a Saturday and you want to chill out and watch the Chelsea match on your iPad by the pool.
Well guess what? You can! When you download a VPN your original IP address (a unique set of numbers used to identify our device online) is swapped with one from your VPN provider. This means you can choose which location you would like it to appear you are accessing the web from, based on the locations of you VPN provider's servers. Since ZenMate has servers based in the UK, you can trick websites such as the iPlayer, 4od and SkyGo into thinking you are accessing from the UK - meaning all the British TV your heart desires!
3. Because you don't want to spend hours on hold to HSBC
We all know we’re supposed to notify our bank when travelling to another country but sometimes we may forget in between packing and spending hours scouring TripAdvisor for the best pizza in Venice. Even when you do bother to notify them, it’s not uncommon for banks to block people who are trying to access their online banking from abroad. This is pretty annoying as there’s nothing worse than having to spend your precious relaxation hours on hold to your bank as you try to get them to re-grant you access to your account.
That's why it's always a great idea to use a VPN to change your IP address and trick your bank into thinking you are accessing their site from the UK. So the next time you splash out on the holiday cocktails and need to check the damage to your balance the next day, you can be secure in the knowledge you’re not going to spend the rest of your holiday locked out of your account.
4. Because it can save you serious cash!
When buying things online the cost of anything from software to flights can vary depending on your geographical location. Therefore using a VPN to experiment with your location when booking flights can end up saving you money. And we’re not just talking about a tenner here and there - on more expensive international flights VPN users have saved themselves hundreds of pounds on their booking. Well worth checking before booking that flight to Bangkok. So forget Ryanair, a VPN is your number one tool for saving money before you travel.