I’m in Italy at the moment and will be here for the next week. As you can imagine, life just doesn’t stop when you’re away from home. Bills need to be paid, appointments need to be set up, etc. Before departing on this trip, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a VPN service, specifically NordVPN.

What do VPNs do?

I quite simply think of VPNs as teleporters on the internet that make you appear to be in a location you aren’t currently in. For example, I’m in Italy, but I can connect to a VPN server in the United States so any website I visit thinks I’m located in the States.

Why are VPNs useful?

Case in point, I tried to access my bank account this morning and got the following error message:

My bank thinks I’m out of the United States (which I am) so they blocked access for security reasons. Would that stop me? No. All I did was turn on my VPN and set it to a United States server…

and voila! Good to go

What else are VPNs good for?

Hotel and Airline Deals

Many hotels and airlines offer discounts to locals. Being able to connect to a local server VPN could very well save you a bunch of money.

Watching TV/Movies

One of my favorite shows is Gomorrah. Three seasons are out currently, but only two are on Netflix. The third season is on SKY, which can’t be accessed from the US. Not to worry though, connecting my VPN to an EU server allows me to watch the shows and movies I want with no hassle.

Circumventing censoring

Countries like China censor some western sites (especially social media) so a VPN is always a good idea for cases like this.

Which VPN services are good?

Personally, I use NordVPN but have only been using it for a couple of weeks so I can’t confidently recommend it, though I’ve had no issues so far. Other options include Express VPN and Tunnel Bear.

Do you use a VPN? If so, what do you use it for and which do you use?

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Gilbert
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Gilbert

Great article. I find them extremely useful as well.

Brad
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Brad

Great article. Beware of the VPN services that log the sites you visit. The logs these VPN services make have been made available to law enforcement agencies and sold to third party marketing companies.

Gian Mario Tagliaretti
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Gian Mario Tagliaretti

I’m using NordVPN for a long time, the best vpn on the planet, it works from everywhere, for chins they have special servers, works like a charm every time

Dr. V
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Dr. V

I used Express VPN while in China/Russia last year. They give you 2 weeks free then you subscribe after. I like that you can choose a server but found connections are lacking at high volume times or it was user error. I didn’t like it when I was back home because it kept connecting (even when I turned it off) and certain sites/apps wouldn’t work with it.

Tony
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Tony

ExpressVPN is the best VPN I’ve used. They also seem to have more servers in Europe/Asia than any other provider.

Neville Fernandez
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Neville Fernandez

I use TorGuard VPN and I have been using it for the past six years, no issues. You can switch connect using TCP or UDP, and manually select your VPN port. Particularly useful if your corporate firewall has certain restrictions in place.

Hari
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I picked up a lifetime account for Windscribe for $60 a while ago and I haven’t looked back. No traffic cap… works on mobile devices as well as computers… quick connections, too.

AlohaDaveKennedy
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AlohaDaveKennedy

Been using Opera’s VPN. Advantages – free and allows banking, contest entry and email access when abroad. Disadvantages – slower speed and limited geographic spoofing.

Mathew
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Mathew

Great article. VPNs like Nordvpn are especially useful because it has more to offer than anonymity and security. When on a trip I find it useful having access to US Netflix since content differs abroad. Here’s a coupon code I have if looking to extend or get a VPN ZEROLOGS2Y

Enjoy Fine FOod
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Enjoy Fine FOod

I think VPNs should get more blogger attention. Which VPNs are trustworthy? what are
prices? speeds? etc.? I love the Bear at Tunnel Bear, but always figured graphics were so
high budget that it had to be a CIA cover. Trump — and Obama before him — know
everything I browse. NordVPN “covers every continent except Antarctica. But only
because penguins just don’t get the Internet,” is a close (fun value) second. Probably KGB.

Lulu
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Lulu

Along the same lines – I would like to know which VPNs to avoid that track and sell your browsing habits and which to avoid for cost, user freindliness, and other shortcomings. ThankQ!

Lulu
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Lulu

Oops! – friendliness (sp)

Michel
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Michel

Everyone is interested in our details and internet activities everyone wants to control it. Vpn is a must, I bought nordvpn because It seemed t is was most user-friendly. U never know when you need this because once you travel your news sites will be blocked next time you won’t be able to access work docs and so on.

Alix
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Alix

Ikr! Many people forget to put VPN on their list of what they need to “pack” for their summer trip. VPN can be truly essential for some regions or services just like the ones you’ve mentioned – banking, getting better deals or simply staying safe outside your home network. There’re so many options now with different features and prices so it’s easy for each to find his own. Personally, I picked Surfshark for this year after going through some lists myself and picking what I’ll need for my upcoming trips. And there are so many VPN lists online for separate… Read more »

Courtney
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Courtney

I use NordVPN too! Works perfectly for me; user-friendly app, reasonable price, possibility to watch US Netflix and it ensures privacy while using torrents

DaniLew
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I use ExpressVPN specifically for the reasons you listed above but especially for airlines and hotel deals.

Patrick M
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Patrick M

I use Tunnel Bear, kind of a quirky name and they do all kinds of puns involving Bears, but the service is sold, customer support is great, and I have not had any issues using it outside, and within the US. I use it for phone calls, streaming video, downloading, etc.

RudeQGriffin
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RudeQGriffin

I’m on team Nord too, while travelling in China for two weeks I couldn’t get onto my emails any other way. After the trip been using it for streaming mostly and did not experience any major issues for almost a year now. I had some trouble with Netflix but their customer support was quick to advise on which servers are best for it.