Travel Tip: Establish a VPN Connection While Abroad

Common internet related issues while abroad

While traveling abroad, you may encounter some of the following issues:

  1. Netflix doesn't work!  The website greets you with errors like: "Netflix is not available in your location" or "Sorry, Netflix hasn't come to this part of the world yet."
  2. In addition to Netflix, many other content based websites are "geo-restricted", meaning they do not work outside the US.
  3. Many websites customize themselves for the region you are browsing from, and default to the local language and currencies instead of English and USD.
  4. Calling 1-800 numbers are no longer free.

VPN to the rescue

But do not fear, there is an easy solution to all of these problems: Use a VPN.

There are many VPN services available out there, but after some research we decided to use one called Hotspot Shield.

The primary reason we chose Hotspot Shield is because of how easily it integrates with our iPhones and iPads, where most of our Netflix watching occurs.  Simply download the app from the AppStore, launch it, install the profile, and select the region you want to use (they only support US, UK, and Japan).  You can also choose whether you want the VPN to always be enabled, or if you want to be able to manually turn it off and on, which was our preference.

This service is not free beyond a 7 day trial; however it is not expensive to buy a monthly ($4.99/month) or annual subscription ($29.99/year) which will cover up to 5 devices.  We opted for the monthly subscription, as we don't expect to use it anymore once back in the US.

With the VPN now installed on our smartphones, tablets, and laptop, we were able to do all the things we needed to do:

  1. Netflix now thinks we are in the US and works perfectly.  The kids were thrilled to watch all their own shows again instead of foreign programming.
  2. Same with all other websites that were previously geo-restricted.
  3. Websites see you browsing from the US and default to good ol' English and USD prices.
  4. You can call 1-800 #s for free using Skype with the VPN.

In addition to these benefits, Hotspot Shield touts a number of other benefits of using a VPN.

Note:  This is only based on our own personal experiences.  We are in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Hotspot Shield.  Other VPN services would provide the same benefits.

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