A VPN, virtual private network, is a nice way to have some security for your computer and browsing. However, it is not just about security and it is definitely something you should consider getting before your next trip to Europe.
3 Reasons to Use a VPN On Your Next Trip to Europe
There are actually plenty of reasons that people should use VPNs but I wanted to focus on three relevant reasons why it should be something you consider before your trip to Europe.
If you wondered about those masses of e-mails you likely received last month from anywhere you shop, places you have memberships with, and many more places, you can chalk it up to the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) regulation that went into implementation of May 25.
Basically, everyone online that had ever done anything with your data had to allow you to change what data you wanted them to keep and use going forward. If a company did not want to do that, then they had to stop allowing their services and websites to be accessed from the European Economic Area after that date.
This has eliminated a lot of websites that people used to access on a regular basis from European visitors. This includes news sites as well as deal sites and retailers. If you want to access the same websites you do from home, you may find yourself unable to access a few of those. I have had this happen lately in Europe and it is not fun!
A VPN can help you to browse those sites like you are at home.
2. Shopping and Credit Cards
Many shopping websites now will allow shipping to countries all over the world. The downside of that is they now default to a version of their online store that has items that can ship to the country you are in at the time of browsing. There are (normally) settings you can change on those websites to access the US page but some websites still do not change.
Enter VPNs! They allow you to shop and get what you need without being restricted to certain items and prices based on the country you are in at the time.
This is also helpful if you need to do anything with credit cards. While credit card companies have gotten very good lately with not needing travel alerts, there still are times that I get messed up when purchasing something with a credit card online without a VPN on.
So, just shop or access credit card sites with a VPN service and it makes it easier!
3. Better Deals on Travel
There are some places that give better deals for things like hotels to people outside of the area while there are others that give better prices to people inside the area!
For example, if you are in Greece, you can find cheaper prices for some hotels in the islands than if you are searching from outside of Greece or Europe. By that same token, there are some hotels that charge less to people that are traveling from the UK than people who are already in Greece.
Using a VPN while traveling can give you that little (and sometimes big) edge on getting the best deal for hotels.
Bonus Reason! Access Southwest
This one won’t apply to everyone so I did not want to include it in the list. But, thanks to Southwest continuing to give travelers around the world grief by denying them access to their website from certain countries, this reason is valid for anyone connecting to Southwest upon return to the US. Or, it can apply to anyone that wants to save with a Southwest sale while they are traveling in Europe.
Greece is one of the many countries that Southwest blocks from accessing their website so I always need to use a VPN to gain access. If you are trying to check-in for a Southwest flight that will be your connection upon arriving in the US, having a VPN can save you the money for paying for the Early Bird access or it can save you from holding a C40 boarding pass.