Unbeknownst to most people, there are restrictions on what websites you are allowed to see depending on your location. This may come as a surprise, especially for the folks from the US, who are accustomed to being able to view most websites without restrictions. A simple click of the “Are you 21 years old or older” button being the most severe barriers to entry.
This changes once you go to, say, South America, and find that some YouTube Videos, some Netflix movies, and the bank website you are desperately trying to reach to transfer some cash into are all unavailable!
A solution to all of this is to get a VPN. I can only recommend, which is the one I use while I travelled through Chile and Peru: Private Internet Access.
I originally got this not for travel, but for protection while using public wifi at the cafe’s I frequent. A VPN is a first line of defense against the open protocols that reveal your laptop to the thieving public. Just for that reason alone is good enough to get a VPN.
But, when I found myself blocked from accessing certain websites I was used to accessing – like my bank’s website, or where I pay my mortgage, watch my movies, or listen to music, luckily I remembered that I had a VPN.
Once you sign up for Private Internet Access, and activate the software, an icon appear above your browser on the upper right side. It looks like a greyed out robot until you activate it:
Click on the icon to select which state you want to appear to be from:
I typically choose “California” as my state, although you can always just select “”Connect Auto”.
The icon turns black to indicate that it is now “On”:
And now, when I go to pay my mortgage, I now see the correct page:
I think you can see how useful this can be.
VPNs have a long history of helping dissidents in various countries get access to the outside world. But, they are also useful for ordinary tasks you are used to, especially for travel. Things like: accessing your bank account, transferring money….being able to watch a music video that is restricted from showing in Chile – that sort of thing.
There are many reasons for getting a VPN – security, access to the open web, etc. But for travel, a VPN becomes essential – for mundane financial tasks, access to films and videos – but also for security. Because the most access to the internet you are going to find are the wifi’s in cafe’s and restaurants. Access and security – big reasons to get a VPN!
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