One of the most romantic things a couple can do nowadays is to go overseas, or at least somewhere warm and awesome, to get married. Wedding tourism is everywhere, with couples jetting off to The Maldives Islands or taking advantage of affordable prices in Mexico. There are those people who are highly cynical about marriage – one wag posted on social media the other day that he had been invited to his friend’s wedding in Barbados – and expressed that he hoped his pal’s marriage would last longer than his own:
“Congratulations to Jim and Nancy!” he said “I hope they do better together than me and my ex-wife – we had 17 blissful happy years and then we met…”
But seriously, planning any sort of vacation can be part of the fun; and especially nowadays, you’re bound to want to access the internet whilst away – be that on a road trip to the Utah Canyonlands or a luxury escape to Paris, France.
You’re either going to simply check out online maps for planning days out or maybe catch up on a Netflix series that you just can’t miss. The best still is the opportunity to make friends and relatives jealous on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook as you post photos of palm-fringed beaches and strawberry daiquiris on beachside cocktail bar tables.
That’s why tourists would always do well to download a VPN extension for Chrome onto any devices they intend to take with them when traveling. A VPN (Virtual private network) places an encrypted server between the user’s device and whatever method they might use to connect to their internet service provider (ISP). For example, if a vacation couple goes away to stay in a Barbadian hotel and log onto the free Wi-Fi, a VPN places a secure server between them and the Wi-Fi, which can keep the device secure by disconnecting immediately if the system detects any malicious activity.
It's this encryption, anonymity, and location cloaking that makes using a VPN so useful when traveling away from home. Let’s look at a couple of the advantages:
Some cell phone providers place ‘fair usage’ policies on downloaded data, even if the contract is supposedly ‘unlimited’. You’ll find if gaming and streaming every day while you’re away, your connection to your favorite gaming platform might slow to a crawl – to discourage excessive data transfer. But if you have a VPN extension on your device activated, your ISP can’t know who or where you are, so it can’t throttle your connection.
It's also the same at home. If you are maybe a ‘work from home’ (WFH) creative professional, perhaps video editing or graphic designing, your home internet connection is going to be very data-hungry. Again, a VPN on your domestic devices or home modem router can prevent your data transfer rate from being slowed by your provider.
We all know that many parts of California are affluent places where successful people tend to live. But there’s a drawback to that reputation. Whenever you visit a flight or hotel room reseller site, clever artificial intelligence (AI) locates your IP address and also identifies the sort of device you’re using to access the web. So if you’re planning that wedding vacation of a lifetime and you’re logging onto the internet from your home in Bel Air on a brand new iMac – that PriceBot is going to set off its ‘rich person alert’!
However, if you were to visit the same website and use a VPN to access the internet from, say, Mexico, then the price you’ll be offered could well be cheaper, especially because the target website analytics also can’t identify the device you’re using due to the encrypted VPN server. The concept of websites charging what their AI ‘thinks’ you can afford is known as ‘dynamic pricing’ – fortunately, using a VPN keeps you one step ahead of that legalized daylight robbery!
As mentioned above, if you’re addicted to a particular show on Netflix, but you’ve gone off on vacation to Acapulco, then trying to catch up with the latest episode from your hotel Wi-Fi isn’t going to be possible. For obvious copyright reasons, many movie studios and producers won’t allow their content to be streamed outside the US, certainly not at standard $ prices. So all you need to do is choose a Stateside server from the VPN extension you downloaded onto your laptop before you left home. Netflix thinks you’re in Arizona, not Acapulco, and within seconds you’ll be connected.
In summary, with the ability to ensure that any Wi-Fi hotspots you might encounter are safe and that you won’t have your devices hacked by opportunist tech thieves, that should be enough incentive to use a VPN extension for Chrome as a matter of course. But add in the advantages of accessing your regular internet entertainment and saving money on hotels and flights, you’d be mad not to use a VPN when traveling on vacation.
The only thing you’ll need to worry about is your suntan and fending off jealous social media comments from your friends still working away back home. Happy travels!