Use a VPN to Save Money on Travel (2020)

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A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that routes all internet traffic from your device, over a protected channel, through a server located in some other location. To the rest of the internet, it looks like you are located at the location of the server, rather than connecting from your actual location. To anyone looking at your device’s network traffic, it looks like the only site you communicate with, is the VPN server.

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Why use a VPN?

Two of our travel strategies can sometimes benefit from leveraging a VPN. 

  • When you are applying for credit card offers, sometimes you can get a better signup offer, if you are connecting from a non-US location.
  • When you are booking airline tickets, you can sometimes get “local” airfare pricing, if you are connecting from the country of origination (or at least not connecting from the US).

VPNs can also be very useful when you are on-the-road.

  • They let you connect to websites, such as video streaming services like Netflix, that are blocked to people who are located outside of the United States. The protect your communications from being snooped at shared Wi-Fi locations. And they can sometimes let you bypass filters that block access for certain sites, like Facebook, for everyone who lives in a foreign country.

Recommended VPN Services

If you are going to be routinely connecting through a VPN, the most important considerations are the speed and latency at which the VPN can relay your traffic, and the speed at which the connection is created. For our uses, this is less critical, and you can take advantage of a free, but slower, VPN service.

  • SurfEasy. Surfeasy is probably the best free VPN option. It is a very professional product, operated by the folks who make the Opera browser. You can choose a server in one of 16 locations. Its major downside is that the free service is capped at 500MB per month. If you make sure to only use it during the short periods where you need to, this shouldn’t be a big obstacle.
  • CyberGhost. CyberGhost is another great option. The free version lets you choose a server in one of 14 different countries. There is no data cap, so you don’t have to worry about running out of time. But, it has its own downside. In order to encourage you to upgrade to their premium service, you’ll need to wait for a few minutes. from the time that you activate the service, until the time “a slot” becomes available, and you can use your VPN connection.
  • Windscribe. Windscribe is another good free option, but only provides access to servers in 8 countries. Data is capped at 10GB, but that is a much more generous limit than SurfEasy.
  • VyprVPN. Vypr VPN has support for servers in many more locations than the free services above, and no annoying limitations. While it is a fee-based service, they have a 3-day free trial available. Another similar option is VPN Unlimited. They have fewer server locations, but a 7-day free trial. 


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