Sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting back with a glass of wine and an episode – or a series – of a great show.
And travelling is great – new cultures, new countries, and did I mention new food?
But when you get to the end of the day and reach for the glass and the remote, boom: your fave shows aren’t even available in your location.
And kids don’t always want to appreciate the local culture. Do they want to eat borscht? No, they want McDonalds, whether you’re in Rome or Tulsa. And they want their favorite shows to wind down at the end of the day.
So when you’re on the move, how can you watch your favorite shows?
I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that you mostly watch online – whether it’s smart TV or on your laptop. I certainly do.
That means you’re using a streaming service. Maybe Netflix or Hulu, maybe your cable company’s online presence like hbo.com, or maybe Amazon Prime. Heck, you can watch a lot of great oldies a season at a time on Youtube these days. (Did someone say S1 Buffy?)
All these services change what they’ll let you watch based on your location. Even if you’re a US subscriber, if you’re in Russia, Germany or Mexico, you can’t watch US TV.
Unless you use a VPN.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) gives you a kind of private tunnel to a different part of the internet. If you want a website to think you’re in Hawaii when you’re really in Honduras, a VPN will do that: it sends your traffic encrypted and disguised from where you are, to a server in Hawaii before it hits the open web. Bingo, right?
A VPN can do a couple of other things for you while you travel.
Suppose you’re travelling in a country with crummy internet. Like, you know, every country. Especially if you’re relying on hotel or coffee shop wifi. Those come with a ton of risks – everything from financial theft to creepy dudes. Want to be safe and secure? That’s what a VPN’s for as explained by vpnadviser.com.
And crummy internet doesn’t just mean ‘not secure.’ It can also mean ‘crazy-making slow.’
If you’re watching local TV, or trying to do some work while you travel, and your internet connection is terrible, that can be solved by a VPN too. Some ISPs, here and abroad, throttle traffic – slow it down depending on what it is. Streaming is a prime target. And hotel wifi sometimes slows you down even further by limiting your bandwidth. VPNs can let you get around all these problems.
Do bear in mind that using a VPN can be troublesome in some places. Some don’t work in China at all, for instance, so check you have the right one for your destination. And it’s actually against the law to use one in Saudi Arabia, so if you’re going there, don’t use one – unless you want a half-a-million-dollar fine!
Which VPN to use?
Good, easy-to-use VPNs include NordVPN, ExpressVPN and VyprVPN. Going with a big name is good because it means you’ll get a ton of setup guides and how-tos, customer service if you need it and a big server net so you’re covered wherever in the world you want to go, and wherever you want your traffic to look like it comes from. Bigger names also usually have the ‘stealth’ tech to beat proxy blockers employed by everyone from Netflix to hotel wifi networks. Finally, they’re often the most affordable – and when you’re travelling, every penny helps!