Are you interested in getting a good VPN for travel and even a VPN that works in China? Not sure which one to choose and if the reviews out there are legit? I got you covered!
I wanted to share about a VPN service I have been using for about 2 years. The service I am talking about is NordVPN.
As someone who travels extensively, I really consider the VPN as part of my travel “gear” and I think I wouldn’t want to travel without it anymore. My smartphone and personal computer are even connected to the internet through NordVPN at all times, even when I am not traveling.
Now before we start, there are alternatives to NordVPN that are known to be just as good, one of them is SurfShark. So if you are looking for a cheaper VPN you are in luck! You should definitely check out these Black Friday VPN deals and see if you can find yourself a good deal!
Back to the article, I will first give you an overview of what a VPN does, and then share my experience using a VPN while traveling – and show you how to access your favorite websites from China.
How a VPN Works
“VPN” stands for “Virtual Private Network”. It is a network of servers located all over the world (NordVPN has more than 5200 servers in 60 countries!). The VPN software redirects your internet connection through one of these servers and protects it with military-grade encryption.
As a result, a new IP address is assigned to you, and you are able to browse the internet privately and anonymously. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can no longer monitor what you do online and sell your data away. Advertisers, hackers, and others can no longer track you. I did notice that many ads actually do not load on the webpage when I am using the VPN.
By connecting to the server of your choice in the country of your choice, you can bypass any censorship and access geo-restricted content (more on that later).
You might be thinking, that’s awesome that all these guys won’t be able to track me anymore, but the VPN itself probably can, right?
Wrong! NordVPN is actually famous for one thing: a strict no logs policy. NordVPN falls under the jurisdiction of Panama, which has no data retention laws. As a result, they don’t keep any kind of logs of what you are doing online.
Heck, even if one day the FBI goes knock at their door to ask for your logs, they won’t be able to comply because the data simply doesn’t exist!
Jokes apart, I got this VPN thing because I wanted to access any content anywhere, but I realized that the benefits of having a VPN actually go much further than that. The world is more and more concerned about the lack of safety and privacy online, and getting a VPN can be a very good start to protecting yourself.
And in spite of the super complex and advanced technology behind the VPN service, it is incredibly easy and intuitive to use.
But anyway, let’s get back to the advantages of using a VPN when traveling.
Using a VPN for Travel
Beyond the fact of providing general safety and privacy, there are various situations while traveling where a VPN can get in handy.
- Public Wi-Fi safety: Let’s be honest, when we need to send an email or feel like scrolling Instagram while we are traveling, we just connect to whatever public Wi-Fi network we can find and as long as it works, it’s good enough. That’s exactly the kind of situation where it is important to be protected by a VPN because such public networks or even your hotel Wi-Fi are often far from safe and far from private. Enabling the CyberSec option gives you extra protection and avoids ads. When I am not trying to access content from another country and just using the VPN for privacy reasons, I usually connect to a server in the country I am in. This ensures I keep the fastest connection possible.
- Geo-restricted content: A VPN allows you to appear like you are connected from any country of your choice. Therefore, you can access geo-restricted media content from your home country or any country. Have you ever come across the cringing little message “this video is not available in your location”? With a VPN, it won’t happen again.
- Streaming sites: NordVPN is one of the very few VPN services that can unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and other streaming sites. I use it all the time for Netflix. This series you wanna watch is only available in the US and you are in Uganda? No problem. Connect to a US server and start watching. I recently subscribed to Amazon Prime Video because there is a series I wanted to watch there, and I can confirm that NordVPN also works for this platform.
A VPN That Works in China
I have been to China like 3 or 4 times and I know how their large-scale internet censorship can be a pain in the butt. I can personally confirm that NordVPN works in China.
I can even tell you that a couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend had to go to China for work and was frustrated with not being able to connect to Facebook. The loading icon was just spinning endlessly and the thing wouldn’t load.
I shared my NordVPN account with her; she connected to a US server and started scrolling on Facebook a few seconds later.
In order to make NordVPN work in China (or other countries with internet censorship in place), there is just an option you need to activate: obfuscated servers.
- On the top bar, click on Settings
- Scroll to the bottom and click “open advanced settings”
- Find the option called “obfuscated servers” and turn it on. It is this option that will enable you to bypass the Great Firewall of China 🙂
- Once it is on, connect to any server in any country and start surfing.
I have covered some of the most important aspects of using a VPN for traveling, but this guide would not be complete without mentioning some other awesome options that NordVPN offers.
In addition to the thousands of servers you can choose from in the country list, NordVPN has a few specialty servers you can use for specific needs:
- P2P servers: You need to use these servers if you intend to use the VPN to download files via peer-to-peer without giving away your IP address.
- Dedicated IP: If for some reason you need to have your own, dedicated IP address, some servers allow you to do that.
- Double VPN: Some servers enable you to have your connection go through 2 VPN servers for maximal privacy.
- Onion over VPN: These servers allow you to use Onion browsers like Tor. This, again, allows maximal privacy.
Considering a Free VPN Instead?
Yeah, NordVPN is not free. And there are some free VPNs out there. But there are a few things to consider…
- First of all, I am convinced that the servers of a free VPN will never have the speed and reliability of a paid, premium VPN. As they are free, they are overcrowded and saturated.
- Free VPN companies, like all companies, need to make money. How do you make money if you don’t charge your customers? I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them just sell your data to third parties to make money.
- Will a free VPN be able to bypass China’s internet censorship? Can it unblock Netflix?
- Will a free VPN offer unlimited bandwidth and data?
- Are you sure that a random free VPN will not store any logs of your online activity?
In my opinion, the internet is enjoyable only if it’s reliable and if it works well and fast.
I don’t want to rely on something that just works okay and may not even be able to do all the things I need. NordVPN is the only VPN I have ever used and I never felt like I should try another one. This one has everything I need.
So now let’s talk about the price.
First, you should know that even if you are quite not sure if you should pay for NordVPN, you can still try it risk-free because they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
So you can test the service for a whole month and if you feel that it’s not worth the price, ask for a full refund. Easy!
Anyway, you can choose between 4 different plans, and of course, the price varies according to how long you subscribe.
- The 3-year subscription for $2.99/month – Honestly, for a service of this quality, it’s a bargain.
- The 2-year plan for $3.99/month
- The 1-year plan for 6.99/month
- The 1-month plan for 11.99/month. So if you’re going on a trip to China, you can just add $12 to the cost of your trip, and you’ll be able to access Facebook, Youtube, and all. Not too shabby!
I personally chose the 3-year plan. I just had to pay 100 bucks and I can enjoy the service for 3 whole years! And I like things that I can just set and forget. Update 2022: I subscribed for 2 more years, taking advantage of a discount. Still loving the service!
At the end of the day it’s up to you to spend a bit of money on a VPN service or not. However, I am convinced that you always get what you pay for. If you want to avoid frustrations and disappointments, it can be worth spending some dollars.
If you absolutely want something free, it’s easy. Go google “free vpn” and you will have plenty of them!
Otherwise, you can just try NordVPN knowing that I have done the testing for you and it works, and if after 30 days you are not impressed, just request a refund! It’s as simple as that. There is no risk to trying it out.
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