The act of staying at a hotel is something normally associated with either business or pleasure. Hotels are places where you can relax, and staff can take care of your stay. You can drop down to the spa, call in room service, or have the concierge call a taxi for you at the lobby so you can go and explore your new surroundings.
However, few of us consider the cybersecurity consequences of using WiFi at the hotel, let alone processing transactions via your credit card and using social media in hotels. Not to worry, though, as this is normal. We pay for a hotel room so that we can alleviate some of the pressure of daily life and focus on what we want to do. This is why network security software is there, to keep your internet connection protected and clean at all times so you don’t have to worry about it! As such, it is a good idea to think about the best VPNs for hotel stays. Before we get into the details, we need to explore what VPNs are and why you would need a VPN on all of your devices during your hotel stay.
What Is a VPN?
A virtual private network, or VPN for short, is a type of network security software that has been around for a while. The technology was first introduced as Microsoft’s PPTP, or point-to-point tunneling protocol, in the late 1990s. Everyone can use modern VPNs, not just tech-savvy people. because they are available as apps nowadays.
Numerous VPN providers offer both premium paid VPNs and free VPN alternatives. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of what you are installing because a subpar VPN can jeopardize your cybersecurity.
When you connect to a server in the program, a VPN technically encloses your internet connection in a tunnel (as was previously described).
This act both randomizes and jumbles your connection while encrypting it, as well as flipping your IP address (the internet address websites can see and locate you with).
A premium VPN will provide you with a specialized IP address that prevents websites from identifying you as a VPN user and properly encrypting your connection using the AES-256-bit standard. Additionally, if you use a high-end VPN provider, you won’t lose connection speed nearly as much or experience dropouts (and no ads, either).
Furthermore, a high-end VPN service like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, or CyberGhost will provide you with a wealth of additional capabilities as well as helpful customer service.
Now, what sort of VPN is suitable for a hotel stay? Well, you want to look for the following criteria. First of all, forget to use just any old VPN out there on any app store. This is a surefire way of compromising your device’s security and jeopardizing your sensitive data. As with any software, you want to use a reputable company that is community-approved.
Secondly, below we’ll get into the specifics of VPNs that are suited to hotel stays.
The Best VPNs to Use During Hotel Stays
After choosing a reputable VPN provider that has a proven track record of security, privacy, and customer service such as the top dogs NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Surfshark, and similar contenders, it is time to see which one is suitable for hotel internet connection purposes.
To do this, make sure the VPN you choose has the following benefits (or pick one from the link above that has a sufficient amount of these attributes);
- Fast servers, meaning you will not lose any speed significantly
- A wide range of international servers for practicality purposes such as unblocking Netflix or torrenting
- A smooth and intuitive app experience that will not falter or waste your precious time
- A stable VPN service with as few dropouts as possible
- Top-notch security protocols
- Additional features such as threat detection
- The ability to unblock geographically restricted services you are subscribed to in your home country
- The option of split tunneling where you can choose to let an app bypass the VPN
- A solid killswitch that will cut your connection the second the VPN server drops
- All of the above at a fair price!
The main security risk at hotels on your route is the internet connection. Some hotels have open, public WiFi hotspots while premium hotels tend to give you an individual username and password when you log in to the hotel’s hotspot via a proprietary login page. Either way, it is not recommended to connect to hotspots that might potentially be used by hundreds of people at once (or a lone hacker lurking just past your bedroom wall).
Hotels are honeypots for hackers and ill-intentioned scammers. After all, they are a goldmine of tourists and business people, meaning that these people probably log in to their email and input their bank card details while connected to the hotel WiFi. The scary part is that these days most hotels still do not have high-level WiFi security on their main internet system. And, you would be surprised by the amount of free hacking software out there on the dark web.
This means a capable hacker can intercept WiFi, install malware such as spyware, or simply sabotage the internet connection without the guest’s knowledge. This can lead to financial losses, identity theft, scams, and even physical danger.
Let’s take a look at two VPNs that satisfy the safety and privacy criteria for hotel WiFi. These are NordVPN and Surfshark. Both of these VPNs are, first of all, priced fairly. Secondly, you have all of the security features, great servers, connection speeds, and no stability issues to boot. On top of that, you are getting a reputable service that will not log your private browsing data while allowing you to reach a friendly customer service representative at any time. What is more, you can use everything from torrents to Netflix with these VPNs, or conduct bank card purchases online, with peace of mind.
Whichever VPN you choose, make sure to check out the link at the top and find your favorite. You won’t go wrong with any of those curated choices. Finally, on top of a VPN, remember to practice basic cyber hygiene by never revealing your account passwords to anyone, and do not connect to the hotel WiFi (or any public WiFi) without running your VPN in the background.