The internet has changed the way we travel. It has become easier than ever to find cheap flights and accommodation. You don’t have to fear getting lost in a foreign country, as you can find anything on Google Maps. And there are countless lists telling you where to eat, what to do, and how to stay safe.
However, the internet is not as free and secure all over the world. In some countries, there is government surveillance and censorship, watching everything you do and preventing you from accessing certain content. Sharing news articles criticizing the government may be treacherous.
There are a range of ways to stay safe online when traveling the world.
Keep the following in consideration.
Always Use A VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is a piece of security software that hides your location and secures your data. It makes it much harder for anyone to hack your device or track your activity. You should use a VPN at home, but when you are in a country with an oppressive government it becomes all the more important. If, for example, you somehow happen to find yourself in the country formerly known as Persia, you will most definitely need find out what the best Iran VPN is to use while in the country or the amount of things you will do online will very probably be both extremely limited and horribly insecure.
Keep your VPN on at all times, especially when using public WiFi. Even if you are not visiting websites deemed to break censorship laws, it is worthwhile to have that extra level of security – and freedom.
Be Careful What You Post
In certain regions, you may see things that bother you. Government treatment of certain groups, animal rights issues, and even excessive pollution may really get you concerned with the state of the world. You might be inclined to post on social media about it.
The best advice here is to wait until you get home. You’re not going to achieve anything by posting right now, but you will make yourself known to government intelligence agencies. They can find reasons to kick you out of the country and, in particularly dangerous regions, may even arrest you.
Tread Carefully When Dating
While traveling, dating can be a lot of fun. You get to meet people who live in the city and spend some quality time getting to know each other. You also get a more personal idea of the place. However, there are perils to using dating apps and websites.
For example, in countries where LGBTQ rights are not assured, malicious people may use dating apps to attack LGBTQ people. In places where being LGBTQ is illegal, the government may use these apps to root out anyone living a life they deem unacceptable.
But even heterosexual individuals need to be careful sometimes. Certain countries have very archaic cohabitation laws. Sex before marriage may be outlawed and even holding hands with your partner in public can lead to issues.
Furthermore, as a traveler you are somewhat vulnerable no matter where you are. Thieves may use dating apps to prey on the naivety of foreigners. Profiles you would know to avoid if you were a local can seem perfectly legitimate to you.
Be careful when using the internet while traveling. Even though online freedom is guaranteed back home, this may not be the case elsewhere.