Why expats need a VPN in 2024

Digital freedomTips & tricks
6 mins
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Moving abroad is exciting. Exploring new places, trying new things, and getting a taste of different cultures can add some spice to your life.

But being in a new country can also be difficult. Many experience loneliness and culture shock.

Whether you’ve relocated for study or work, a VPN is a welcome—nay, recommended— addition to your daily arsenal of technology to ease the transition and maximize your experience. Find out how.

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What is a VPN?

Let’s pause to explain what a VPN is and how it works—crucial info to know before you jet off.

A VPN, short for virtual private network, is an encrypted tunnel between your device and internet. It protects your internet traffic and keeps your identity and information private from snoops, governments, and internet service providers. Most providers have various VPN server hubs located worldwide to offer different connectivity options.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN is usually an app that you download to your device. When you turn it on, it does a number of things to keep your online activity private. The primary way it does this is by encrypting your traffic. This means the only people who can read your transmission—of messages or credit card information, for example—are you and the recipient of those transmissions, and no one else in between.

A VPN also gives you a different IP address. The websites you visit can no longer see your IP address, only an IP address belonging to the VPN service, which is shared by numerous people. This makes it harder for websites to track your activity or link it back to you.

You can also choose the country or region of the IP address assigned to you. This means you can appear to be in a different place from your physical location. Going online in Australia but want it to look like you’re in the UK? Done, with a few taps in the app. Not only does this enhance your anonymity and privacy, but it can help you break through internet censorship in countries that try to control the flow of online information, unblocking everyday services like WhatsApp, YouTube, and news sites.

6 reasons for expats to get a VPN

1. Stay connected to home

Staying in touch with your friends and family at home through FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be hard in countries that block these services. Luckily, a VPN can help provide access to social-media accounts and chat apps even if they are censored.

Give your friends back in the UK or US a shout out from across the world and stay up to date with what’s happening back home. With a VPN, you don’t feel left out.

2. Protect your privacy

Are you worried about whether your online information is private? You should be! Unsecured internet connections expose your personal information to anyone who might be overly interested.

A VPN is an essential tool for anyone studying, living, or traveling abroad, but it’s also great for anyone even remotely concerned about securing their network connections.

3. Access your banking services

As a safety measure, many banks will automatically block access to your accounts if there is a suspicion that someone else is attempting to gain access. An indication of fraudulent activity can include a login attempt from an unfamiliar location—especially if it is deemed from a high-risk or embargoed nation.

While using a VPN to access your accounts can, in some instances, be seen as suspicious by financial institutions in places like the UK, Europe, and the U.S., it is preferable to an unsecured connection in unfamiliar territory. By choosing the best VPN location near your home city, you’ll have a much better chance of staying connected to your accounts. Ideally, always log in from the same VPN location.

4. Blazing-fast speeds

No matter where you are, connection and transfer speeds are absolutely paramount to a smooth online experience. Using a VPN can limit interruptions to your schedule by helping to bypass bandwidth throttling—which is the intentional slowing down of your internet connection by ISPs if you are using a lot of bandwidth for activities like streaming. Useful for when you need to maintain connection stability.

This is where protocols like ExpressVPN’s Lightway shine! Lightway protocol makes it faster for users to establish a VPN connection and is built for motion. In other words, it’s perfect for when you’re on the move.

5. Find cheaper flights and better deals

Certain companies calculate their online prices based on the user’s location. Shoppers in India will see different airfares from those in the UK for the exact same flight (and don’t worry, using a VPN in the UK and most other countries is completely legal). Using a VPN to browse and compare different prices from different VPN locations can lead to saving big bucks when it comes to traveling, which makes going home to visit friends and family that much easier.

6. Enjoy entertainment and sports

Moving to a new country is hard enough. It’s even harder if you suddenly find that you’re unable to watch your favorite YouTube channels or Spotify podcasts, or play your favorite games because they’re unavailable in your region. A lot of us take content access for granted, until we’re blocked out by censorship or other restrictions. Luckily, a VPN can help provide access to the content you loveno matter where you are.

Further, if you can’t live without your favorite sports, a VPN will help keep you in the loop—safely and securely. Never miss another Premier League match, NFL game, or NBA playoff showdown again.

Can’t install a VPN app on your TV? Then consider investing in a VPN router. When you have ExpressVPN installed on your router, every device connected to your Wi-Fi enjoys the benefits of a VPN, including the ability to break through access restrictions.

Why ExpressVPN is the best VPN for expats

With servers in 105 countries, ExpressVPN gives expats the freedom to enjoy the sights and sounds of home—or anywhere for that matter. Simply find one of ExpressVPN’s ultra-fast servers in your home country—for example, the “UK – London” server for British expats—to access all the websites, apps, games, and more you miss.

An expat’s adventure can get bumpy. Unforeseen tech challenges can crop up at any time. Thankfully, ExpressVPN’s 24/7 customer support is always on hand to solve any issues you’re experiencing, wherever you are in the world. What’s more, it’s staffed by real people.

Further, ExpressVPN enhances your security and anonymity, a crucial requirement for globetrotting expats. You take precautions for your physical safety while in a new country, but what about your online safety? ExpressVPN provides the protections needed to safeguard your data thanks to its class-leading encryption.

What can expats do with ExpressVPN?

The greatest advantage for expats using ExpressVPN is being able to choose an IP address in a different country—likely one’s home country. Not only does this ensure that your favorite apps for work and play remain free from censorship, but this also means you can use your services as if you are in your home country. Want YouTube’s suggestions (and ads!) to be tailored to you when you’re back home? That’s what a different IP address can achieve.

And don’t forget ExpressVPN’s ability to give you access to cut-price airfares and other deals. Who doesn’t want to save hundreds or thousands of dollars on airline tickets or hotel bookings?

FAQ: About VPN for expats

Can you use VPN to watch shows from other countries?
Is using a VPN as a UK expat legal?
Is UK Netflix different from the U.S.?
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What is a VPN?
Keith enjoys reading technology news, playing football, and consuming unwholesome amounts of steak. Preferably at the same time.