If you want to travel abroad or live there permanently, you have a ton of stuff to consider.
Will you be able to watch your favorite shows from back home?
How protected will you be if you access networks from overseas?
These are all valid concerns that can be addressed with a reliable VPN.
With a virtual private network, you can “pretend” to be in your home country to still access your home network.
You’ll have access to the major streaming services and probably unlock content you couldn’t access before.
You can go on the internet with peace of mind, knowing that you’re protected against hackers.
We will explain how a VPN will benefit you and present the ones dominating the market.
Then, let’s get started.
What is a VPN?
First things first.
We have to understand precisely what a VPN is and what it does.
Through a Virtual Private Network (VPN), your computer can connect to the internet privately and safely by encrypting all the data sent and received.
This can be useful for accessing geo-restricted content, protecting your online anonymity, and logging into services only available in your home country.
It’s especially USEFUL for accessing financial accounts and streaming platforms.
VPNs won’t break the bank these days, making them a no-brainer for everyone looking for a safer internet connection.
If the average internet user needs it, then all the more those who frequently travel or work abroad.
The Top VPNs For Expats
Let’s get to your options in case you don’t need convincing that a VPN is a MUST for every expat.
We’ll get to that later.
For now, we’ll talk about the MOST trusted VPN providers.
If you visit a country that restricts access to websites, apps, and services, NordVPN is a solid option.
This service is reliable in China, allowing online access to most US TV channels.
It also works to access Netflix in the United States from other countries.
Currently, the provider’s server count in the US alone is 1,592!
Please note that if you want to watch US sports, like MLB, you won’t be able to choose a city to connect from.
There are many incredible safety options in NordVPN.
As part of its service, the business provides “double hop” routes, which encrypt your data twice and route it through servers in two distinct locations.
Are you an online gamer?
Well, NordVPN provides additional DDoS security to protect you from attacks.
The option to have a static IP address is provided as a nice bonus.
Your alternative IP address will remain consistent regardless of the device or location from which you access the service.
OpenVPN is NordVPN’s primary security protocol.
Data is encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with a 256-bit key, and session initiation is encrypted using RSA with a 2048-bit key, both implemented by the service.
You can run it on Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, Linux, and iOS. Manual installation of set-top boxes and routers is also possible.
You can try the extension for Chrome and Firefox if you only need VPN protection for your browser.
Each NordVPN user can have up to six connections active at once.
When it comes to low-cost VPN providers, Surfshark is hard to beat.
But it would be best if you didn’t assume that because the service is cheap, it’s low-quality.
More than 65 countries are covered by this provider’s fast and secure 3,200+ servers!
It’s a SOLID choice for viewers who want to watch domestic shows and movies online.
256-bit AES encryption, firewalls to prevent IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS breaches, and a kill switch are some of the robust security features built into Surfshark.
Plus, it offers traffic rerouting services.
Customers in different time zones can feel at ease knowing they can always reach a support representative with the live chat feature.
The fact that this provider accepts cryptocurrency payments is another bonus.
Names aren’t linked to cryptocurrency transactions like regular credit card transactions.
That’s why you can enjoy greater levels of anonymity while making purchases using this payment method.
Surfshark allows infinite concurrent connections, making it a convenient choice for those needing to secure multiple devices simultaneously.
If you’re traveling abroad and want to watch Netflix USA, ExpressVPN has you covered.
It also unblocks streaming content from all the leading US TV networks.
However, not all ExpressVPN US servers are compatible with all US streaming outlets.
You’ll want to ask the 24/7 live chat support which ones to use with your preferred channels.
Another thing I have to point out is its higher-than-average price tag.
But if you plan on visiting a country like China or Iran, where tight censorship prevents most VPNs from working, you’ll need ExpressVPN’s extra-strength encryption and cloaking technologies.
You’ll find that this premium fee is well worth it because very few VPNs provide security in those locations.
Even though the Chinese government routinely tries to restrict VPN connections by scanning all incoming and outgoing internet traffic, ExpressVPN always stays one step ahead.
Let’s say you want to watch channels exclusive to certain US cities.
When you sign up for ExpressVPN, you’ll be able to select not just a country but also a specific city.
The Los Angeles server is one of 18 in the US and connects to the rest of the network via Hong Kong.
ExpressVPN users can bypass geo-restrictions and access geo-blocked content with the built-in MediaStreamer smart DNS service.
PrivateVPN is a smaller-scale VPN provider.
It has just over 200 servers available.
However, these servers are in over sixty different countries.
As an expat, this opens up the possibility of using streaming services from many countries.
PrivateVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption, prevents IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leaks, and keeps no activity logs.
Moreover, this service provider allows payment using Bitcoin.
This provides a HIGHER level of privacy.
There are apps available for ALL of the major operating systems.
The service is also compatible with Linux-based systems and routers.
You’ll have to configure it manually.
Bear in mind that you can ONLY get in touch with a customer support representative during regular business hours.
The quality of service is pretty good, but this may be frustrating to some.
Up to SIX devices can be connected to a single account at once.
That should be enough to cover your VPN needs as an expat.
CyberGhost’s speeds are ideal for streaming.
The VPN client can be configured beforehand to work best with your chosen streaming service.
The technique can bypass geo-restrictions on Netflix in the US and the websites of major US television networks.
Over 600 of the company’s servers are housed in data centers across the United States.
This provider has strong security features and even throws in other freebies, like a ransomware immunizer, for good measure.
CyberGhost provides a 4096-bit key for its RSA cipher, making its session establishment encryption exceptionally robust.
The 256-bit AES key protects ALL data transfers.
CyberGhost’s system for managing user accounts is built for COMPLETE confidentiality.
You are only known by your account number on CyberGhost’s servers.
The company doesn’t even collect payments directly from its customers.
Currently, the ONLY information the company has about you is your account’s termination date.
If you want to renew your subscription for another cycle, add funds to your account with the billing service.
CRYPTO payments are allowed if you’re concerned about compromised financial information.
There are apps for ALL major platforms, and it works with some routers and set-top boxes.
Up to SEVEN simultaneous connections from one user are permitted.
If you are unsatisfied with CyberGhost, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access’s (PIA) extensive worldwide server network makes access to US-based streaming services possible.
It comprises 3,300+ servers located in 85 countries!
Devices running Android, Android TV, iOS, Windows, macOS, or Linux can take advantage of native app support.
A single user can connect up to ten devices to the PIA servers at once!
I will be upfront and tell you that it has the SLOWEST speeds on this list.
Still, it will most likely be enough for your usual online activities, like video streaming and video calls.
You don’t have to worry about data restrictions or bandwidth limitations.
PIA uses military-grade encryption, prevents IP/DNS leaks, and provides a kill switch to keep its users’ connections secure.
The service also includes protection from malicious content, tracking cookies, and advertisements.
It keeps no records of your activity on its servers, so your digital footprint will be harder to trace.
In addition to accepting Bitcoin as payment, the service provider allows for TROWAWAY email addresses so that users can maintain complete anonymity when making purchases.
IPVanish is an American VPN provider that provides fast connections to the United States from ANYWHERE on the globe.
If you want to watch your usual shows while traveling overseas, a VPN’s speed is crucial.
Use IPVanish with Kodi, and you can access streaming services and US TV channel web services.
When you connect to it, you will be given the option to select a city within the States.
IPVanish operates 418 servers across 17 American cities.
Playing online games while traveling?
IPVanish is worth considering.
Its servers are physically close to the majority of US-based game servers, resulting in significantly reduced ping times.
IPVanish uses dynamic IP addresses.
Each time you establish a connection to a server, you are given a new, temporary IP address.
While you’re online, no one else can access that address.
When you log out, the IP address you were using is released back into the pool and given to the next user.
One rarely receives the same address twice.
IPVanish offers a seven-day money-back guarantee and allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
The 750+ servers in 40+ countries that make up Atlas VPN’s global server network guarantee quick, dependable, and secure access to Netflix and other streaming services.
You’ll have no trouble keeping up with your favorite sites thanks to its fast connection speeds.
Atlas NEVER limits its VPN users’ transfer speeds or amounts of data.
Atlas VPN uses banking-grade encryption, kill switch protection, IP/DNS leak prevention, and more to ensure that your online activity remains private.
The Safebrowse and Safebrowse Plus features from this service provider serve to shield consumers from malicious content and intrusive advertisements.
In other words, your internet activities will never be divulged because the service provider DOES NOT retain any form of user logs.
Atlas VPN is compatible with Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices, thanks to their dedicated apps.
Atlas VPN DOES NOT currently support Linux, browsers, or routers; however, the company has stated that these capabilities are in the works.
There are no restrictions on how many gadgets a single user can connect to the service provider’s servers at once!
Why You Need a VPN as an Expat
Okay, now that you know your options, you’re probably wondering if you really need a VPN in the first place.
The short answer is yes!
Well, check out the reasons below.
1. Safely connect to WiFi anywhere.
When you’re on the go and need internet access, free public WiFi networks are available in many locations.
It’s available in most airports, hotels, and cafes.
However, you should exercise caution when connecting to these networks without proper security measures in place.
You should be WARY about connecting to public WiFi since hackers and data thieves can potentially access and steal your information if they are also connected to the same network.
Since public WiFi is NOT encrypted, anyone can intercept any data sent or received on it.
This includes sensitive information like passwords and bank account numbers.
In such a situation, a VPN is your BEST friend.
It will encrypt your data and make it difficult to monitor your online activities.
Encryption keys are a series of letters and numbers that represent your data but look like random letters and numbers to anyone trying to snoop in.
It’s going to be difficult for anyone, even your ISP (internet service provider), to read the information passing between your computer and the server.
2. Bypass geo-restrictions to stream content.
Maybe you’re moving to a country with strong censorship that prevents you from streaming your favorite movies and TV shows online.
A VPN can help you get around these limits and watch whatever you want.
This will work if your service providers, like Netflix or Amazon, restrict access to certain content based on location.
3. Access to restricted social media.
Uganda has even instituted a social media tax, increasing the cost of using such platforms for the country’s online population.
A VPN can bypass these restrictions and let you stay in touch with friends and loved ones.
It will mask your IP address, allowing you to access the internet via a server in a country with lax online censorship.
4. Safe online banking
Living abroad means you’re going to do some banking at some point, so you’ll need a VPN.
SSL stripping, the method of converting an HTTPS connection to HTTP without the user’s knowledge, is on the rise.
This makes financial sites that use HTTPS vulnerable targets for hackers.
I don’t need to tell you that the security of your online financial activities is PARAMOUNT.
Maybe you’re juggling accounts in different countries, or you’ve transferred all your funds to your new place of residence.
Either way, a VPN can encrypt your online banking traffic.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your financial information is SAFE from prying eyes no matter where you are on the globe.
5. Better deals
One thing you’ll discover when you travel a lot is the regional price variations.
You should expect a significant price hike after relocating to a country with the economic capabilities to pay higher prices.
Fortunately, a VPN may be the KEY to overcoming unjust price discrimination based on location.
Changing your IP address to that of your native country allows you to access the store’s regular pricing model.
For example, you can make purchases of digital goods like software, video games, and internet services just as you would at home.
Access to CHEAPER airfare and hotel booking options is another perk of using a VPN while living abroad.
You can pay a visit to your loved ones without going into serious debt.
6. Fast connections
You shouldn’t see any slowdown in speed when using the RIGHT VPN when abroad.
The PERFECT VPN should optimize servers and implement cutting-edge protocols.
More servers mean better performance in many ways.
If you’re experiencing lags, switching to a different server might help.
It might be best to connect to one that’s in the country you’re staying in.
But essentially, distance should NOT affect download speeds when using a VPN.
7. Access restricted VoIP services
These are wonderful no-cost solutions for those who have access to them.
However, some countries restrict their citizens from making international VoIP calls and instead utilize their own, often more expensive, VoIP software.
For this reason, several VoIP companies have started charging various regions varying rates.
Connecting to a server in a location where VoIP services are legal or unfettered in price will allow you to avoid paying for regional services.
You’ll be FREE to access services your loved ones also use.
How Do You Choose The Perfect VPN For Your Traveling Needs?
You probably don’t need more convincing at this point.
You simply need a VPN to stay protected online.
It also comes with a slew of perks.
So, now the question is: how do you go about choosing the right one?
Here are some considerations to keep in mind while making your VPN selection.
If you’re looking for a VPN provider, make sure it’s based in a country that takes data protection seriously.
Legislation in several nations, including the US and the UK, permits government surveillance and data collecting, which could compromise your privacy.
FIND a service that is registered in a location with stringent data protection regulations, like Switzerland or Panama.
As appealing as it may be to use a free VPN service, keep in mind that it may not offer the same level of privacy and security as a paid one.
Free VPNs may even inject tracking cookies into your browser or sell your data to third parties.
Instead, go with a VPN that has a history of keeping its users’ data safe.
Reputation really matters here.
Multiple Server Locations
If your VPN of choice has servers in other countries, you’ll have more freedom to view content that could otherwise be restricted or censored in your country.
To get the BEST service, you should find a provider that maintains a widespread system of servers in many different areas.
You should also consider providers that have MULTIPLE servers within the US so you can access city-restricted content.
Choose a VPN service that employs military-grade encryption, preferably AES-256.
Because of this, you can rest assured that NO unauthorized parties will be able to access your information.
Choosing a VPN service with FAST connections is crucial if you want to watch movies or download large files while you’re on the road.
I’m sure you’d prefer a VPN that DOES NOT slow down your connection or add unnecessary lag.
Multiple Device Support
If you plan on bringing your laptop, smartphone, and tablet overseas, it is essential that the VPN you select is COMPATIBLE with all of these devices.
Instead of paying for individual subscriptions to secure each of your devices, you may cover them ALL with the right provider plan.
In the event that your VPN connection drops, a kill switch will immediately disconnect you from the web.
This is crucial because it ensures that your information remains secure in this vulnerable window.
You should make sure your VPN service has a kill switch and LEARN how to activate it.
If a VPN has a “no-log policy,” it guarantees it won’t record anything you do online.
Your information WILL NOT be stored or given to any outside parties, which is crucial for maintaining your anonymity.
It is important to verify that a secure VPN service does not keep any logs BEFORE signing up.
Otherwise, you end up being a product for these services.
Value For Money
There are a lot of cheap VPN options, but BEWARE of providers who offer deals that are unrealistic.
It’s imperative to do your homework and find a provider that offers a fair blend of pricing and features.
REMEMBER, some inexpensive VPNs may not give the same level of protection and privacy as more expensive choices.
FAQs About VPNs For Expats
Is it illegal to watch US TV outside of the country?
Rules vary from country to country, but in the vast majority of the world, it is not against the law to watch content that is only available in a specific region.
I wouldn’t lose sleep over this, though.
The worst-case scenario is you’re asked to disable your VPN when using the said service.
Does using a VPN automatically lower my internet speed?
Any information sent or received by your device while connected to the VPN server is encrypted.
Your connection speed may experience a slight decrease due to this additional process.
Conversely, you may find that a VPN boosts your connection speed if you’re already experiencing poor connections due to ISP throttling.
The fastest VPNs are capable of streaming content in 4K resolution and beyond, thanks to their unlimited bandwidth.
Again, I wouldn’t worry about this.
Why can’t I just use a free VPN?
It’s better than nothing, but still not ideal.
You won’t get the same degree of performance from a premium VPN as you would from a free VPN.
This is because free VPNs just do not invest as much into their infrastructure and do not have the same resources as their commercial counterparts.
They use fewer, weaker servers.
This causes delays and unreliable connections.
Plus, free VPNs frequently lack basic security features like encryption and have been caught engaging in shady practices like selling users’ personal information to third parties.
Data transfer limitations imposed by many free VPNs make it impossible to do basic activities like streaming.
It is recommended that you subscribe to a paid VPN service, such as those included in the roundup above.
You can’t really put a price on safety and convenience.
Anyway, you’ll find out the best options won’t break the bank!
Will a VPN make you completely anonymous?
Don’t believe any VPN provider that tries to tell you otherwise.
The idea that a VPN can provide FULL anonymity is widespread but unfounded.
Although complete anonymity online is technically impossible to attain, several VPN services nonetheless boast false promises of privacy.
While a virtual VPN can help conceal your online identity, it cannot guarantee complete anonymity because it can only encrypt the data you send over the VPN’s encrypted tunnel.
It is extremely difficult to erase the digital trail you leave behind whenever you go online.
The right VPN will give you ENOUGH protection and help you bypass certain restrictions, but it won’t make you invincible.
Is it still possible to get hacked while using a VPN?
You should still take all the usual precautions when accessing the internet, even if you are using a VPN.
Your personal information could be compromised if you fall for a phishing scam and click on a link in an email or download an attachment from an unknown sender.
You don’t have to give up watching your usual content just because you’re no longer physically in the US.
In fact, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the same level of convenience and security just because you’re living somewhere else.
With the best VPNs for expats, you’ll have lighting-fast download speeds alongside industry-leading privacy protection for all your devices.
It’s a MUST-HAVE for any expat or digital nomad!