Best VPNs for traveling in 2023
When you travel abroad, online security and privacy should be a high priority. A VPN for travel can protect your devices and personal information when your online traffic is routed through unprotected public Wi-Fi. Open hotspots are easy gateways for hackers to steal your personal information. By using a VPN, you can protect sensitive data and prevent identity theft.
The best VPNs use industry-leading encryption ciphers to scramble your online information and inquiries. Additional security features, like a kill switch, ensure your IP is protected even if a VPN connection drops. Moreover, a VPN can help you enjoy your homeland streaming content overseas by spoofing your location to the country you need.
Our extensive tests showed that NordVPN is the best VPN for traveling because of its massive server network, competitive speed retention rates, and advanced security measures. But NordVPN isn’t the only suitable service – we ranked the top 5 VPNs for traveling that all ensure good protection, fast connections, and offer geographically diverse server fleets.
Top 5 best VPNs for international travel
- NordVPN – best VPN for traveling abroad
- Surfshark – international VPN with excellent price-to-quality ratio
- PureVPN – personal VPN for travel to Europe
- ExpressVPN – traveling VPN for streaming
- CyberGhost – geographically diverse VPN for overseas travel
How to choose a travel VPN?
The best VPN for traveling abroad depends on various factors, such as your destination and intended activities. However, some features are universally necessary for every travel VPN if you want the most secure and carefree experience. Here’s a brief rundown of the essentials.
|Security features:||Kill switch, DNS leak protection, malware protection|
|Server locations:||As many as possible (ideally in your destination and home countries)|
|Privacy:||Independently-audited no-logs policy, privacy-friendly jurisdiction|
|Compatibility:||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
|Simultaneous connections:||Minimum 5|
Reliable security is vital when traveling because you’ll be connecting to airport, cafe, hotel Wi-Fi networks, and other public hotspots, many of which won’t be completely trustworthy. The Center for Internet Security advises using a VPN whenever you have to connect to such insecure networks.
Its wide array of server options ensures easy access to geo-blocked services from abroad or your home region. Plus, VPN servers in the country you’re visiting will guarantee the best possible speed and connection quality.
Don’t forget to opt for travel VPNs compatible with the devices you plan to take with you. Bonus points if the service supports multiple simultaneous connections and can protect your companions, too.
Best travel VPNs – our detailed list
We tested 32 potential VPN services for travelers abroad and compiled a list of the 5 VPNs that have successfully passed our given assessment. Our key testing metrics were connection speed, security feature reliability, app usability, price-to-performance ratio, and more. Let's take a look at the top 5 best VPNs for travel one by one – this will help you pick the most optimal one for your travel destination.
1. NordVPN – best VPN for travel in 2023
|Servers/countries:||5,800+ servers in 60 countries|
|Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Current deal:||🔥Get NordVPN with 68% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥|
NordVPN is the best VPN for traveling internationally. During our tests, the provider managed to quickly connect us to selected servers, retained fast speeds. And for those who are traveling in China, NordVPN has been proven to work effectively.
Server fleet. In total, NordVPN has over 5,800 servers in 60 countries, so you should be able to connect to a server back home. There are also specialized servers like obfuscated ones. These can help you mask your VPN connection to continue using the service during your trip in countries where a VPN is banned.
Security. This VPN provider ensures all-around online protection. Your data is encrypted using market-leading AES-256 cipher, and the kill switch protects you on any public Wi-Fi hotspot from threat actors. NordVPN has also independently audited its no-logs policy several times. Plus, you receive additional features, like an ad blocker or split tunneling for customizing your VPN connection. Not to mention the Meshnet feature that allows you to create a LAN connection to remotely share files to your home device no matter where you’re traveling.
Streaming. NordVPN is perfect for unblocking geo-restricted content on every streaming service we’ve tested it on, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer. So you can use it to keep up with all your favorite TV shows from wherever you are in the world.
Speed. This VPN provider also has excellent speeds, thanks to its signature NordLynx protocol, which is a modified version of the cutting-edge WireGuard. With it, you get around 90% of your initial connection speed.
Compatibility. With a single subscription, you can protect up to 6 devices at once. The service works with Windows, Macs, Linux, Android, and iOS devices.
Pricing. NordVPN is very affordable, with prices starting at just $3.19 a month. There is also a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out the service without any risks.
To find out more, read our full NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – advanced and budget-friendly VPN for overseas vacations
|Based in:||The Netherlands|
|Servers/countries:||3,200+ servers in 100 countries|
|Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Current deal:||🔥Get 82% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE🔥|
Surfshark is an ideal option for travelers who aren't willing to spend much on service. During our tests, the provider didn't leak our IP address at all, there were no noticeable speed drops, and our researchers could even use the VPN in a heavily-restricted region – Turkey. Moreover, you can secure all your devices simultaneously with this VPN.
Server fleet. Surfshark gives you access to more than 3,200 servers in over 100 countries worldwide, so you should be able to access the content you want from wherever you are as well as have a good connection overall. Moreso, the provider has specialized servers, including obfuscated ones, that are also known as Camouflage mode.
Security. Surfshark uses sophisticated encryption ciphers for maximum protection and has a functional kill switch, GPS spoofing, and split tunneling, among others, for maximum security. You also get the NoBorders mode for bypassing blocks in heavily restricted countries. Additionally, you can get the Surfshark One antivirus suite, which creates an additional layer of protection. The VPN has gone through an independent audit to prove the reliability of its no-logs policy too.
Streaming. Surfshark VPN can easily unblock geo-restrictions on international streaming services, including Hulu, Disney Plus, and Netflix. So, some people in your household can use it to watch their favorite shows – while others can use it to access work portals.
Speed. This VPN is also one of the fastest VPNs on our list. You shouldn’t have to deal with buffering or slow download speeds while on the road, as the provider maintains 86% of your actual connection speed.
Compatibility. You can also get Surfshark for any iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, and other devices. And a single account can protect unlimited devices simultaneously, so not only you but your travel buddies can stay protected too.
Pricing. Surfshark’s plans are very affordable. The pricing starts at just $2.30 a month, with a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
3. PureVPN – travel VPN with servers in many Europe countries
|Based in:||British Virgin Islands|
|Servers/countries:||6,500+ servers in 78 countries|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Current deal:||🔥Get PureVPN, now 83% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥|
PureVPN is a great VPN option for those traveling to Europe, as it has servers in 30 European regions. The VPN has also impressed us with content unblocking capabilities, as it could easily bypass geo-blocks on Netflix, Hulu, and more, allowing us to discover foreign content while staying in a single place.
Server fleet. With 6,500 servers in 78 countries, this VPN stands out as one of the most server-rich providers, ensuring successful connections around the globe.
Security. PureVPN does not cut corners when it comes to security. It uses the latest encryption technologies and is the only VPN on the market with an always-on security audit. This means that PureVPN’s no-log policy is continuously being checked. Additionally, you get to use the obfuscation feature to mask your VPN connection, a kill switch, split tunneling, and even a password manager for a minimal additional price ($1/month).
Streaming. This provider is a pretty good choice if you’re looking to unblock the most popular streaming services. During our tests, this VPN successfully unblocked such platforms as Netflix US, YouTube, Hulu, and others. However, unlike NordVPN or Surfshark, PureVPN does give you some lagging while enjoying the videos.
Speed. The WireGuard protocol also gives it an extra edge on speed, which is always appreciated in a VPN. Nevertheless, it’s not the speediest provider, as it retains around 67% of your actual connection speed, which is far less than NordVPN or Surfshark would.
Compatibility. PureVPN also allows up to 10 simultaneous connections and works with all popular platforms, whether it’s a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. So you can connect it to just about any device you travel with.
Pricing. Its prices start at $2.08/month and this is great overall value. There’s also a generous 31-day money-back guarantee you can use in the unlikely event you won’t like the services.
Want to know more? Check out our in-depth PureVPN review.
4. ExpressVPN – international VPN for streaming
|Based in:||British Virgin Islands|
|Servers/countries:||3,000+ servers in 94 countries|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Current deal:||🔥Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF the 1-year plan!🔥|
ExpressVPN is a great travel companion that will fill up your evenings at the hotel with loads of unblocked streaming content. When testing, not only did it give us access to all popular streaming services but it also retained great speeds without leaking our IP.
Server fleet. There are over 3,000 of ExpressVPN servers distributed across 94 countries. Hence, using it for trips is a good choice. It also has Stealth servers, also known as obfuscated servers, that hide your VPN connection.
Security. Top-notch AES encryption protects your data from malicious activities and cyberattacks so that you can travel light-heartedly without any online risk. Moreover, Threat Manager stops your apps and websites from communicating with third parties known to partake in malicious activities or track online behavior. ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy has also been court-approved, indicating that the provider treats your data with full respect. And for extra security, you even get a password manager which you can use to create strong and secure passwords.
Streaming. With ExpressVPN, you can access many streaming platforms without sacrificing security. Whether it’s movies or sports channels, you can download and stream preferred content from your travel location. This VPN bypasses throttling and censorship, so there are no limits to the content you can watch.
Speed. This VPN offers several tunneling protocol options, including its in-house built Lightway tunnel. The latter ensures you receive good connection speeds without compromising your safety. However, unlike speedy Surfshark VPN, ExpressVPN retains 77% of your real connection speed on average.
Compatibility. With an ExpressVPN account, you can connect up to 8 simultaneous connections. And the apps available to download are for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, and Kindle.
Pricing. You can get wide-reaching ExpressVPN service for $6.67/month for a 1-year plan. If you want to test this VPN provider before a long-term commitment, you can try it for 30 days with a money-back guarantee.
5. CyberGhost – VPN with servers in farthest corners of the world
|Locations:||9,600+ servers in 91 countries|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Current deal:||🔥Get CyberGhost VPN, now 83% OFF + 2 months FREE🔥|
CyberGhost is one of the popular VPNs for traveling, with the most extensive fleet of servers that can help you access location-specific content. When testing, we enjoyed a stable connection without huge interfering speed drops. And the customer support agent informed us about CyberGhost’s capabilities to function in China and other censored locations.
Server fleet. An excellent fleet of 9,600+ servers in 91 countries means accessing various content worldwide. NoSpy servers block all third parties monitoring or accessing your data. While streaming and gaming servers allow you to enjoy your favorite content with ease from anywhere.
Security. Top-grade AES-256 encryption secures your data, despite the country you’re traveling to. The automatic kill switch prevents any IP leaks, meanwhile an ad blocker blocks adware protecting you from viruses. The company has also independently audited its no-logs policy, meaning there’s no threat for your activity logs.
Streaming. CyberGhost unblocks every platform, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. It also goes around geo-blocked YouTube videos, and this feature will let you stay unaffected by changes in the streaming library while you’re abroad.
Speed. The provider retains average connection speeds compared to other fastest VPNs – 86% of real connection speed.
Compatibility. This VPN also offers up to 7 simultaneous connections and is available on the most popular operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. It’s known as one of the most user-friendly VPNs on the market, resulting in an effortless VPN experience during travels.
Pricing. CyberGhost starts at $2.19/month and offers a 45-day money-back guarantee. With various pricing options, this VPN is a flexible provider for safe browsing while on the go.
To learn more, dive into the CyberGhost review.
How we tested and selected Travel VPNs
Let’s take a thorough look at the aspects that determined our rigorous testing and selection process for the best VPNs for travel abroad.
- Security tools. You’ll encounter countless public Wi-Fi networks while traveling or working abroad, which means exposure to an unprecedented number of cyber threats. Thus, you’ll need exceptional protection against malware and unwelcome hacking attempts.
- Confidentiality. A privacy-centered VPN with a no-logs policy ensures that no one will know where you’re traveling unless you explicitly tell them.
- Server variety. A worldwide server network is vital for bypassing geo-blocking and guaranteeing optimal connectivity in every part of the world.
- Overall speed and tunneling protocols. Another crucial aspect of overall speed is tunneling protocol availability. Specifically, only cutting-edge options like WireGuard or its modern moderations can guarantee mind-blowing speeds in remote areas while connecting to far-away regions.
- App variety and ease of use. Travelers need a VPN with apps for every device they plan to pack. This list can include laptops, mobile phones, streaming sticks, e-readers, and various other gadgets. At the same time, these applications must be easy to use and filled with the most powerful features.
- Subscription price. It shouldn’t surprise you that the best VPNs for travelers aren’t free. Thankfully, the most worthwhile options are affordable and even include free trials and money-back guarantees for testing.
- Customer service. You’ll likely require customer support assistance to get a VPN up and running in a foreign environment. Thus, we picked VPN services with 24/7 help for minimal downtime while abroad.
Comparison of the best VPNs for traveling abroad
When comparing the best VPNs for traveling, we found that NordVPN is the ultimate top solution. When visiting Turkey, France, and Poland, NordVPN didn’t have any trouble bypassing geo-restrictions on Netflix and other streaming platforms. Plus, the speed retention rate was just as good, not to mention the security quality.
However, other top VPNs don’t fall far behind NordVPN. Here’s how all of the traveling VPNs compare:
|Suitable for traveling||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free trial||Yes, 7-day||Yes, 7-day||Yes, 7-day||No||Yes, up to 7 days|
|Price (lowest price per month)||$3.19/month||$2.30/month||$2.08/month||$6.67/month||$2.19/month|
|Streaming||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more||Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+|
|Server fleet||5,800+ servers in 60 countries||3,200+ servers in 100 countries||6,500+ servers in 78 countries||3,000+ servers in 94 countries||9,600+ servers in 91 countries|
|Based in||Panama||The Netherlands (part of 9 Eyes)||British Virgin Islands||British Virgin Islands||Romania|
|Review||NordVPN review||Surfshark VPN review||PureVPN review||ExpressVPN review||CyberGhost review|
Why do you need a VPN while traveling?
Being connected to a VPN while traveling eliminates the dangers of third-party, such as government or ISP, data viewing as well as threat actors. But that’s not all – the content you see online differs with each country, and a VPN helps bypass this issue.
Here’s exactly why you need a VPN while traveling:
- Protect yourself on public Wi-Fi. According to America’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, insecure public networks are one of the cybersecurity threats while traveling. Public networks are a hazard for threat actors that are trying to gain access to your device and steal your information. A VPN encrypts your data, hiding it from any third-party peeks.
- Secure yourself from third parties. Different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or even governments, especially in restrictive countries, may track what you’re doing online. Using a VPN increases your digital privacy while abroad.
- Access email and banking securely. Logging into your email or bank account through public Wi-Fi hotspots can be dangerous. Several organizations, including the National Cybersecurity Alliance, also recommend using a VPN to keep your sensitive accounts safe.
- Bypass geo-restrictions abroad. Depending on your travel destination, you may find certain social media, websites, or apps unavailable due to geo-blocks. A VPN changes your IP address, letting you go around these restrictions and browse the internet freely.
- Access websites and apps like at home. When you’re outside your home country, you’ll find that some sites and apps will be different. For example, Netflix in the UK will be much more different in terms of content availability than in Netflix US. A VPN lets you browse just like you would at home.
Read more about traveling dangers online:
How to use a VPN for international travel?
Setting up a travel VPN doesn’t take long nor adds extra stress to your trip. VPN providers, like NordVPN, make it easy to set up and use applications so that online security would be easily accessed anywhere and at any time.
Here’s how to set up a VPN on your device for traveling abroad:
- Choose a VPN that works best – NordVPN worked great for us. Now NordVPN 68% OFF!
- Go to your device’s app store or the official website of a VPN and download the VPN app
- Open the app and sign up for the service
- Connect to your preferred server
- Enable the kill switch feature and other security features for additional protection
- Clear your cache and cookies if you can’t access geo-blocked content straight away
It’s a good idea to check whether or not the country you’re visiting has good internet connectivity. If you’re going somewhere with strict laws, you may need to change your VPN application’s settings accordingly, such as enabling the traffic obfuscation feature.. For more specific information, contact your selected VPN’s customer support.
Can I get cheap airfares and hotels with a VPN?
Yes, using a VPN is an excellent life hack to get cheap airfares and hotel bookings. After all, many online stores and services adjust prices to accommodate the differences in buying power globally. At the same time, these platforms include numerous safeguards against abuse.
That means using a VPN to cut costs on travel expenses can be complicated and time-consuming. Thus, we recommend reading our detailed guide on how to use a VPN for cheaper flights.
In which countries are VPNs illegal?
There are regions that have strictly banned VPN usage or highly restrict the usage of them. And going against those restrictions results in unflattering consequences.
Here are the countries where a VPN is banned:
- North Korea
And these are the countries that have strict internet censorship resulting in vigilant VPN usage monitoring:
Despite the fact that VPNs are illegal or discouraged in certain regions, you can still connect to servers while traveling if you use the right VPN. Equally, you can connect to a VPN with obfuscated servers in countries that ban VPNs without being detected. Just be sure you check that your chosen VPN works in the country you’re visiting before you set off.
Be aware that although VPNs are generally legal in selected countries, accessing government-prohibited apps and sites using a VPN may be considered illegal and can lead to penalties. For further clarification, consulting a legal practitioner in your destination country may be beneficial.
Travel VPN troubleshooting guide
VPN apps aren’t immune to occasional software hiccups. Crucially, these could prove frustrating if they occur while traveling and you’re unsure what to do. Hence, we suggest getting to know the quick fixes if your VPN is not working while traveling.
- Switch servers. VPN server IP addresses can be blocked if too many customers frequently use them. Naturally, they can also underperform due to maintenance or excess traffic.
- Enable traffic obfuscation. Some services can detect the fact that you’re using a VPN. Traffic obfuscation helps conceal the fact.
- Check for leaks. Your VPN won’t bypass online blockades if your information is peeking through. Use third-party tools like dnsleaktest.com to ensure you’re not suffering from IP or DNS leaks.
- Try a different protocol. Many network limitations are enforced by blocking specific web traffic. This can affect popular VPN tunneling protocols like OpenVPN. Consider opting for security-centered protocols if your provider has such options.
- Update your software. Sometimes issues can arise from a missing critical update on your VPN app. Ensure you’re using the latest version before boarding your plane.
- Try another provider. Perhaps you’re using a VPN service unoptimized for travel. Thankfully, it’s easy to try the best VPN for traveling because NordVPN offers a 7-day free trial and a follow-up 30-day money-back guarantee.
Can I use a free VPN for international travel?
Many frugal travelers consider cutting corners in the digital security department and typically opt for free or freemium VPNs. However, these options are far from ideal if you desire a flawless vacation.
- Completely free VPNs put your security in danger. These providers commonly resort to unsavory practices (data logging, adware) to monetize unpaying users. In short, free VPNs don’t give any benefit and instead put you in greater danger.
- Freemium VPNs grant severely limited features. Some premium VPNs offer free plans with minimal features, making them ill-equipped for protecting you on your travels.
A more worthwhile strategy is utilizing free trials of well-renowned premium VPNs. Typically, these risk-free trials last around a week, making them perfect for a week-long getaway. On the other hand, money-back guarantees last even longer if you’re planning a lengthier holiday.
- NordVPN. The 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee are an ideal combo for testing the #1 provider during an extended vacation abroad.
- Surfshark. A worthwhile option if you need to protect an unlimited number of devices while traveling. Utilize the 7-day free trial or the 30-day money-back guarantee to gain this service’s benefits.
Extra cybersecurity tips for travelers
Using a VPN isn’t the only step you should take to improve your cybersecurity posture while traveling. It’s also useful to take a look at other security measures to prevent any dangers in cyberspace.
Here are some extra cybersecurity tips for travelers:
- Make a backup of your information. In case you lose your device, it’s better to be safe than sorry and make backups of your most important files.
- Set up biometric and two-factor authentication. Secure your device and most important accounts with two-factor authentication to make it more difficult for anyone to gain access to your data.
- Use a password manager. Download a reputable password manager, even if it’s a free one, to generate and use unbreakable passwords without the need to remember them. This encrypts your login credentials,
- Be aware of what you click. Make sure you don’t click suspicious email attachments, links, or download any untrustworthy apps. You may end up infecting your device with various types of malware, resulting in financial loss, identity theft, and more.
- Use an antivirus. Malware removal tools are a great way to make sure your device doesn’t get infected with threats. There are loads of scammers around the world trying to take advantage of unsuspecting travelers, but an antivirus with real-time protection helps prevent the dangers.
Getting a reliable VPN is essential for traveling abroad. It will keep your data secure while you’re away, even if you have to use public Wi-Fi in your hotel or the airport. You’ll also find an international VPN a vital tool if you want to access anything from back home, such as streaming services, work portals, or region-restricted online systems.
We concluded that NordVPN is the best VPN for international travel due to its abundance of exceptional perks. It can easily thwart malware, unlock geo-blocked movies, and guarantee blazing-fast speeds anywhere with its massive high-quality server network. Most importantly, its affordability won’t leave a huge dent in your travel budget and the software won’t take up any space in your luggage.
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What is a travel VPN?
A VPN for traveling is a service that provides excellent security measures, including IP address changing, to keep you safe while being abroad without compromising device performance. The best travel VPN is NordVPN and its massive server fleet as well as advanced protection features.
Should I use a VPN for travel?
Yes, a is a worthwhile addition to your baggage because it will render your online activities unreadable on hotels and public Wi-Fi, thanks to encryption. Furthermore, you can change your location and unlock movies and TV shows geo-restricted to your home country to continue watching them while traveling abroad.
What is the best VPN for international travel?
The best VPN for travel is NordVPN. It has 5,800 servers, which are located in 60 countries. NordVPN also offers a top-notch suite of features that allow you to have a fast and reliable network connection all around the world (even in heavily-censored countries such as China or Iraq).
Do VPNs work without Wi-Fi?
Yes, you can use a VPN with your mobile data, so you don’t need to be connected to Wi-Fi to get it to work. All you need is an internet connection. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that mobile data can be very expensive while you’re roaming abroad, so we’d recommend using Wi-Fi wherever possible.
Does a VPN work on cellular data?
Yes, VPNs work on cellular data, and you’ll get the same level of protection as on Wi-Fi networks. But note that using a VPN on smartphones can eat up to 20% more of your mobile data.
Can I use a VPN to avoid roaming charges?
No, you can’t use a VPN to avoid roaming charges because you’re still tied to your internet provider’s network. On the other hand, a VPN with ad-blocking capabilities can reduce data consumption by blocking unnecessary online ads and trackers. This also leads to increased page loading times.
Can I use VPN internationally?
Yes, most good VPNs can work pretty much anywhere in the world. However, not all of them can bypass government censorship in countries where VPNs are blocked, such as China. If you’re traveling to a country that doesn’t allow VPNs, be sure to check if your VPN will work there before you set off.
Which VPN has the most countries?
Surfshark has the most diverse countries coverage. With this country VPN, you get to choose from more than 3,200 servers in 100 countries and the number is constantly increasing. Thanks to this, you can enjoy great connection speeds as servers don’t get overcrowded.
Will a VPN make my connection slow while traveling?
Naturally, all VPNs slow down your connection, but it shouldn't be visible to the eye. That's why you should choose VPNs with vast server fleets and speedy tunneling protocols, such as WireGuard. NordVPN, for instance, uses the ultra-fast NordLynx protocol, making it one of the fastest VPNs on the market.
How do I make my Wi-Fi secure when traveling?
To keep your connection to public Wi-Fi secure when traveling, you should use a reliable and secure VPN such as NordVPN. It will encrypt your internet traffic and hide your online activities from anyone interested in snooping around. A good VPN will also block ads and protect you from malicious websites.