Planning a quick trip abroad in the near future? The COVID-19 pandemic might have made that difficult, but certainly not impossible. So, you’re probably pretty excited about it, and likely already have a list of everything you need to bring with you.

Though, if you read some articles about what to pack, you might have seen some people saying you need to bring a Netflix VPN with you.

But do you really? Can’t you just use Netflix normally and enjoy it that way?

You might be able to do that. But there’s also a pretty good chance that you’ll need a Netflix VPN to get the most out of your vacation. We’ll tell you why in this quick article.

The Problem with Watching Netflix on Vacation

Picture this – you spend all day sightseeing, dining at local restaurants, and taking in the culture. When you get home, it’s already dark. You hop in the shower, put on your comfy pajamas, and pour yourself a glass of wine. You’re now ready to relax in bed with a few episodes of your favorite Netflix series before calling it a night.

But wait, what’s this? You can’t find the show anymore! You keep searching for it on Netflix, but it doesn’t show up. You quickly google if they took it off the site, but can’t find anything about that.

So what’s going on?

To put it simply, Netflix is using geo-blocks to stop you from watching that show. They don’t have anything personal with you, but they didn’t buy licensing rights for the country you’re currently in. Due to that, they can’t legally stream that series there.

But don’t just take our word for it. Click here to use StreamCatcher to see for yourself. It’s an online service from ProPrivacy that tells you which countries Netflix titles are available in. For example, if you’d look up Hunter X Hunter, you’d see it’s only available in nine countries.

It’s pretty easy to see how that can be very annoying. We’re not saying it’s going to ruin your vacation, but it will take some of the fun away. Let’s be honest – many of you were probably planning on relaxing at night with Netflix or using it to pass the time on the train or bus.

How a VPN Unblocks All Netflix Titles for You

Now that you know the problem with using Netflix on vacation, it’s time to fix it. And a VPN is the best tool for the job. If you’re not familiar with VPNs, they’re basically online services that hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic.

“Hide your IP” pretty much just means the VPN will stop sites (like Netflix) from seeing it. Without knowing your IP address, the websites won’t know what country you are from. With Netflix, that means it can’t redirect your traffic to the regional library of the country you’re currently in.

If you’d like to know how a VPN stops Netflix from seeing your IP, it’s thanks to its servers. They sit between you and Netflix, and the site ultimately thinks your traffic is coming from the VPN. Overall, your connection will look like this:

You VPN Server Netflix

Without a VPN, it’d just look like this:

You Netflix

This is why Netflix would be able to see your IP (so your geo-location).

How to Use a VPN with Netflix on Vacation

Don’t worry – you don’t need to spend your free time learning anything new or reading complicated PDFs. Just follow these four steps:

  1. Subscribe to a VPN. We recommend using ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
  2. Download the right app for your device, and install it.
  3. Run the app, and use it to connect to a VPN server. Make sure the location matches the country where the content you want to watch is available (a UK server for titles available in the UK, for instance).
  4. Head to Netflix, log into your account, and start watching whatever you want!

Why Else Should You Use a VPN on Vacation?

Besides helping you unblock Netflix, VPNs can offer other perks:

Secure Your Data

Public WiFi isn’t very safe. While you’re accessing your PayPal or bank account using the coffee shop or hotel’s network, a hacker might be actively listening in on your traffic. If they’re successful, they could steal login credentials from you.

VPNs stop that from happening by encrypting your traffic end-to-end. Only the VPN app and server will be able to decrypt your data. Anyone else will just see gibberish.

Save Money

Online merchants often use geographical price discrimination, so you’ll see different prices depending on what country you’re currently in.

By hiding your geo-location, VPNs can potentially help you get some nice discounts. For example, you might see lower prices when buying airplane tickets or renting cars.

You just have to keep switching between VPN servers until you find a location that comes with attractive pricing.

Bypass Firewalls

If you visit countries with restrictive governments (like China), you won’t be able to browse all the sites you want (including Netflix).

We have also seen some users on Reddit complain about hotels blocking Netflix. We can’t say why, though it might be because they don’t have enough bandwidth to accommodate all guests using the site. A few users even said some hotels blocked porn sites (how you relax in the privacy of your hotel room is nobody’s business but your own).

Either way, a VPN can help. By routing your traffic through a VPN server, it makes sure you’re communicating with the web through an IP address that doesn’t have firewall restrictions linked to it. So you can freely browse and watch whatever you want.

Do You Use VPNs on Vacation?

If yes, do you use them only to unblock Netflix (or other sites), or do you use them for other things (like encrypting your traffic)? Please let us know in the comments below.