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The VPN market is hugely competitive nowadays, but almost all of the content covers long term day to day users who want to sign up for a considerable length of time, like 1 year or more.
But here we’ll address a very specific need for a VPN – just for short term use when you are going on holiday/vacation. You might just want a VPN to make your connection secure when at airports and hotels, so you can feel safe when logging into emails, social media, making purchases online etc, while you are away (using public Wi-Fi over unsecured connections is definitely risky).
The needs here are a bit different compared to if you were looking for a VPN for long term use. Here you might literally want something temporary for a week or a month, rather than forking out for a 1 year or 3 year subscription.
We’ll address specifically this scenario, providing you with a great free VPN option for light use when vacationing, before moving onto Premium options that can be purchased for a short time like 1 month if needed.
Free Option #1 – PrivadoVPN (10 GB Free Data)
PrivadoVPN are a Swiss based newcomer to the VPN market, with a decent coverage of free servers in lots of the popular European tourist countries people visit, plus a generous free monthly allowance of 10 GB that’s perfect for basic internet use on shorter holidays.
Here’s some benefits to PrivadoVPN’s free version:
- 10 GB of data usage per month with the free plan
- Free servers in 8 countries and 12 locations for the free plan – USA (New York, Washington DC, Miami, Los Angeles), Mexico, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina (so if you’re going to any of these countries, you’re covered on free servers)
- Strict zero logs policy, even for the free version
- Based in Switzerland with strict data protection laws
- 1 connection allowed in the free version
- Apps for all major devices.
- Email address required for free version only.
- Paid plans normally start at $5/month for a 12-month subscription, but you can get for $2.50/month with our link.
Click here to get started with the free version of PrivadoVPN – go to their Pricing page and select their Free Plan.
If you’re going to one of the countries on the free server list, PrivadoVPN is the best free VPN option I have found. Servers are fast and reliable, and great for short term use, and the paid plans are cheap as well if you want unlimited use and more countries.
Free Option #2 – Tunnelbear
If you literally just want a VPN to secure your connection for a very small amount of online activity while on holiday, then Tunnelbear have a free option you can sign up for that’s perfect.
Click here to visit Tunnelbear’s site. Go back to the homepage, and click on Plans. If you sign up for the Free account, you get 500 MB of data to use each month.
The Free plan is buried away somewhat in the menus and not heavily promoted, as for obvious reasons, they’d prefer customers used paid plans, but you can still find it by clicking back to the homepage and finding the Plans page.
Tunnelbear’s got servers in 49 countries, so many of the major holiday destinations you might be going to are covered:
Moreover, it’s a proper VPN service, with properly secure connections and unique IP addresses, so you know you’re safe despite the data cap on the Free version. There are certain browsers like Opera that have a built in VPN, but they’re not very sophisticated or private, and I’d never use them for entering any personal details online. I’d stick to Tunnelbear Free or a Premium option below for holiday use.
For clarity, here’s a quick summary of what you can expect different activities to use in terms of data, given the 500 MB monthly cap with Tunnelbear:
- Basic browsing – Doesn’t use much – 10-20 MB per hour.
- Social media – Uses a bit more – 100-150 MB per hour.
- Multiplayer Online gaming – 50-60 MB per hour.
- YouTube Video (10 minutes):
- 480p – 80 MB
- 720p (HD) – 250 MB
- YouTube video (1 hour)
- 480p – 500-700 MB
- 720p (HD) – 1.5-2 GB
- You can change YouTube video quality using the settings cog in the bottom right of videos.
- Netflix movie
- SD – 700 MB per hour.
- HD – 3 GB per hour
- Ultra HD – 7 GB per hour
- See here for source plus how to change Netflix data usage settings.
Bottom line – If you just plan to log into your emails once or twice a day, make a few purchases, and do some very light browsing while you’re away, then the 500 MB you get for the Free Tunnelbear version should be fine. Anything more than that, or if you’re away any longer than 1 week, then you’ll probably need a Premium VPN with unlimited use – see the next section below.
Note – ProtonVPN also offer a free version of their service with unlimited use, but it only offers 3 server locations – Netherlands, USA and Japan, which is quite restrictive. For more country/server location choice, Tunnelbear is the better option, with servers in 49 countries
Premium VPN Options
If you think you’re going to be needing more than 500 MB for use on holiday, or you’re going to be needing connections for multiple devices, then you might want to go for a Premium VPN option instead. These always come with unlimited use – no data caps, plus more advanced features like the ability to use on several devices, plus more server choice.
We’ve copied over one of our Premium VPN comparison tables below, but amended it to show 1 month memberships rather than 1 year ones, since short term might be what you’re looking for just for holiday use.
Some Premium VPN Providers – Click to Compare (links are affiliate links)
|Provider||Price (for 1 month)||Number of servers/countries||Number of Devices Allowed||Main Benefits|
|Private Internet Access||$9.95||10,000/84||10||Review here|
|TurboVPN||$12||21,000/45+||5||Great value longer term plans|
|NordVPN||$11.99||5300+/61||6||Choice of Servers & Double Encryption|
|ProtonVPN||$5-10||1400+/61||10||Free version available|
Note – Some of the monthly plans may continue to roll over if you don’t cancel, so remember to cancel if you don’t plan to keep using after your vacation. If you like the product and want to continue using it day to day, all providers will let you switch to a longer term plan, which will be much better value for money pro-rata.
Signing up for a VPN is usually very easy. You simply visit their site (click on one of our links above for each provider), sign up, pay your subscription, download their product and boot up the program.
Once running you simply select a preferred server location and open the VPN connection. You now have a secure, encrypted connection that will keep all your browsing and personal data safe over public Wi-Fi networks.