The Ultimate Guide to Staying Connected on Vacation Abroad

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Connect Through a Proxy to Make Calls (and Use Your Favorite Video Services)

Life not quite the same without Netflix? You’ll be in shock the minute you step off of American shores – turns out all that good stuff like Hulu, Pandora, Netflix and more, is restricted to the U.S. only. In some countries, Facebook and Twitter are also blocked thanks to state censorship.

The best way to circumvent this lack of access is by hooking into a VPN (virtual private network) or proxy that allows you to connect to a U.S. server. Once connected, you’ll be able to access all the content that you can’t live without.

(MORE: A Brief History of Chinese Internet Censorship)

A VPN also lets you to transmit data more securely, allowing you to be at ease that China isn’t monitoring your mindless surfing. And as an added bonus, now that Google has added free calling to any U.S. number via Gmail, you can call any U.S. number gratis once you’re connected to your proxy or VPN. It’s exactly the same as grabbing an unlimited Skype subscription to the good ol’ U.S. of A.

There are many VPN services out there offering rates by the week, month or year. VPNinja offers rates for more short-term stays abroad, while yearly WiTopia seems to be a favorite in countries that restrict internet access.

Comparing the cost of a VPN against a Skype subscription, the winner seems clear: a proxy will give you the most bang for the buck. For instance, it costs $6 per month for VPNinja, and $7 per month for a Skype subscription. The only disadvantage here is that you won’t be able to use your smartphone’s Skype app to its full potential over Wi-Fi or 3G.

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