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VPN Setup Hack: Everything You Need to Know Before You Travel!

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

So, you're planning your next big adventure or maybe just a work trip – either way, you've gotta keep your online life safe, right?

We've got your back!

In this laid-back guide, we're diving into the world of VPNs, but with a twist – we're talking all about it in the context of travel. No jargon, no techy mumbo-jumbo, just simple, straightforward tips to keep your internet connection secure and location private while you're out there exploring the world or working remotely from your favorite coffee shop or hotel. So here is the VPN Setup Hack for travel! Also, check out our free Private VPN Travel Router Checklist

So, grab your virtual passport, kick back, and let's chat about all things VPN and travel. It's gonna be a breezy ride! 🌍✨

Why Use Travel VPN?

A travel VPN (Virtual Private Network) is crucial for several reasons, especially in today's digital landscape:

Security on Public Wi-Fi: When you're traveling, you often connect to public Wi-Fi networks in airports, cafes, hotels, and other public places. These networks are notoriously insecure, making it easy for hackers to intercept your data. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, ensuring that your data remains private and secure, even on public Wi-Fi.

Data Privacy: VPNs mask your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, preventing websites, advertisers, and even your internet service provider from tracking your online activities and location. This is essential for maintaining your privacy, especially in countries with strict internet censorship or surveillance.

Access to Restricted Content: Depending on where you travel, certain websites and online services might be blocked or restricted. A VPN allows you to bypass these restrictions by connecting to servers in different locations, enabling you to access your favorite websites and content no matter where you are in the world.

Preventing Geo-Targeting: Some online services and retailers offer different prices and deals based on your location. With a VPN, you can appear as if you're browsing from a different location, potentially saving you money on flights, accommodations, or online purchases.

Secure Online Transactions: If you're booking flights, hotels, or making any online transactions while traveling, a VPN adds an extra layer of security. It encrypts your financial information, protecting you from potential identity theft or credit card fraud over public wifi networks

Avoiding Bandwidth Throttling: In some regions, internet service providers might intentionally slow down specific types of online traffic, such as streaming services. A VPN can bypass these restrictions, ensuring you get the internet speeds you need for seamless streaming and browsing.

In essence, a travel VPN is like a digital bodyguard for your online activities. It keeps your data safe, and your online location private, and ensures that you can access the content and services you need, regardless of where your travels take you.

Connecting Your Travel VPN

Many of you who have watched previous videos know that I love the Gl-Inet AXT-1800 VPN Router. This little VPN router is a swiss army knife of technology and should be included in every remote worker or avid traveler’s technology bag (also check out our VPN. I am constantly finding new ways to use this router and today I want to show you the latest feature that I discovered while on a recent trip to Houston, Texas. Let’s get it!

Step 1: Setting Up A Personal VPN

To set up a personal site-to-site VPN you will need two AXT-1800 routers, one to leave at your house in the US or a relative's house and the other to take with you while you travel. Usually, the remote worker or traveler would be connecting from a foreign country to a Personal site-to-site VPN in the United States.

Step 2: Connect to the Hotel Wifi

Most hotels implement a captive portal that requires the user to enter their room number and last name. Once, the computer is authenticated, it is assigned an IP address on the hotel’s network. Also, in most cases, the only available way to connect to the internet is using Wifi which means you will not have an ethernet cable or port to connect the AXT-1800 VPN travel router to the internet.

Hotel connections present two problems:

  1. No physical ethernet port to connect the travel router and

  2. The need to authenticate to the hotel’s network to get an IP address connected to the internet

Luckily, The AXT-1800 is up to the challenge. There are 4 ways to connect the AXT-1800 Ethernet, Wifi, and Tethering to a cellphone, or via USB cellular modem.

Connecting via WiFi

The first thing to do when there is no physical cable to connect to the hotel’s internet is to use the wifi repeater option. Once you click on the repeater option, you should see the hotel’s wifi as one of the available networks to connect. However, because the hotel’s network has a captive portal, you need to enter credentials, most likely your room # and name, to connect to the internet side of the wifi gateway. Butt the router doesn’t see the pop-up window of the captive portal and therefore you can’t enter credentials. So you are given an IP address that will not connect to the internet side of the captive portal. This is where the AXT-1800’s second cool feature comes into play.

Spoofing Your MAC Address

The AXT-1800 can spoof or clone the mac address of a device that has already authenticated to the captive portal. For example, I used an iPad as the first device to connect to the hotel’s internet.

Afterwards, I cloned the Mac address (layer 2 address) of the wifi network adapter from the first device. By cloning the mac address of the Ipad, the VPN client router sends packets out as an already authenticated device -- the Ipad. This solves problem 1 by allowing us to connect over wifi. Now that, we have the router configured to pretend to be the authenticated Ipad. We also need to give it the layer 3 IP address of the Ipad. So now we need to input the IP address, gateway, and DNS server addresses manually that the Ipad received from the captive portal.

Once we put in this information, we can now get access to the internet from our Ipad connected to the VPN travel router.

Enabling Your VPN Connection

The final step is to enable the wireguard client VPN to connect to the Personal site-to-site VPN This would make it seem like your computer when you travel is still located in your home or a family member's home.

For a visual demonstration, check out the attached video

Until Next Time,

MexitPlans Monte

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