Being part of a network means other people on the network can capture or ‘sniff’ your traffic as well as everyone else on the same network. If the traffic you are communicating through is not encrypted, then yes, it is open for easy pickings. You are largely at the mercy of the software you are using unless you want to take the time to review and ensure each piece of software you use is using sound security practices, hint: that is alot of work and requires special skills so probably not. Using a VPN creates a fully encrypted channel of traffic within the network so you are typically much safer using untrusted networks (like an open airport wifi network) if you are using a VPN. I like Nordic because it is easy, bandwidth is reasonable and I can select my exit node which is important because any traffic that was unencrypted, but encrypted in the VPN will be unencrypted again at the exit node so vulnerable to a malicious exit node operator. Ideally, you would create your own VPN service you can trust and use this. If you have a smart phone, best idea would be to see if you could hotspot or tether from your phone, make sure your device is secured with a strong password. There are a few countries that have banned VPN use such as China, UAE and Russia so be careful when overseas.