The $vxx is not an effective hedge to a long stock or index position because it decays over time due to Contango. The $vxx is down some odd 99% since its inception. That is horrible. The $VIX itself is obviosly not, its basically flat/choppy. If you want protection, use $VIX call options contracts. Defined risk, with unlimited upside.
The best way to play Volatility in my opinion is to be short it. It is a mean reverting product and since no one knows really how high each spike is going to go, people are nervous about shorting it. Here are a few ways to get short Volatility with a plan:
1. When the $vix futures go into backwardation the $vxx keeps ripping higher and higher. The moment it breaks out of Backwardation and back into contango feel free to Buy long dated (more than 3 months) $vxx puts.
2. If you are a trader you can short $uvxy or $tvix once the $VIX futures are out of Backwardation and back in Contango. Do not hold onto a short if it goes against you and $VIX futures go into backwardation. It is a good way to go broke and owe money.
3. You can always buy $ZIV (4-7 month VIX futures inverse ) or more aggressive and $XIV (Front month VIX futures inverse). These products take advantage of contango in the the $vxx and also the fact that the VIX is a mean reverting product. Timing is important on these products because the max drawdowns are very large. If you are a swing trader or even a longer term holder, on a large VIX spike (30 PLUS) Feel free to snag XIV or ZIV at your own risk. IF you are worried look at the charts.
Lastly. Do not follow blindly. Take trades at your own risk.