Are you an avid traveler? If so, we don’t need to explain how much strain airline tickets put on your wallet. Whether you are a diplomat, journalist, travel industry professional or simply just live to explore new regions, you’ll likely already know just how tedious it is to find the best deal. You may even have heard about the phenomenon that many are talking about, which says that just by using a VPN you’ll be able to access the cheaper flight prices offered in different countries. The story is this: websites check your digital ‘fingerprint’ to determine your location and customer profile and, as a result, a presumed financial status in the hopes of extracting as much money from you as possible. But just how true is this myth? Can you really save money on flight tickets with a VPN? Let’s investigate…
How to Save on Flight Tickets With a VPN
There are already several reasons why frequent travelers should utilize a VPN service. Not only does it protect your personal information and financial data while accessing potentially dangerous public Wi-Fi but it also unblocks geo-restricted content. It is said, however, that changing your IP address by rerouting internet traffic through a VPN server in another country can influence how a travel company might view your level of wealth. These websites supposedly collect information about you by tracking your cookies and IP details, taking a look at your virtual fingerprint, and providing prices according to your presumed financial status. In theory a VPN could fool them into offering up a far more affordable fee that you would never have known existed otherwise.
The goal, then, is to use a VPN service to disguise yourself as a citizen of a low-income country – the typical suggestions are India or Mexico – and make the purchase that way. This means first finding the international flight you want through ticket searching websites like Kayak or Momondo to get the price and details of the flight, in particular the company arranging the journey.
Then simply close the tab down, clear your browser’s cookies and open a new private or incognito window. At this point you should activate a VPN like ExpressVPN and switch to a VPN server in a lower income country, then visit the travel company that hosted the flight you found and search for the exact same details. If done properly that same trip should appear for much less, often resulting in a difference of more than $100.
At least, that’s the idea…
The Truth of Using a VPN for Flight Purchases
Bear in mind that simply switching to another country won’t necessarily deliver a price drop on plane tickets. There are some that suggest that geo-locating features on your smartphone or laptop will give up the game, while others claim that it takes a lot of experimentation to find the right location for your VPN before a worthwhile saving for any given flight will reveal itself.
Despite following the requirements ourselves to the letter, we couldn’t find any examples of this trick actually working. We used IPVanish to virtually place us in locations all around the globe across a countless number of flights, and often the saving was no greater than a couple of dollars. It’s highly likely that over the years flight companies have figured this loophole out and learnt new ways of providing their flights to block this saving.
It’s necessary to add that it’s certainly something worth testing for yourself on any long-distance flights you might be looking at. It takes no effort to boot up a VPN and digitally place yourself in new, potentially cheaper locations. Who knows, maybe you’ll stumble across one of these huge savings that some on the internet seem to suggest are possible.
Why Travelers Need a VPN for More Than Just Cost Saving
While saving a few dollars is undoubtedly going to make any frequent traveler’s life a happier one, it’s worth remembering that even if you don’t score the jackpot with this VPN trick such services still bring with them the added – and very important – boon of strong online security. Travelers should know of the dangers of unprotected Wi-Fi connections, and since you might well be relying on these often just to find your way around it’s good to know that having a VPN to hand – and the best VPNs will even provide dedicated mobile apps – will protect your details from being accessed by unscrupulous sorts using public networks as hunting grounds for personal data.
There is of course also the benefit of removing any geo-restrictions on online content, meaning you’ll have no problems keeping up with your favorite TV show or listening to your playlists whenever you’re abroad.
There’s even an unproven myth that says that the price of flights is affected by their popularity, and if you keep searching for the same flight to monitor its erratically shifting price you’ll inadvertently increase the cost. It’s practically impossible to prove this one way or the other, but better to be certain; VPNs cut out cookie-tracking elements of websites to ensure you’re given totally fresh search results. Better than that, though, is how a VPN service can also block all those frustrating pop-up ads that aggregate flight searching sites so commonly suffer from. The fact that a VPN might save you money is just an extra bonus; regular travelers have many reasons to make use of this potential life-saver.
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