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Is it possible to save money on travels with a VPN?

Is it possible to save money on travels with a VPN?

Apr 19th, 2019, 01:48 AM
  #1  
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Is it possible to save money on travels with a VPN?

Am I the only one who just now heard about the possibility to save some $ when travelling if you use a VPN? As per the blog post on Surfshark - You can apparently save on car rentals, plane tickets, hotels and some other stuff.

Basically how it works is if you switch your location to a country you are planning to visit you might be able to catch lower prices because usually when the site 'sees' you are connecting from abroad it 'understands' you'll be on your holiday and they tend to raise the price for tourists.

Has anyone tried this? Does it work? Any other money saving tips and tricks?
gordby is offline  
Apr 19th, 2019, 05:09 AM
  #2  
 
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A friend of mine tried this and no it doesn't work compared to cleaning your cookies. Out of interest what is your native language?
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 19th, 2019, 11:13 AM
  #3  
 
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I don't think that is accurate myself. Maybe there is some website like that, I don't know, but I suspect most legitimate businesses don't maintain two sets of prices based on what country your computer address is in. I know for a fact that I often compare prices in euro using the local website version versus USD using the site by saying I'm in the US, and the prices are identical, except one is in euro and one USD of course. But they are equal by the bank rate. FOr example, on Air France, you can select your home country from a list. What really matters is the itinerary more, not where you are located. If you do a RT starting in the US, the price is the same.

Some websites are geared to tourists to begin with, so that doesn't really make sense, anyone buying tickets to certain touristy things is a tourist, pretty much. Such as day tours in a city.

As for hotels, I would ask you to name one hotel that does that if you can, changes the price based on the IP of your computer. I don't think that would even be that easy to do for hotels that simply have a set of rates posted on their website (some do, you know, they aren't dynamic).
Christina is offline  
Apr 19th, 2019, 11:26 AM
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>>I don't know, but I suspect most legitimate businesses don't maintain two sets of prices based on what country your computer address is in<<

When I go into a retail website say in the UK or France (not talking airlines or chain hotels) - most of the time it kicks me over to a US site with prices in $ and I have to override it to actually use the UK site/get prices in or €. Very often the prices ARE significantly different.

Not exactly the same thing as two sets of prices -- but most often just using an 'un-advantageous' exchange rate. IME most sites DO know where one's computer is sitting and prices can definitely be affected.
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Apr 19th, 2019, 11:57 AM
  #5  
 
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Prices in the US are generally seaking lower than in Europe. Manufacturers tend to use the same figure and just change the currency sign, certainly between dolars and pounds.
Car rental in the US tends to be cheaper booked from Europe and that is probably true the other way around too especially as you can often use your credit cards for insurance.
As soon as you try to pay online you can hit a problem as the site may not accept foreign credit cards or accounts or switch you to a US site as son as it recognises your address or credit card as being a US card.
Some sites will recognise you are using a VPN and block you.
In the grand scheme of things i doubt the savings you could make over a trip to Europe would justify setting it up. The expense is in your flight and accomdation and those are almost certainly cheaper booked in the US.
hetismij2 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2019, 03:16 AM
  #6  
 
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This is a bit convoluted, so bear with me. I have Google One storage, and a benefit of that is special cheap hotel rates. I found these were not available if I was in Canada and did a search. However, if I connected to my corporate VPN and did the search, I saw the rates again (because the VPN suggests I was in the US).
At least one Argentinian airline offers cheaper rates to locals, and you do have to do something to trick it (I didn't try this). I have not experimented enough otherwise to know if this is true very often.
WillTravel is offline  
Apr 21st, 2019, 08:20 AM
  #7  
 
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I used to benefit all the time 10 years or so when using the Hertz site from another country, but they have long caught up with that approach in my experience.

However, I was able to use the UK Norwegian airlines site last year to save around $300 on two tickets from the US to Gatwick. There are lots of blog posts out there suggesting to always use the Norwegian country site for Norwegian airlines to get cheaper rates but when I checked it was cheapest on the UK site. It didn't seem to matter whether I used my VPN or not by the way, so I have mostly found the savings to be both random and fleeting-literally day to day.....
jpie is online now  
Apr 21st, 2019, 07:53 PM
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
>>I don't know, but I suspect most legitimate businesses don't maintain two sets of prices based on what country your computer address is in<<

When I go into a retail website say in the UK or France (not talking airlines or chain hotels) - most of the time it kicks me over to a US site with prices in $ and I have to override it to actually use the UK site/get prices in or . Very often the prices ARE significantly different.

Not exactly the same thing as two sets of prices -- but most often just using an 'un-advantageous' exchange rate. IME most sites DO know where one's computer is sitting and prices can definitely be affected.
Might the price differential be due to Dynamic Conversion?
Michael is offline  
Apr 21st, 2019, 11:14 PM
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by WillTravel View Post
At least one Argentinian airline offers cheaper rates to locals, and you do have to do something to trick it (I didn't try this). I have not experimented enough otherwise to know if this is true very often.
Rates for locals is fairly common, eg Spanish residents fares, you might be able to "trick" the system and book them but you'd be unlikely to be accepted for travel if you don't possess the right credentials. Hotel rates for locals is also fairly common eg in South Africa, Greece, Cyprus, Russia and many more countries. If you book it, the rate would be unlikely to be honoured when you are unable to prove you are a local i.e. when you check-in and are unable to provide the necessary proof.

Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Might the price differential be due to Dynamic Conversion?
When I try to go to a US retail website, it mostly lands on the UK site (if I am in the UK) with significantly higher prices in , if I am able to switch to the US site, the prices are significantly lower for the particular items I am looking for, so I normally ask my daughter in NY to buy the items for me and she/someone will bring them over to Europe for me. It's not just a currency exchange difference, dynamic or otherwise, the price difference is signficant otherwise I wouldn't bother trying to save a couple of $$.





Odin is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2019, 07:16 AM
  #10  
 
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You need also change the location options in browser, and fake gps location. Also you need to change the language in your browser and in extreme cases, in your entiry device!
mallorcatransfers is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2019, 08:21 AM
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Rates for locals is fairly common, eg Spanish residents fares, you might be able to "trick" the system and book them but you'd be unlikely to be accepted for travel if you don't possess the right credentials. Hotel rates for locals is also fairly common eg in South Africa, Greece, Cyprus, Russia and many more countries. If you book it, the rate would be unlikely to be honoured when you are unable to prove you are a local i.e. when you check-in and are unable to provide the necessary proof.


When I try to go to a US retail website, it mostly lands on the UK site (if I am in the UK) with significantly higher prices in , if I am able to switch to the US site, the prices are significantly lower for the particular items I am looking for, so I normally ask my daughter in NY to buy the items for me and she/someone will bring them over to Europe for me. It's not just a currency exchange difference, dynamic or otherwise, the price difference is signficant otherwise I wouldn't bother trying to save a couple of $$.
Not the same thing. If I read it correctly, Janis was purchasing an item in the UK with a credit card and the system gave a price in US dollars; it was not a case of having an item cost less in the U.S. than in the U.K.
Michael is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 07:25 AM
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
I don't think that is accurate myself. Maybe there is some website like that, I don't know, but I suspect most legitimate businesses don't maintain two sets of prices based on what country your computer address is in. I know for a fact that I often compare prices in euro using the local website version versus USD using the site by saying I'm in the US, and the prices are identical, except one is in euro and one USD of course. But they are equal by the bank rate. FOr example, on Air France, you can select your home country from a list. What really matters is the itinerary more, not where you are located. If you do a RT starting in the US, the price is the same.

Some websites are geared to tourists to begin with, so that doesn't really make sense, anyone buying tickets to certain touristy things is a tourist, pretty much. Such as day tours in a city.

As for hotels, I would ask you to name one hotel that does that if you can, changes the price based on the IP of your computer. I don't think that would even be that easy to do for hotels that simply have a set of rates posted on their website (some do, you know, they aren't dynamic).
I don't know the exact answer to the OP's question but speaking generally, most businesses will have different pricing for different country markets. You word it like it's unsavoury but it's just business as usual and there are many valid reasons for it.

I'm not an expert on the travel industry but it's long been ahead of other industries with 'dynamic pricing'. It's far beyond just 'two sets of prices' or even different prices for different markets. Pricing is far more sophisticated than that in many cases, and pricing algorithms can incorporate many different variables. Technology like machine learning is able to determine, with increasing accuracy, the 'best price' to quote you. 'Best price', of course, meaning the highest price that you're likely to buy at that moment.

I don't understand the point about some hotels listing their prices statically. Obviously there will be businesses that price more or less dynamically or not dynamic at all. There are very few technical challenges with dynamic pricing. If you have the data points, you can incorporate them into a pricing algorithm. The challenges are more around customer perceptions of the practice, any regulatory issues, and brand perception (e.g. bad press about Uber's 'surge' pricing, charges of discrimination, etc). There is always a risk of consumers making things go viral and bad press so businesses must tread carefully. Wholesaling rooms, flights, etc to third party distributors that use various forms of dynamic pricing (auction type systems, "last minute" systems, and selling rooms on sites like airbnb, etc) is one way that lets travel providers exploit this in a safer way but they've long been using this concept directly.

Get used to it, it will become more and more popular as businesses feel that consumers are 'ready' for more overt dynamic pricing.
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 07:35 AM
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Not the same thing. If I read it correctly, Janis was purchasing an item in the UK with a credit card and the system gave a price in US dollars; it was not a case of having an item cost less in the U.S. than in the U.K.
She can clarify but that's not how I read her post. She said that items do differ significantly in price. Why shouldn't they? Why would we expect that a bag of pretzels costs the same in the UK as it does in the US? Clearly there are lots more factors involved than just currency exchange rates!
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 08:14 AM
  #14  
 
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There are lots of reasons why an entrance price might cost less for a local. For example, our city's zoo is funded by tax dollars, not just admissions. Any special offers or free days are not really free--we paid for those with our taxes.

I used to live in southern California. The reality of living where lots of other people vacation is a unique experience. Disney did a California Salute once a year, where those who live there with local ID could visit Disneyland for substantially less money. I saw it as a thank you for all of the traffic and congestion that one puts up with.
5alive is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 10:50 AM
  #15  
 
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This could work the other way around... meaning not to your benefit.....
I can only speak of Greece, where certain Hotels ( like the Grecotel chain) have different rates for different nationalities.
Greek citizens usually get a worse - higher price compared to Germans or Dutch, because they mainly book their accommodation during the peak season
of August, when the hotels are fully booked anyway, while Northerners visit from April to October, and get therefore lower rates.
There are usually rates for the Greek, German and West European and Russian- East European market..... Eastern Europe gets lower prices as well.

The prices refer to your passport, so if you end up at a hotel with the price for the wrong market, they might adjust it on the spot according to your passport...
I am not sure up to what extend hotels give homogenized prices to booking engines, while Tour Operators get the lower prices according to their market.

How do i know all that ? I was working several years as a contract manager for major tour operators and online booking engines
clausar is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 11:38 AM
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by clausar View Post
This could work the other way around... meaning not to your benefit.....
I can only speak of Greece, where certain Hotels ( like the Grecotel chain) have different rates for different nationalities.
Greek citizens usually get a worse - higher price compared to Germans or Dutch, because they mainly book their accommodation during the peak season
of August, when the hotels are fully booked anyway, while Northerners visit from April to October, and get therefore lower rates.
There are usually rates for the Greek, German and West European and Russian- East European market..... Eastern Europe gets lower prices as well.

The prices refer to your passport, so if you end up at a hotel with the price for the wrong market, they might adjust it on the spot according to your passport...
I am not sure up to what extend hotels give homogenized prices to booking engines, while Tour Operators get the lower prices according to their market.

How do i know all that ? I was working several years as a contract manager for major tour operators and online booking engines
I'm sorry but I don't follow your post. It seems to be mixing pricing based on time of year (with associated 'norms' for when people of different countries take vacations). But you use the word 'nationality' which is different from pricing by country/market (or by time of year). I first thought you were just using imprecise language (i.e. 'nationality' for country/market) but then you start talking about different rates by the passport you hold. It's all over the place.

Pricing based on the nationality of the customer (i.e. the passport the customer holds) is a dodgy and discriminatory practice that is very different from pricing by country/market, which is generally a well established and accepted business practice.
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 11:59 AM
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by jpie View Post
I used to benefit all the time 10 years or so when using the Hertz site from another country, but they have long caught up with that approach in my experience.

However, I was able to use the UK Norwegian airlines site last year to save around $300 on two tickets from the US to Gatwick. There are lots of blog posts out there suggesting to always use the Norwegian country site for Norwegian airlines to get cheaper rates but when I checked it was cheapest on the UK site. It didn't seem to matter whether I used my VPN or not by the way, so I have mostly found the savings to be both random and fleeting-literally day to day.....

This is great information, I had no idea and never thought twice about it. Looking at a flight from JFK to Gatwick in Oct and the Norwegian site is $40 cheaper than the US. The UK site is $6 more than the Norwegian. So there are no issues booking it through the Norwegian site if you are in the US?
lolfn is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 12:38 PM
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by walkinaround View Post
I'm sorry but I don't follow your post. It seems to be mixing pricing based on time of year (with associated 'norms' for when people of different countries take vacations). But you use the word 'nationality' which is different from pricing by country/market (or by time of year). I first thought you were just using imprecise language (i.e. 'nationality' for country/market) but then you start talking about different rates by the passport you hold. It's all over the place.

Pricing based on the nationality of the customer (i.e. the passport the customer holds) is a dodgy and discriminatory practice that is very different from pricing by country/market, which is generally a well established and accepted business practice.
I was only describing how rates of certain Greek Hotels are structured.
Greek nationals get the highest rates. The reason is that Greeks take their summer holidays mainly during August, when all hotels are full anyway.
Germans get the lowest rates because they book from April till October, and way in advance unlike Greeks.

Having different prices based on nationality is not unusual in Greece.
clausar is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by clausar View Post
I was only describing how rates of certain Greek Hotels are structured.
Greek nationals get the highest rates. The reason is that Greeks take their summer holidays mainly during August, when all hotels are full anyway.
Germans get the lowest rates because they book from April till October, and way in advance unlike Greeks.

Having different prices based on nationality is not unusual in Greece.
Sorry but your explanation continues to make no sense at all. I don't know the details of how Greek hotels are priced but your explanation continues to mix things up.
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2019, 03:06 PM
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by clausar View Post
I was only describing how rates of certain Greek Hotels are structured.
Greek nationals get the highest rates. The reason is that Greeks take their summer holidays mainly during August, when all hotels are full anyway.
Germans get the lowest rates because they book from April till October, and way in advance unlike Greeks.

Having different prices based on nationality is not unusual in Greece.
Your explanation has nothing to do with nationality and everything with timing and seasonal rates.
Michael is offline  

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