Air flight tickets, car rentals, hotel bookings, online software – what do they all have in common? They offer different prices depending on your location.
It’s no secret that these industries have been creating very complex online models that would allow them to monetise as much as possible anywhere around the world. Noticed how I used the word “as much as possible”? Cause that’s exactly what the companies want – to make as much money as possible from you, the consumer. As you already know, in a world where everyone is demanding a “product or service” at every time possible from every supplier out there, chaos is ensured.
And don’t be foolish thinking companies that large won’t try to feed off the chaos. They understand perfectly that there’s way too much information out there for any normal consumer to fully get on top of. So what do they do? A well used technology called “price steering” is usually used to guide some of their web visitors toward higher plane ticket prices.
Have you ever tried shopping on sites like Expedia, SkyScanner, or Kayak and noticed the prices to be different today than it was yesterday? That’s because sites like these use something called a cookie or cache to store any information it can on anyone visiting their site. Basically, the first time you enter their site a cookie is automatically generated for you. The cookie tracks every interaction you make with the site, so as you browse along for those deals, the cookie logs it all! Even if you closed your session and gone off to do other things, that cookie still exist and will resume logging when you enter the site again at a different time.
With all that information on what you need and how much you need it, these companies can then begin to customise your next days experience automatically. By experience, I mean experiencing higher prices!
On top of having cookies track your every behaviour for session-based pricing, there’s a bigger evil here. Prices are also different if you’re browsing them from different countries.
We put our own My Private Network VPN in action and found that prices differed by up to a ratio of:
● 9.2% on flights using Kayak.com ● 32.6% on car rentals using RentalCars.com ● 16.6% on hotel bookings using Trivago.com ● 27% on Adobe software using Adobe.com ● 30% on Microsoft Office software using Products.Office.com
Important Technique: When you’re attempting to browse for cheaper prices using a VPN, ensure that you always clear your browser’s cache/cookies before attempting another browsing session with a new IP address. For example, connect to a Malaysian VPN and browse for cheaper things on sites like Kayak.com. When you’re ready to check out prices from a different country (i.e. Australia):
1) Close your browsing session. 2) Clear your browser’s cache and cookies. 3) Restart your browser. 4) Connect the VPN to another country (i.e. Australia). 5) Only then, start a new search on your browser.
Alternatively, you could use your browser’s incognito window instead but I would personally recommend that you do both of these to ensure that no cookies are left lingering on your computer throughout the process. Here are quick hotkeys you can use to access incognito mode on your desktop browser:
Did you know that you could get cheaper flight prices online even though it’s the exact same flight?
Case Study (Flights): Using Kayak.com, we tested to see if prices were different for a one-way Malaysian Airlines flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport for the 19th of March 2018. The flight starts at 1000 with a layover in Kuala Lumpur and lands at 2025 in Sydney.
We tested the countries of Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Sweden and the UK – here are our results below.
VPN Connected: Mexico Price: M$10,741 (£455.73) – Most Expensive
VPN Connected: Indonesia Price: Rp8,00,887 (£455.21)
VPN Connected: Australia Price: A$739 (£446.13)
VPN Connected: Malaysia Price: RM2,437 (£436.56)
VPN Connected: Sweden Price: kr4,568 (£431.19)
VPN Connected: UK Price: £413 – Cheapest
It appears that this particular flight would be better bought with a UK IP address. At only £413, you’ll be saving £42.73 compared to if you bought the exact same flight with a Mexico IP address. Of course, this is just one scenario. We’ve also found that the prices aren’t always cheaper if you bought it from the origin country. Often fares are cheaper in countries with lower living standards, so pretending you’re booking from, say, India, instead of Australia, can make all the difference.
Having said that, there are more hacks that you could try to game the system which we didn’t have time to cover here. Our friends at Geeky Explorer has a great article with more information and hacks on how to find cheap flights to anywhere in the world, so do check them out.
Cheaper Car Rentals: Case Study
Did you know that car rental prices are cheaper if you’re searching it from another country?
Case Study (Car Rentals): Using RentalCars.com, we tested to see if prices were different for a small rented car at London’s Heathrow Airport for the 19th to 26th of March 2018 (7 days use) with the same drop off location.
We tested the countries of Malaysia, UK, Sweden, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, and India – here are our results.
VPN Connected: Malaysia Price: RM804.76 (£144.16) – Most Expensive
VPN Connected: UK Price: £133.61
VPN Connected: Sweden Price: kr1,362 (£128.56)
VPN Connected: Australia Price: A$187.79 (£113.37)
VPN Connected: Mexico Price: M$2,344.12 (£99.46)
VPN Connected: Brazil Price: R$410.75 (£98.76)
VPN Connected: Indonesia Price: Rp1,732,039.90 (£98.54)
VPN Connected: India Price: ₹8,274.91 (£97.16) – Cheapest
Just like with flights, it’s also cheaper to rent cars from another country. In this scenario, it looks like India has the cheapest rates! You’ll be saving £47 compared to if you bought it from Malaysia or £36.45 in savings if bought from the UK.
Did you know that hotel bookings are also cheaper if browsing from another country?
Case Study (Hotel Bookings): Using Trivago.com, we chose The Leonard Hotel located in central London for the 19th of March 2018. With only a one night stay in a twin room, we’ve already managed to save almost £30!
VPN Connected: UK Price: £179 – Most Expensive
VPN Connected: Canada Price: C$241 (£149.53)
VPN Connected: USA Price: $198 (£149.24) – Cheapest
Cheaper online software (Adobe & Microsoft): Case Studies
So we’ve been talking a lot about pretty big items above with airline flights, car rentals and hotel bookings. But did you know that you could also be saving money when buying software online?
Albeit, this doesn’t work for all software available online. But for well known ones such as those from Adobe or Microsoft, they appear to have slight price variations in different countries. We tested the countries of Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, UK, and USA – check out their case studies below and learn how you could be saving money buying them.
Case Study (Adobe Photography Package): By browsing the Adobe CC software from different countries, we’ve tested the prices of Adobe’s Photography CC suite which comes with Lightroom and Photoshop at their annual prepaid pricing.
Case Study (Microsoft Office 365): By browsing the Microsoft Office software from different countries, we’ve tested the prices of Microsoft’s Office 365 Personal suite at their annual prepaid pricing.
VPN Connected: UK Price: £59.99 – Most Expensive
VPN Connected: India Price: ₹3,629 (£42.22) – Cheapest
Bonus: Access Session-Restricted Free Content
Just a little extra tip if you’re the type of person that consistently use free tools online. I’m sure you’ve been told before that you’ve spent too much time using their service after a certain number of tries. You might even get bounced to a page that looks something like this:
By connecting to any of our VPN servers, you’ll be given a new IP address which essentially tricks the site to identify you as a new session user, effectively giving you a fresh new session with the site. This means that you’ll be able to use the free tool over and over again until you’re satisfied!
So there you have it folks, these are some of the awesome things you could try when using our VPN. There’s still a vast amount of testing that we could do on other sites and with other countries, so please feel free to comment or write to us if you have any suggestions!
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