Without ever leaving my desk, I crossed the border while organising a trip to Mexico for this summer.
According to a recent study commissioned by the cybersecurity firm NordVPN, American tourists are charged much more for hotels and rental vehicles than tourists from other countries.
“There”s no need to overpay for a holiday abroad,” the company wrote in a blog post about the findings. “Using a VPN can help you save a lot of money, and getting started is simple.”
I utilised that method to arrange three fictitious vacations and put the concept to the test because I’m always drawn to deals that require the least amount of work. I discovered the following using two different VPN providers.
Can a VPN be used to locate travel deals?
When planning travel in the United States, NordVPN researchers discovered some significant price discrepancies when compared to utilising a VPN, or virtual private network, which masks your IP address and physical location.
According to the blog article, a family of four’s two-week stay at Zoetry Casa del Mar Los Cabos in Mexico cost $84,929 on Hotels.com when reservations were made from the United States, but only $27,514 when made using a VPN with a Mexican IP address.
Another example is the cost of renting a Peugeot 5008 from Budget through Expedia at London’s Gatwick Airport for just over a week in the United States, which is $2,157.32, as opposed to $1,166.33 when using a VPN with the United Kingdom selected as the destination.
However, not all of the searches turned up deals. The company stated in a news release that there were instances during the investigation where pricing given to consumers in several nations were comparable.
I used NordVPN to search for deals, but I often came up empty-handed. The majority of pricing for hotel and rental car reservations in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Italy were nearly equal to those in the United States, regardless of my fictitious nation of origin.
For instance, a June weekend stay at the Fairfield Inn Los Cabos cost $334 via Hotels.com in the United States and only a few pennies more with my location set to Mexico, while renting a Chevrolet Aveo or comparable vehicle from Hertz in Mexico City cost approximately $49.50 per day in both circumstances.
The Westin London City cost me $948 in the United States and $949.50 when my location was adjusted to the United Kingdom, so my luck didn’t improve when I crossed the pond. When I priced out a Budget rental car at London’s Heathrow Airport, the difference between the prices in the U.S. and the UK was $278.82 in the former case and $364.65 in the latter.
On one occasion, I was able to book a Fiat Panda 1.2—or a comparable-sized vehicle—for pickup from Sicily by car at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome using Expedia. When I changed my location to Italy, the price was $101.98, but the U.S. pricing was $146.
Can a VPN help you find cheaper flights?
Despite the fact that flights were not included in NordVPN’s analysis, I nonetheless checked the cost of travel from New York to each nation.
Most of the time, the cheapest airfares were about the same, but I discovered a small price difference on round-trip flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Mexico City, which would have cost me $602 if I had booked in the United States, but the same itinerary was about $586 with the VPN set to Mexico (the same was true for both NordVPN and ExpressVPN).
Does booking a trip with a VPN work?
It varies. According to Robert Cole, Senior Research Analyst for Lodging and Leisure Travel at Phocuswright, alternative rate structures can be used for various distribution channels and geographical locations.
For instance, a hotel might provide a discounted rate to a third-party booking website but ask that the website only display that cost in one location.
That’s terrific, but don’t sell that in the United States, they say, Cole recalled. “We are a resort in Miami Beach, Cancun, or the Dominican Republic, and we want German business,” etc.