Savvy travelers constantly search for innovative ways to secure cheap flights. One such method, though unconventional, involves using Virtual Private Networks or VPNs. Delving into this tactic, you'll be surprised how you can get cheap flights with a VPN.
Picture this: You're browsing flights from New York to Paris. Disheartened by the steep prices, you connect your VPN and change your virtual location to Bangkok. Would you be shocked to see prices are significantly lower price?
Join us as we unravel the mystery behind this phenomenon and guide you on how to save big on your next travel adventure.
Understanding What Affects Flight Ticket Prices
The most essential part of understanding how airlines price their flight tickets is the term “dynamic pricing.” Airlines use this strategy to adjust ticket prices quickly based on several factors.
This means the flight you're eyeing now might not retain the same price tag tomorrow—or even a few hours later. Here are two significant factors that affect the price of your flight ticket;
Cookies and Browser History: The Digital Footprints
Every time you search for a flight, airlines take note. How? Through the cookies and browser history on your device. If you've been incessantly looking up flights from Miami to Rome, airlines interpret this behavior as a keen interest.
In dynamic pricing, heightened interest can often translate to increased prices.
Geographical Pricing: The Location Game
Your physical location can be pivotal in the price you're quoted for a flight. Airlines frequently adjust prices based on a region's perceived economic status.
So, if you're browsing from a high-income city like San Francisco, you're likely to see a steeper price compared to someone checking the same flight from a location with a lower average income.
How a VPN Helps You Get Cheap Flights
While dynamic pricing strategies leverage the digital tools at airlines' disposal, they also present an opportunity for travelers. The technology that allows airlines to adjust prices provides savvy travelers with means to outsmart the system potentially.
Enter the world of VPNs, a tool that can be a game-changer in securing affordable flights.
What is a VPN and Why Does it Matter?
A VPN is a digital tool designed to enhance online privacy and security. At its heart, a VPN creates a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. That helps ensure your data remains encrypted and protected from prying eyes.
However, VPNs are merely tools that have several features. What we're interested in for this case is geo-location spoofing. That's the ability to hide your location and make it appear like you're somewhere else.
For instance, you could be sipping coffee in a café in Toronto, but with a VPN, the ticketing system might believe you're lounging on a beach in Bali.
Location-based Pricing Differences Can Be Significant
Let's delve into an example to illustrate this point. Imagine searching for a flight from Berlin to Sydney. Without a VPN, the price might hover around $1,200 when searched from Germany.
But, when using a VPN connected to a server in India, the same flight might be listed at $1,050. Such disparities, while not guaranteed, are not uncommon.
If you'd like to learn more about VPNs, read our Complete VPN Guide for Beginners.
How to Use a VPN to Get Cheap Flights
Using a VPN, you're throwing a spanner in airline flight pricing algorithms. For those worried about using unfamiliar tools, relax; we'll walk you through the process step-by-step. You'll find that it's as simple as using most modern-day applications.
Step 1: Choose a Reliable VPN
Just as a digital business emphasizes the importance of reliable web hosting, choosing a reputable VPN service is paramount.
Opt for a VPN known for its stability, speed, and robust security measures. Brands like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark often top the charts in reviews and user feedback.
Step 2: Connecting to a VPN Server
Once you've chosen a VPN, sign up for a plan, then download the application. Installing it will be the same as installing any other software on your device. A good VPN will offer apps for several platforms, such as Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, or Linux.
Launch the app and then connect to a server in a different country. You should look at countries with a lower cost of living compared to where you live.
For instance, countries in Southeast Asia or parts of Eastern Europe might offer better deals than Western Europe or North America.
Step 3: Clean Your Cookies
Before you head to a ticketing site like Expedia, you must ensure your device is “clean” so the site doesn't recognize you. To do this, clear your browser cache and cookies. That will give you a clean slate to work with.
Once that's done, launch your web browser and use incognito or private mode. This double-ensures that your past searches and visits don't influence the flight prices you'll see. That helps give you a neutral platform for comparison.
Step 4: Check Several Flight Ticketing Sites
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Start your search on multiple platforms—from major flight aggregators like Skyscanner or Kayak to individual airline websites. This diverse approach will provide a broader perspective on the range of prices available.
Step 5: Sealing the Deal
Once you've scoured the internet and found the most attractive deal, book the flight. But remember, always double-check the final price at checkout, ensuring that taxes, fees, and currency conversion rates haven't added unexpected costs.
Mistakes to Avoid When Hunting for Cheap Flight Tickets
The problem with digital methods of finding cheap tickets is that you may make mistakes that lead to poor deals. To avoid this, try to ensure you're aware of common pitfalls.
Unstable VPN Connections
Relying on a VPN means trusting it to remain stable throughout your booking process. A sudden disconnection could not only disrupt your search but potentially reset the prices you've found.
Always opt for a reliable VPN service with a proven track record of stability. Before the actual booking, test the VPN connection for a few minutes to ensure it remains consistent.
Currency Conversion Confusion
While scouting for deals, you might stumble upon prices in foreign currencies. Though it might seem cheaper initially, conversion rates and fees can sometimes offset your savings.
Use online currency converters to get an accurate picture of the final amount in your native currency. Additionally, be aware of any foreign transaction fees your bank might charge.
The Risk of Voided Tickets
In rare cases, airlines might not honor tickets purchased using a VPN due to discrepancies in regional pricing.
Read the airline's terms and conditions before purchasing. If you're unsure, consider contacting their customer service for clarity. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Overlooking the Best Deals
Just because you're using a VPN doesn't guarantee the cheapest deal from the get-go. Relying solely on a single virtual location might make you miss out on better prices elsewhere.
Experiment with multiple server locations. For instance, if you initially connect to a server in Brazil, also try one in Thailand or South Africa to ensure you're getting the broadest range of prices.
Complications with Frequent Flyer Programs
Using a VPN might complicate the accumulation or redemption of frequent flyer miles, especially if there are regional restrictions.
If you're a member of a frequent flyer program, check the program's terms regarding bookings from different regions. In some cases, it might be more beneficial to book without a VPN to maximize your mile earnings.
Best VPNs for Booking Cheap Flights
Not all VPNs are created equal. Like choosing a robust web hosting service for a digital business, selecting a reliable VPN is paramount for securing optimal flight deals. Here are our top recommendations for frequent flyers.
NordVPN: Best The All-Rounder
Widely recognized for its high-speed servers and top-notch security protocols, NordVPN is a favorite among many. Its vast server network across various countries makes it an excellent choice for scouting flight deals.
Beyond flight bookings, NordVPN’s no-logs policy ensures utmost privacy, making it an excellent choice for users with broader online security concerns.
CyberGhost: The User-Friendly Choice
With its intuitive design, CyberGhost is particularly suited for those new to the world of VPNs. Its expansive server list ensures a wide range of virtual locations for flight searches.
CyberGhost offers one of the largest server farms in the industry. That means you can access a broader range of locations, increasing your chances of getting the best flight deals.
Surfshark: Budget-Friendly without Compromise
For those looking for a more wallet-friendly option without skimping on quality, Surfshark is a commendable choice. It offers unlimited device connections, making it great for families or multiple-device users.
Despite its competitive pricing, Surfshark doesn't compromise on security features, offering robust encryption and a no-logs policy.
Final Thoughts: Embracing the Digital Age for Savvy Travel
As consumers, understanding the mechanics of dynamic pricing doesn't just empower us in air travel. It offers insights into the broader digital marketplace, from eCommerce to software subscriptions.
Tools like VPNs don't necessarily have to be used for the purpose they are marketed. In this case, a VPN is your gateway to enticing flight deals. An open mind helps you get the best value from your VPN subscription.