Claudia Krusch loves going to Brazil and likes it even more when she scores a great airfare deal. She recently saved several hundred dollars on a flight, simply by changing her IP address to one from another country.
“I was actually super surprised -- really, really surprised -- when I looked at how different the rates were, and I was getting options in Brazilian airlines with brand new planes that I wasn't getting with my regular Google browser,” she explained.
All she had to do was trick her computer into thinking she was in another country while using the internet.
“If I booked the flight without changing my browser, I would actually pay at least two times more than what I paid," Krusch said.
This trick is pretty simple to do if you use a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. VPN programs can be easily downloaded. Many offer free services, and some are a couple dollars a month.
“When you connect to a VPN server, you are able to mask your IP address and location. It does this by routing you through a server using the VPN provider. They have servers located all over the world,” said Drew Page, of Siege Media.
Page said you can actually choose the location you want to connect to. So, if you select a VPN in Portugal, your location will show up as Portugal. Then, when you open a search for flights, you’ll see rates you wouldn’t otherwise be offered.
“Airport codes are international. The amount of money is placed in numbers, so you have your answer right there without having to speak, for example, Portuguese,” Krusch said.
We found rates on flights to Brazil for $1,700 when logged in from the U.S. But after masking our location as Brazil, we found flights for around $700 on airlines that didn’t even appear in our search before.
And it doesn’t just work with travel.
Page explained, “You can save on software subscriptions, streaming services, monthly music software. So it’s not just travel, but you can save money on dynamic pricing across websites.”
Claudia says she plans to keep applying it to flights she makes in the future, saying, “I can definitely see using this to get better deals.”
Page recommends not using free services, since they often have the right to sell your data to third parties. He says it’s better to pay a couple dollars a month for privacy. And the bonus: The point of a VPN is to keep you secure online, so you’re not just saving money, you're also protecting yourself in the process by encrypting your information.