We’ve all been there.
We’ve all searched for airline prices for a big holiday. We find a price we like, and then we go and tell our friends. However, when we go back to try booking the flight, we’re aghast to find the price has gone up.
The same goes for other services. Spotify costs a nice, round £9.99 in the UK. However, it also costs a nice, round $9.99 in the US, as well as €9,99 in the EU. After conversion, both of those prices work out cheaper than the £9.99 you’d normally pay in the UK.
One way to get the better of location-based price hikes is to use a virtual private network, or VPN. We have plenty of information on the best VPN services to use such as our SecureLine review, but for now, we’re going to show you the best ways to save money with a VPN.
Why do websites hike their prices?
Airline companies have to cover their own costs, but beyond that, they operate on a mark-up system whenever they can get away with it. If you live in London and are trying to book a flight from, say, Heathrow to Sydney, then the airline company will recognise that and hike the price of that particular flight.
After all, Heathrow is a nearby, convenient airport, so flying from there is desirable to you. The company can get away with charging more for it because you’ll be happy to pay it.
Now, if you live in Germany and are idly wondering how much it costs to fly from Heathrow to Sydney, you’d see that the airline company doesn’t hike their prices at all. After all, that flight isn’t as desirable to you as for someone who lives in London, so why bother charging more?
How do they do it?
Ecommerce companies base their prices for individual customers based on their location. They usually get this from your IP address, stored cookies, and location information.
Cookies can easily be cleared, and you can use incognito mode to prevent more from being stored. Location information can easily be switched off too. But how can you disguise your IP address?
Use a VPN to save money
With a VPN, you can connect to the internet using remove servers. Because each server has its own IP address, connecting to a completely different server gives you a completely different IP address.
The next step is to clear your cookies, disable any browser GPS services, and select a server in a completely unrelated location. (For Heathrow to Sydney, try a server in Brazil.) For the best results, try a server from a country with lowest average salaries or server costs, because ecommerce website and airline companies will lower their prices in those regions.
VPN services such as SecureLine allow users to switch between servers easily. This means you can browse Google Flights, which displays a price comparison between companies, from different servers to discover which one would provide you with the best prices.
Do your research
As we mentioned, you can often get products cheaper in places with lower average salaries or server costs. A subscription to Spotify in the UK costs £9.99, but in India, the same subscription costs 119 Rs.
At present, the Indian rupee is worth 0.011 Pound sterling, which means a Spotify subscription purchased in India is worth £1.35, thus saving you almost 90% of the price of a subscription purchase in Britain.
The same goes for Netflix. In the UK, the price of a subscription recently rose to £11.99 per month. In India, the price is 199 Rs, which is £2.80, once again saving around 75%.
These opportunities are easy to pick up on. All around the world, fixed prices often end in 9s (119 Rs; £9.99; 199 Rs; £11.99). When you see these, it’s worth switching to a different server – and as we’ve learned, the Indian ones are best – in order to see what the comparison is like.
Not every VPN has the best servers for saving money online. Most VPN services do, however, provide information on their server locations on their websites. It’s always worth having a browse around the best services for your needs before taking the plunge.
It’s also worth noting that services such as Netflix aren’t very friendly towards VPN services. This is partially because of the pricing discrepancies, but also because Netflix holds different licences in different countries. Some VPN services can successfully circumvent Netflix’s VPN detectors, but not all, so it’s important to make sure your chosen VPN service can do so.
As with anything, it’s important to see which VPN service is best for your price-hopping needs. Take a look at some reviews – we have loads of them here.