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Travel booking engines can sometimes charge more based on your previous browsing history. If they know you’ve run multiple searches for the same flight over the past few weeks, you may notice your airfare suddenly going up. Which is why it’s often wise to use your browser’s private or “incognito” mode to hide your browsing history.
But you’re probably unaware that booking engines can sometimes charge travelers different prices based on the location they’re booking their trip from. So, for example, a traveler in Australia and a traveler in Germany may be charged different airfares when booking the exact same ticket.
To exploit this “glitch” (we’ll assume that’s what it is), a savvy traveler need only cloak their current destination. This is where a VPN comes in as it allows you to launch the software and select which server you’d like to pass all of your browsing traffic through.
Hotspot Shield (available for PC/Mac, iOS and Android) for example provides a simple dropdown box where users can select from a handful of countries (Japan, Australia, US, etc.) they’d like to “pretend” they’re surfing from. Switching between cloaked destinations takes less than five seconds.
This video elaborates:
Gizmodo reveals the process in more detail, breaking down how they were able to save approximately $100 (USD) by simply using VPN software to route their web traffic through Canada, instead of the United States.
There’s no guarantees here and it may take a bit of trial and error. But it’s one of the many reasons why every smart traveler should be using a solid VPN setup — both before and while they travel.