Recent studies have shown that Americans still aren’t taking many of their vacation days, a trend that isn’t doing our mental health or our lifespans any favors. As much as people may want to travel, they are inhibited not only by time but also by money. Just as airplane bathrooms continue to shrink, ticket prices continue to rise. The cost of jet fuel has gone up by 50 percent in the last year, and airlines are already warning passengers to expect higher fares as a result.
Luckily, there’s a relatively easy hack that’s totally legal that can allow you to purchase airplane tickets at significantly lower cost. Since airlines often change the price of a ticket based on location, you can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to change your IP address to that of your destination. So if, for example, you are looking for flight from New York to Bucharest, you can change your IP address so that a flight search engine registers you as being in Romania, where flight prices are likely to be cheaper than in the U.S.
In order to do this effectively, you should also use an incognito browser window, so that the cookies don’t identify you as a repeat visitor, as well as avoid sites that you have used in the past (i.e. this method did not work for me on cheaptickets.com, where I have an account and history of activity). It’s also worth remembering that some countries are legally required to display airline fares with taxes, while others are not. And you don’t necessarily have to choose your destination country. Several forums have testimonies from users who claim they managed to save money on tickets by changing their VPN to that of a low-income country like India or Mexico.
According to Brandon Blinderman, a Systems Engineer for the content delivery network Akamai Technologies, you should also invest in a paid subscriptions such as tunnelbear (which costs $50 a year), as opposed to opting for one of the many providers that offer a limited amount data for free.
“They’re free for a reason,” he told me. “There’s an old saying that goes, ‘If you’re not paying, you’re not the customer.’”
For what it’s worth, a paid VPN can save you money on more than just tickets, as it prevents your internet service provider from hiking up prices for things you might be interested in based on your browsing history.
“It’s a simple privacy practice,” he said. “Even if your Internet Service Provider (or anyone in between, such a public wifi network) can’t see what you’re browsing if your site traffic is encrypted, they can still see what site you’re visiting in the first place. This can be used to build a profile of you, which in turn is used to target ads at you.”
For more travel hacks, check out why Saying These Two Words Will Get You an Instant Airline Upgrade.
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