Although traveling is an activity loved by many, it has its drawbacks. One of the most important issues is the cost. Plane tickets, for instance, could easily set you back hundreds or even thousands of dollars, especially if you don’t plan your trip ahead and buy them for peak season.
Tickets aren’t the only culprit; renting a car abroad or booking a hotel room can further rack up the bill, possibly discouraging people from planning a trip in the first place.
Although there’s no magic incantation to wave these prices away, a few clever tricks can help ensure you’re getting the best deal available.
- Use a VPN to check prices from other countries
It’s no secret that plane tickets are priced rather … dynamically. The price of the same ticket you were about to buy one minute ago could spike up by 100% or more in the next minute, for no apparent reason.
These prices appear to rise with expressions of interest, so if many people try to board the same plane, prices go up. Time also seems to be a key factor in this equation — the more you wait to buy a plane ticket, the more expensive it gets.
Tracking prospective customers and setting prices according to the search behaviors of each one sounds a bit Orwellian, and while it’s not completely absurd considering current technological advancements, not all companies do it.
A sturdy VPN such as Bitdefender VPN can not only protect you against being tracked and profiled by airline websites, but it also lets you explore flight fares from around the world.
Simply connect to a VPN server and repeat the plane ticket search. Chances are you’ll get a different price for the same flight. If the price stays the same or even rises, consider connecting to a different VPN server (it’s best if you choose a different country as well) and try again.
There is no magic formula or magic VPN server that automatically drops the price for all plane tickets. The server that got you cheaper plane tickets last time could now display higher prices than the average, so keep trying until you find the right combination.
Many companies use tracking technology to collect bits of data on their visitors and tailor their experience on their websites. While providing you with a personalized experience doesn’t sound so bad on paper, harvested data may also be used to take advantage of you.
One of the most popular forms of tracking is via cookies, so disabling them (or at least clearing them after each session) is an important step if you’re not comfortable with companies tracking your online whereabouts. For instance, many retailers monitor the number of visits in the past few days from one device to assess how badly you need a product and drive ticket prices up. Clearing cookies and getting a new IP could get you a better price.
To save you some time, while shopping for plane tickets, use your browser’s Incognito mode to get rid of cookies automatically. It’s not perfect and some tracking modules may still slip through, but it helps.
Modern VPN solutions such as Bitdefender VPN encompass ad blockers and anti-tracking modules, so you’ll have better odds of finding cheap airplane tickets, without fear of being tracked.
Be flexible on flight dates and times
We’ve mentioned that demand is often the main cause of a jump in plane ticket prices, so it makes sense that a popular flight will be more expensive than a less sought-after one. However, the price, in this case, is driven up organically, and not because of technical stage games.
In other words, if crowds of people are looking to board the same airplane as you, chances are you won’t be able to find cheaper tickets, even if you clear cookies, use Incognito and connect to a VPN server.
In this case, consider being a bit more flexible about the date and time of your flight. If you aren’t particularly committed to the destination, you may also want to check if you can find a better deal to a similar location.
Patience pays off when you’re looking for a bargain
Although spoofing your location with a VPN can sometimes bring you a better deal on plane tickets, patience yields the best results. If you don’t immediately find a lower price, regardless of the method you used, you may want to try a different approach, such as changing the VPN location, using a different device, or connecting to a different network.
The methods described in this article can also help you find cheaper hotel room bookings and car rentals. The same principles apply; dodging online tracking may get you lower prices, but success is not guaranteed every time, so patience is paramount if you’re seeking the best deals.