Thursday, June 20, 2024

Travel booking sites may charge you more depending on where you live

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Are you looking to travel this summer? When you book car rentals and hotels for international travel, you may be paying more because of where you live.

Gerald Kasulis with NordVPN says third-party travel websites and car and hotel websites could offer dynamic pricing.

“They sort of use that system to their advantage, and the consumer spending power in the U.S. is larger. Therefore, they get away with overcharging the US. consumers in regards to the European counterparts, for instance.”

Kasulis is talking about when travelers in the US use US travel booking websites compared to using a Virtual Private Network, also known as VPN.

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NordVPN is a cybersecurity company. It has studied the pricing differences based on location of purchase. The company’s research showed that US customers paid up to 70% more through US websites than travelers who used IP addresses outside of the US.

“We’ve done multiple different searches and in some instances, we saw even a car rental in the UK, came up to be about $500 cheaper. So almost half of the price of what it would have been if you were to book with a local IP address,” Kasulis said.

Here is how to see if you can try and save money.

First, get the baseline price for the international travel you want to book. Then clear your browsing history and cookies. Next turn on a VPN, which disguises your IP address, and choose the location you’re looking to book. Put in your same dates for the car rental or hotel, and compare the price you are offered using a VPN versus your US IP address.

NordVPN said when searching for a hotel in Paris, the company found a savings of $976 on a seven-night stay using a French website as opposed to showing the IP address in the US and using a US website.

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A summer travel warning if you’re looking for cheap airfare online, be careful what you click on as it could end up costing you.

“Our advice is always before blindly booking something. Try to check utilizing a VPN to see if you could save some money,” Kasulis said.

Troubleshooter Diane Wilson put it to the test and searched for a car rental in Iceland for the day using a US website and also did the same search with a VPN with her location showing Iceland. The test would have saved her about $70 using the VPN.

Wilson also tried it for a hotel in Paris but did not find any savings.

No matter if your trip is international or within the US, it’s always wise to clear your browsing history and cookies, as websites do track your history and that can impact the price you pay on travel.

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