Research reveals how users that hide their IP address can save hundreds of pounds with a wide range of travel retailers
NordVPN reveals savings for UK travel bookers using overseas websites
A cybersecurity specialist has revealed how much more UK websites are charging its customers after commissioning travel pricing research using a VPN.
NordVPN looked at sites specialising in a range of travel sectors including car hire, hotels, cruise and ferries and theme parks.
It claims to have found consumers are frequently being presented with “wildly different” prices depending on where they log on.
Using the New Zealand website for Avis car hire resulted in a 49.4% saving for a 14-night visit, the biggest discount identified in the study, NordVPN reported.
Researchers used the firm’s Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that disguises a users’ IP address, to make it look to websites like they were not in the UK.
They discovered savings worth £1,156 (17.6%) at Disneyland Paris, £454 (28.4%) at MSC Cruises and £293 (15.7%) on hotel stays at Booking.com.
The research also identified significantly lower prices on websites operated by Tui, Center Parcs, Hertz, Sixt and Hotels.com.
The research was commissioned by NordVPN and conducted by an external company between August 24 and September 6.
Simultaneous searches were made for identical products being sold by the same vendor using numerous country servers.
NordVPN said there were cases when prices offered to consumers in different countries were similar.
Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer at NordVPN, said: “Never assume you’re seeing the same price as everyone else.
“UK consumers have always known it’s wise to shop around but the age of the internet means you now need to shop around with the same provider.
“Companies use all kinds of complex algorithms to cater to the purchasing power of different countries.
“They will routinely show different prices on different website domains, and it can even differ depending on where you’re visiting from.
“Anything a website knows about you can be used against you. The factors most likely to influence the price you see are your location, your repeat visits to the website being tracked by cookies and whether your search coincides with a school holiday at home.
“We’ve demonstrated how you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds a trip by using a VPN to access the websites seen by customers overseas.
“You don’t have to be a computer scientist to bag these savings. VPNs are so easy to use, anyone can do it.”
What the NordVPN research found:
Using the New Zealand website of Avis researchers were offered a 49.4% saving on a two-week hire of Toyota Camry at Auckland Airport this April, bringing the price down £1,226 to £1,258.
Hertz quoted a price that was 44% lower for a Toyota Agya in Cape Town via the South African website for June 2023, charging £529, a saving of £416.
A 7-night Mediterranean cruise with MSC Cruises in June next year was 28.4% cheaper for an interior cabin through the Italian website than the UK site — £454 off at £1,144. A 10-night Caribbean cruise in July next year was £573 (17.2%) cheaper at £2,765.
Visiting Booking.com from Spain secured a 15.7% saving on a 7-night stay at the Carnival Palace Hotel in Venice in February — £293 off to £1,576.
Tui’s German website offered the researcher a £339 (10.8%) saving off a 14-night stay at Hotel Riu Palace, Tenerife, next June, priced at £2,807.
Hotels.com’s Italian site provided a 10.5% (£128) lower price on a 7-night stay at San Firenze Suites & Spa, Florence, in March, bringing the price down to £1,089.
The French website for Disneyland Paris offered a 7-night stay in December at the Disneyland Hotel New York for £5,406 for a family of four, a saving of 17.6% (£1,156).
The website for Center Parcs in Germany delivered a 9.1% saving on a 7-night stay for 8 people at Park Hochsauerland in October. It was down from £2,064 to £1,876 due to a sale event.
A Channel crossing for a family of four in October, travelling from Portsmouth to St Malo, was 10% cheaper through the French website of Brittany Ferries at £430 (£48 off).