How to use a VPN to get cheaper flights Easy step by step guide

Learn how to use a VPN to get cheaper flights and save big on your next trip.

If you travel a lot, you know how important it is to find the best flight deals. Spending too much on flights means you have less money to spend on great meals, fun activities, and cool accommodations.

Have you considered using a VPN to save money on your next trip? A virtual private network (VPN) can help you get cheaper flights by hiding your location and making it look like you’re browsing from another country.

It’s honestly a lot easier than you might think to use a VPN on your flight tickets to save you money.

Why does using a VPN save money?

Airlines and travel booking websites use a pricing model called dynamic pricing. This means that prices can change based on factors such as your IP address, purchase history, browsing habits, zip code, supply and demand, and even which Wi-Fi you’re connected to, among other factors.

Using a VPN to change your IP address to a different location means that websites may show different prices based on that location. This means that if you use a VPN to change your location, you may get a cheaper price if there is lower demand for flights in the new location.

The bonus is that you can also use a VPN to get lower prices on hotels and even car rentals with the same idea.

Does a change of IP address affect the price of air tickets?

Important. This is definitely not a guaranteed way to save money on flights. It really depends a lot on the pricing model the site uses for flights and whether or not the prices vary by location.

While this isn’t a 100% guaranteed travel hack, we’ve had great success in the past booking flights to various countries at prices that were much lower than what we’d seen in Canada.

For example, when we were in Mexico, we found cheap one-way flights from Cancun, Mexico to Madrid, Spain for $160 USD. Canada for only $288 including taxes and fees. That’s a lot cheaper than what we found when we were physically in Canada.

Kids on the beach in Chokmal, Cancun
On the beach in Cancun

There are many other reasons to use a VPN when you travel too, including:

  • streaming Netflix shows from your home country or local sites only
  • protecting your privacy along the way
  • personal information theft prevention
  • access social media sites that may be blocked in the country you are visiting

Can’t I use incognito mode instead of VPN?

Your browser’s incognito mode is great for hiding your browsing history from other people on the device you’re using and tracking cookies less. However, incognito mode doesn’t change your IP address (the Internet address of your devices that many websites can track and get a rough approximation of your real address), while a VPN will change your IP and help you stay anonymous.

Because your location is tied to your IP, incognito mode means your location will still be shown to flight websites.

Is it possible to save money on flights just by changing the language?

We sometimes see stories that changing the website language can save money on flights.

We’ve tried these language change hacks in the past with mixed results. It also means you have to book flights in a different language. If you are not fluent in that language, even with Google translate, you run the risk of not fully understanding the terms and conditions.

Ride to Seville Airport
Ola, Seville. Ride to Seville Airport

How to Use a VPN to Get Cheaper Flights

Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to use a VPN to save money on your next flight in five easy steps.

Step 1: Choose a reliable VPN provider

The most important step, in my opinion, is to choose a reliable and secure VPN partner for using a VPN. They’re not all built the same, so it’s absolutely essential to choose a reputable, secure VPN.

A good VPN should offer IP addresses in many different countries, strong encryption, and a no-logs policy.

I use private internet access these days.

Private Internet Access (also known as PIA) is great for hiding your IP address and encrypting your Internet connection. All PIA applications are 100% open source, which means you and security experts can look under the hood to see how everything works.

PIA has over 30 million downloads and has been around for over 10 years. It offers thousands of next-generation servers in over 83 countries and every US state, and there’s unlimited bandwidth.

This is extremely important for safety, so I’m going to go over it in a few sentences here and explain what everything means along the way. Here it is. PIA has an independently audited (by Deloitte) no-logs policy.

A no-logs policy means that the VPN provider does not keep any records of what you do online. There are no records of the IP addresses you use, the data you transmit or the websites you visit, keeping your online activities completely safe and private.

If the VPN provider keeps the logs, it means that someone can access this information. Logs can be accessed by hackers, authorities, or simply advertisers. With a no-logs policy, there is simply no information for the VPN provider, even if they receive a request for user data, or if it is hacked. The no-logging policy helps protect your privacy and keep your sensitive information safe. And private internet access is a great choice for that.

It’s also important to note that Private Internet Access can protect up to 10 devices simultaneously with just one subscription. This means you can use it for yourself and the people you travel with.

And if you ever have any questions or want more tips and tricks, Personal Internet Access has a 24/7 Customer Support Service ready to meet your every need.

Step 2: Download and install the VPN software

Once you’ve chosen a reputable VPN provider, such as Private Internet Access (PIA), download and install the VPN software on your device.

Simply visit the VPN provider’s website, choose the plan that best suits your needs, and follow their instructions to download and install the VPN software.

VPN setup for smartphone and laptop internet access

It took me less than five minutes to download and install the PIA VPN software on my desktop. The process is intuitive and fast.

Step 3: Connect to a server in the desired country

The next step is the one that scares most people, but it’s honestly incredibly simple.

Using your VPN, connect to a server in the country you want to appear as if you’re browsing.

It is important. If you are logged into your internet browser, make sure you log out. If you’re signed in, Chrome, Bing, or other browsers determine your location based on your account information, ignoring the change you make using the VPN. Also, make sure you log out of airline or travel booking sites for the same reason.

For example, if you want to book a flight while appearing to be in Mexico, you’ll need a VPN to connect to a server in Mexico. This will make you look like you’re there, even if you’re actually in another country.

With private Internet access, it only takes one click to connect to the server. Then you’re ready to start browsing and find those sweet, sweet deals.

Which country is the cheapest to set your VPN location for the cheapest flight bookings?

There is no clear answer as to which is the cheapest country to book a flight. Prices can vary widely depending on both your departure date and destination.

That said, we have had success in these directions in the past.

  • Mexico
  • India
  • South American countries like Peru or Argentina

Other flight hackers often mention:

  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • India
  • Portugal
  • Thailand

So you might have to play around a bit by changing your location a few times to see which one is the cheapest flight for you.

A laptop under a thatched roof at Victoria House in Belize

Step 4: Start searching for flights

After connecting to the server in your desired country via VPN, start searching for your flights.

Try a travel booking website to get started, as this will give you multiple flights and airlines to choose from. After that, be sure to check with the airline directly, as prices sometimes vary directly between the airline and the booking site.

Prices will reflect the country you appear to be viewing from.

Hint. Whenever possible, we book directly with the airline as this makes flight and communication changes easier. If you’ve ever had to deal with a big, faceless travel booking site when changing a ticket, you’ll understand how frustrating the experience can be.

If you can’t find a good price, try changing your VPN country again.

For international flights, I get the base price by searching from my home country first. I then set my VPN to the country I’m flying to to see if the flight is cheaper. If this doesn’t turn out to be a cheaper flight, I set my VPN country to the airline’s home country. After that I start searching the list of countries above in step 4.

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Step 5: Compare prices and book your flight

After searching for flights, it’s time to compare prices and book your flight.

Be sure to compare prices with other airlines and travel booking sites to make sure you’re getting the best deal. If you find a cheaper flight, consider booking it right away, as prices can change quickly.

Important tip. Check terms and conditions before booking. I once found fantastic cheap flights from Quito, Ecuador to the Galapagos. Unfortunately, when I checked the terms and conditions, I found that those cheap prices only apply to Ecuadorian citizens. Our flights were about 20% more expensive.

Step 6: Go back to the VPN location

Don’t forget to change your VPN location back after booking your flight. This ensures that you can continue browsing and downloading based on your default location.

Airplane at sunset

So does using a VPN to change your location get you cheaper prices?

The answer is yes. Sometimes it can be a simple, affordable and effective way to save money on your next trip.

By hiding your location and making it look like you’re browsing from another country, you can access lower flight prices and get more value for your money.

Just remember to choose a reliable VPN provider like Private Internet Access (PIA), connect to a server in the desired country, search for flights, compare prices, book your flight, and disconnect from the VPN.

Happy travels!

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