You’ve probably realized that searching for flights can be a pain. But have you ever wondered why the more you search, the more prices fluctuate? Believe it or not, prices change according to your IP address, browsing or purchase history, zip code, and even which Wi-Fi you’re connected to.

This is also known as dynamic pricing. But, with the help of a VPN, you can overcome all of that. Here’s how you get those cheap flights!

How to unlock ultimate deals with a VPN 

All it takes to get cheap flight tickets is changing your IP address. Just follow these steps and you’ll definitely enjoy your next vacation knowing you took the smart way around fluctuating ticket prices!

Step 1: Download and install a VPN if you haven’t already.

vpn pricing plan

Step 2: Open your VPN and select any server.

vpn servers

Step 3: Search for your preferred flights on Surfshark Search (a tool that gives you organic results without ads or tracking).

private search

Step 4: Write down the flight prices.

Example:

Airline: Lufthansa (New York City to London)

VPN server: USA (Bend)

Dates: December 18-21, 2022

Price: $860

flight prices

Step 5: Clear cookies (examples for multiple browsers).

clear cookies

Step 6: Repeat steps 2-5 and write down flight prices when using different server locations.

Example:

Airline: Lufthansa (New York City to London)

VPN server: England (London)

Dates: December 18-21, 2022

Price: £1,064 ($1,430)

vpn airline tickets

You can see here that using a USA VPN vs. a London VPN gave me a $570 difference! Thanks to a VPN, I have enough to go to Thailand next summer!

You can also use this method not only for flight hacking but also for other sorts of online shopping and save money with a VPN.

You’re probably also wondering ‘’Is there no other way to get cheaper flights without a VPN?’’ – let’s see.

Incognito flights – a cheap flight hack or a cheap hoax?

It might be the latter. At least the tests we ran bore no fruit.

There’s a rumor flying around the internet on how to save money when buying flight tickets. It’s called ‘’Incognito flight hack,” ‘’The browser hack,’’ or ‘’Flight booking hack.’’

You’re supposed to turn on Incognito mode and the price of the same ticket is supposed to be lower (even on Google Flights). Well, that might’ve been a lie. We ran multiple tests and the price didn’t change when going Incognito.

You see, the pricing is based on the market – your location gives away what market you’re in. But Incognito mode doesn’t hide your IP – anyone on the internet knows your location and might change the price depending on that location. The same goes for flight tickets.

Incognito only limits access to your computer’s cache and cookie folders and doesn’t save any data of the browsing session afterward.

However, it’s true that some service providers track data and change their offers depending on your cookies. Since it’s not public knowledge, we can’t say for sure if that’s the case with everybody selling flight tickets.

For now, you can use a VPN to help mitigate price surges. And, as always, there are…

More ways to get ultimate deals

If you have the time to experiment a bit more, try out these methods as well and see if you can get even cheaper flights by: 

  • Changing your IP address to a developing country’s;
  • Changing your IP address to the destination country’s;
  • Changing your IP address to the airline’s home country;
  • Changing your IP address back to your country.

*Don’t forget to clear your cookies (just in case) every time you change your location with a VPN!

You should also be aware of the common best practices for hunting for cheap tickets:

  1. Be flexible with your dates: If you want to fly when everyone’s flying (like during Christmas), your chances of finding a cheap ticket are vanishingly low.
  2. Be flexible with your destinations: If you care about, say, going to Mexico over a specific Mexican resort, then you have a wider array of options when it comes to flights. 
  3. Don’t default to direct: Sometimes, direct flights can be more expensive than connecting ones, all because of the magic of pricing. 
  4. Mix and match airlines: If you’re not flying direct, you might as well use one airline for one leg of your journey, and another one for the next. 
  5. Book in advance: 2-3 months before departure is a nice sweet spot – but if you want to travel during peak season, might as well go 5 months. 
  6. Use flight comparison sites: If you nail down which airline offers the cheapest flight, you can go ahead and test if the price changes when using a VPN.

What causes changes in ticket pricing?

While comparing offers on the internet, you can often see how the prices of flights increase at the same company in a matter of minutes. This is due to a variety of techniques in use, including:

  • Tracking your location;
  • Using cookies to register your interest in the airline.

How do websites determine your location? 

As we’ve just established that your location has a big impact on the flight prices you see, you may be wondering how websites know where you’re located. Here are some ways they determine your location and adjust ticket prices:

IP address 

Every device has its own IP address so that online data would know where to go. 

Since your IP address is set in a specific location, it is possible you may get location-accurate results, meaning the reason why we see the prices continuously increase the more we search for the same flight.

Mobile tracking

Have you used Google maps recently? Ever notice that it always knows your exact location? This little trick is often used by websites and apps to easily track your device. 

Overlooked by many smartphone users, this is a simple way to identify where you are browsing from. When you keep your GPS feature on, websites will show you prices according to your location.

mobile tracking

Browser HTML5 geolocation 

Similar to what an IP address can tell about your location, the HTML5 geolocation lets a system know even more precise details – neighborhood, street, and even your latitude and longitude coordinates. All modern browsers use this feature, but VPN use can overcome it. 

Cookies

browser cookies

Cookies store all kinds of information (ranging from your IP address to date and time of visits) for a short period of time on behalf of the website. Websites use this tracked data (buttons clicked, items in cart, user preferences, etc.) to later show you customized information that fits your needs. That may contribute to the change in pricing every time you refresh a webpage. 

Wi-Fi

It is possible to estimate your location from a Wi-Fi hotspot you’re using. Google, for example, can triangulate the location of a Wi-Fi hotspot from Android users that connect to it and have a GPS locator on. This allows them to match Wi-Fi router SSID to a geographic location, and that’s how they find you. 

Is it legal to use a VPN to buy cheaper flights?

Yes, it is legal to use a VPN to do any type of online shopping, including buying cheap flights. In order to make sure, I contacted support at both Kayak.com and AA.com to confirm this:

is it legal to use a vpn to buy cheaper flights

Both mention that, as long as the connection allows you to buy the ticket, there are no specific statements that go against the usage of a VPN. So, next time you’re planning a vacation, use a VPN to save money and get the best ticket prices. 

In conclusion: Book your next flight with a VPN 

Buying tickets for a vacation shouldn’t be something that annihilates your wallet. The first step to saving is to get a VPN. Simply change that location to stop websites from collecting your information and start getting cheaper flight prices!

And once you find those cheap flights, a VPN will also help you bypass geo-blocking and stay safe on public Wi-Fi while traveling. It’s a win-win situation!

Stop burning a hole through your wallet

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FAQ

Can using a VPN get you cheaper flights?

Yes, a VPN disguises your IP address and gives you a different one. You can get cheaper flights by choosing a VPN server from a country that has the lowest flight prices.

How do you use a VPN for flights?

Get a VPN, then choose and connect to a server from the best country to book flights. You can find which country that is by changing different servers and checking the pricing.

Which VPN gives the cheapest airline tickets?

The one that has access to the highest number of countries via its VPN servers. Surfshark is a good candidate since it has 3200+ servers in 95 countries.

Do airlines track your IP addresses?

Yes, they do it to provide you with location-accurate details, like language and currency.