It’s no secret that companies charge different prices based on where their customers are located. For example, users looking to purchase the game XCOM: Enemy Unknown for Steam pay $49.99 in the US, $35.89 in the UK, and $33.35 in the EU. There are many reasons businesses do this, but generally, it’s because they try to make the most money they can in any given market.
For video games, a difference of ten dollars may not be that big of a deal. However, there are many different industries where the price may vary by hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars. This short guide will show some of the key places you can save some serious cash by turning on a VPN on your laptop, desktop, and mobile and then making your purchase.
Let’s start with the Basics:
How VPNs Work
A VPN or virtual private network allows you to set up an artificial connection between your computer and the website you want to connect to. You connect to a third party server that then connects you to the internet. Besides having huge security benefits, one of the other great features of VPNs is that they allow you to choose your location.
For example, you can select a server based in the UK and get content based on that region. This not only has its benefits when it comes to content, but also online shopping. Here are some of the top industries where location affects your price.
Retailers use a system of dynamic pricing based on other users in the zip code, demographic information, and history to raise or lower prices accordingly. In general, countries with lower income average will usually see lower prices.
When performing a test of booking flights, the highest prices tended to be in the US and Western European Countries, while the lowest prices were in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore. This is where it takes a little experimenting. Singapore is technically a high-income country. There’s no hard and fast rule, instead, it’s recommended to spend five minutes checking different prices from server locations and find the best one.
Rental cars are another one of the most common examples of price fluctuations. However, in this case, the reason why the price changes is different. Here, it has a lot to do with local taxes, insurance costs, and other surcharges based on location.
When looking to book a midsize sedan in a US city, the best prices were in India and Russia where the total price per week was nearly half that as reserving a car from a US-based IP address.
Hotel rooms fall into a very similar category as plane tickets. Companies use dynamic pricing to set their rates. However, this is once again where you’ll want to experiment. As it turns out, when booking a hotel for New York, the best prices were in the US and Canada. Prices actually increased as the distance got longer with the worst prices in India and Brazil.
Subscription services vary widely in prices depending on your location. Take for example the extremely popular Apple Music service. The base US price in $9.99 a month. However, the price in the UK goes as high as $13.33 per month while the price in India is ridiculously lower. That is a massive difference.
Another category is software. Software tends to be one of the most expensive things we purchase. Price differences here are more difficult to generalize. When looking at Microsoft Word, Russia had the best price of $55 annually versus nearby Poland that topped out at $116.
How to Save Money Using a VPN
If you want to save money using a VPN, here are the simple steps you need to follow:
- Turn on VPN on your laptop or PC and choose a location
- Check different websites for prices on what you want to purchase
- Disconnect VPN
- Choose a new location and compare prices
These are the top five categories where you can save the most money, but prices vary significantly in many other areas as well. It doesn’t matter where you’re sending something or what your billing information is. Don’t worry about selecting a server in India, but having to fill out billing details in France. All that matters is where your IP address is coming from. Unless, there are certain restrictions regarding the delivery address, so make sure to check this before purchasing anything that needs to be sent to you beforehand.
You don’t need to try every country your VPN offers. You can get a price understanding from comparing between 5-6 different places around the world and can make your choice from there. Now, you have everything you need to start saving a lot of money right away!