This post was originally published in 2016. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
I’ve been using VPNs (virtual private networks) for a few years now, to protect my internet activity from malicious onlookers when I’m on anything other than the most private and secure of WiFi connections. (Which means, given my travel lifestyle, I use VPNs a lot).
(Confused already? For VPN basics and recommendations, see this post on Travel Security, which covers VPNs, backups, and a ton of other strategies to keep your finances and data safe while traveling.
What I didn’t realize is how I could harness the power of my VPN for flight searches and save up to thousands of dollars. Thousands of dollars! Seriously!
I ran across this infographic on the ExpressVPN website, and felt like I’d stumbled on the holy grail of flight search techniques. Check it out:
There’s Something to This
Years ago, I remember searching on an airline website, and I was amazed at how the price varied when I changed the country setting on the site itself. And although the countries that came up in the experiment above aren’t necessarily the categorically best and worst countries from which to make these bookings, it’s probably no coincidence that when I was in Malaysia years ago, all the flight searches I did turned up with horrific prices. (Mental note: leave Malaysia out of the equation when using my VPN for flight searches).
My VPN of Choice
I’ve used a few VPNs in all my years on the road. Some are good for certain operating systems and devices, and don’t work with others.
I’ve used a TON of VPN services over the years, with varying degrees of success. My #1 VPN service (and the one I currently use) is Nord VPN. It’s consistently one of the highest-rated VPN services, for good reason – many good reasons, actually. Here are a few:
- Access to 5,716 servers worldwide
- Strict no logs policy
- Connect 6 devices at the same time
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- DNS leak protection
- Kill Switch (super important for security)
- Auto Connect (also super important, and not super common in the VPN world)
Best of all? Their prices are competitive. In fact, if you buy the 3-year plan, NordVPN is the cheapest VPN service out there, at just a couple of bucks a month.
If you purchase a discount plan through the link above, I will be paid a small commission. It doesn’t affect your price, but it does help me to keep The Professional Hobo as a free resource for all, so thank you for your support!
What Are You Prepared to Do to Find a Cheap Flight?
The next time I search for airfare, I’m going to give this a whirl. But I’m not sure I have it in me to search from 20 different countries to find the best price. I already find flight searches in general to be soul-destroying, especially when juggling different search engines, frequent flyer mile options, possible layover and creative routing strategies, etc etc.
Have you used a VPN for flight searches and saved money? Please share! Are there some typically good countries to search with?