Want to book your dream hotel for even less? Easy hack can save up to 20% in a few clicks

Using a VPN can help you save up to 20% on the price of hotels with some booking websites (Image: Getty Images)

Are you looking to save money on hotels for your next trip?

You might decide to choose a package holiday from one of the deals on offer with British Airways holidays or Jet2holidays latest deals, or maybe you’ll scour the latest seasonal sales from big-name hotel brands. However, there is a simple way to unlock some extra discounts in seconds – no matter whether there is a sale or not.

The trick is to download a VPN onto the device you’re using to book your tickets.

Downloading a VPN is safe and only takes a few seconds, but can unlock dramatically cheaper prices on many hotel booking websites. These prices are not usually available to you, with research showing that VPN users can save up to 20 percent on the usual price of hotels.

The clever travel trick works because some hotel companies, search engines, and booking sites serve up different rates based on a whole host of information on you – such as the country you’re located in when you visit its website. Some brands even look at the specific region you are in to change prices depending on where you are purchasing from.

The reason this happens is that companies across the web make use of location data, along with several other elements taken from your typical browsing history and device, to dynamically alter prices.

You may have noticed this happening before. Have you ever gone to a website and seen something advertised for a price, only to click back on it later and the cost has suddenly shot up?

Alternatively, some websites might also choose to dynamically price products based on whether you’re shopping from a country with a higher average income. Of course, this isn’t the case across the board but has been known to happen. And it doesn’t just affect hotels, this kind of changing pricing can also have an effect on flights too. You can read our full guide to getting cheaper flights using a VPN here.

A VPN is able to make it seem like you’re browsing from another country – almost any country in the world. And that can help to find cheaper hotels that you may not see at first.

The best VPNs on offer are those which offer a stable, speedy connection and a wide choice of server locations dotted across the planet. That means you’ll be able to browse as normal – all while spoofing your location to appear as if you’re located in different countries around the globe.

Short on time? If you want to use a VPN to unlock more affordable flights, then look no further than ExpressVPN. For a limited time, you can unlock three months of this VPN service for FREE.

And that’s not all, sign-up for a longer contract and you’ll enjoy a 49 percent discount on your subscription. ExpressVPN has 24/7 customer service and offers a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee, which essentially functions like a free trial.

Simply turn on your VPN before browsing for hotels and you may see a vast difference in price (Image: Getty Images)

ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers found in 94 countries worldwide, so no matter what airline you’re trying to book with, or where you trying to book flights from …you should be able to lower prices by switching between dozens of VPN locations.

Our tech experts rated the service five stars in our ExpressVPN review.

There’s more detail on ExpressVPN below.

We’ve also got information on how VPNs work, instructions on how to use a VPN to find cheaper hotels, and whether it’s legal to use a VPN to find cheap hotels. Scroll down for our complete guide to using VPNs to book hotels or use the links above to immediately jump to the relevant section.

How to get cheaper hotel stays with a VPN

Unlocking cheaper hotels with a VPN is really straightforward, even if you don’t think you’re the most tech savvy person. You can find a step-by-step process from one of our tech experts below:

  1. Launch your chosen VPN – our tech experts recommend ExpressVPN – on the device you want to use to book hotels
  2. Next up, choose a location
  3. As soon as your traffic is successfully routed via a different country, clear the cookies in your web browser
  4. Navigate to your favourite booking site, comparison tool, or airline website and start searching for flights

For a little more in-depth detail, see each point below: 

First things first, you don’t need to worry about which device you’re planning to use to book tickets. The best VPN services are usually those which will offer dedicated apps for all of your favourite gadgets, whether you prefer to browse on your iPhone or Android phone device, an iPad or on your Google Chrome web browser. Some even have a function to work on Fire TV Stick, as well as Wi-Fi routers so that every single device that connects to your home internet will be routed via the secure VPN connection. 

When it comes to choosing a server location …things get a little tricky. Unfortunately, there’s no single country that always guarantees the cheapest hotel deals, so you’re going to have to experiment a little bit. However, browsing from the country you hope to book a hotel in might be advantageous. Of course, this can vary and isn’t always a fail-safe method – but it’s worth playing around.

With a few taps, you can change your IP address and it will appear to be in another location (Image: ExpressVPN)

Another major step is to clear your browsing data. This can work even if you don’t use a VPN and it’s not strictly tied to hotel bookings either.

There’s no point going to all the trouble of manually changing your IP address, only for the prices to remain consistent because the cookies stored in your Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge have kept a record of how many times you’ve checked a website.

You’ll need to clear your cookies every time that you switch to a new server location, otherwise, there’s no way to be sure that prices shown on-screen are not a reflection of your browsing history rather than your current country.

Another useful tip – if you want to switch to another VPN server location, you’ll need to clear the cookies stored in your browser each time. Keep screenshots (Ctrl + PrtScn on Windows, Shift-Command-3 on Mac, Side button + Volume Up on iPhone, Power button + Volume Down on Android) of the different prices so you can keep a record of how much prices have changed, especially since there are a few steps each time you want to switch back to check at another location.

What is a VPN?

While you may have heard the term “VPN”, do you actually know what it means? VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network”.

The aim of a VPN is to add another layer of protection to your online browsing by encrypting your data. 

Without a VPN, the information sent between your device and the website is clearly visible as it travels to its final destination. The encrypted tunnel for your online traffic created by a VPN creates a sturdy casing around your information so that only you and the intended recipient (ie the website) can see the information.

This protection works regardless of whether you’re connected via Wi-Fi, ethernet, at home, or in using a public Wi-Fi network in a coffee shop or airport. Since all of your data is encrypted, your online activity will be completely hidden. But privacy is not the only benefit of using a VPN.

VPNs route all of your internet traffic via an encrypted tunnel – keeping everything private (Image: EXPRESSVPN)

If your broadband provider places restrictions on certain types of internet traffic (this is quite common when connected to a public WI-FI such as in a library or coffee shop) this can be avoided by masking the nature of your web traffic with a VPN.

But the biggest single perk of using a VPN is the ability to manually change your IP address, which contains information about your current location. This allows you to spoof your location to countries around the world. This means you have the ability to access websites and services that you usually wouldn’t be able to in your country. It’s not just about booking flights, holidays or hotels, it can even work on television streaming services such as Netflix.

How does a VPN make hotels cheaper?

Some hotel websites, and especially booking websites that amalgamate hotels from across the world, often use dynamic pricing rather than a set price. This usually changes based on things such as the time of year or the popularity of a hotel. It’s very similar to the way airline or train pricing works.

As mentioned above,  booking sites use your IP address – the number every device is assigned when it connects to the internet – to identify the brand and model of your device, your operating system, and your location to dynamically alter the prices too.

This information is used to influence the prices shown on-screen. 

It’s widely rumoured that cookies, software that tracks your movements around the web, are also used to adjust price tags. Although a number of the biggest travel search engines and booking sites deny this practice, anecdotally, users often report that plane and train tickets rise in cost when revisiting a previously visited listing to book at a later time.

One of the best ways to see if this is happening to you is simply by putting it to the test. Do the prices change as soon as you click off and back onto a website you’ve been searching for a travel product?

The practice was revealed in research published in October 2016 by Consumer Reports which showed that across nine of the top travel search sites “42 pairs of different prices on separate browsers for the same sites retrieved simultaneously.”

A VPN can also protect you while browsing using hotel WIFI (Image: Getty Images)

So how exactly does the VPN come into this? 

Using a VPN to create an encrypted tunnel to funnel all of your web traffic so that it’s hidden from criminals, trackers, and advertisers will not lower the cost of hotels on its own.

The ability for VPNs to re-route encrypted web traffic via servers dotted across the globe has the potential to help you find cheaper hotel rooms. However, this will depend on the actual website you’re looking at. It’s more likely to work on a third-party hotel booking platform than a direct hotel website.

But then again, everything has to be put to the test, so it’s worth giving it a go. Even if it doesn’t reduce pricing, a VPN is still a must-have for travel to keep you and your information safe.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Harold Li, Vice President at ExpressVPN explained: “A VPN should be at the top of everyone’s travel packing list. It’s essential for protecting the privacy of your daily digital life, so you can use the questionable free wifi in the hotel with less security stress.

“Our research into airline and hotel bookings has also confirmed that the travel benefits of VPNs can extend to much earlier in the vacation planning process. Choosing a different server location can provide a notable advantage when making travel plans, in some instances allowing people to save money on their vacation budgets and avoid price discrimination.”

Is it illegal to use a VPN?

Using a VPN to re-route your traffic to different server locations around the world is not illegal in the UK. In fact, most company laptops provided to employees working from home likely ship with a VPN installed to protect sensitive information.

VPNs have been an essential part of day-to-day life for enterprise or government workers for years but, as we rely on the internet for more tasks in our daily lives, these apps are becoming increasingly common with individuals to enhance their privacy, bolster streaming, and unlock cheap flights.

VPNs aren’t legal everywhere. At the time of writing, there are 10 countries in the world where VPNs are specifically outlawed: China, Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Iraq, Turkey, UAE, and Oman.

If you’re travelling to any of these, you might want to uninstall the app from your device. Anywhere else on the planet, you’re allowed to connect to the internet using a VPN.

Best VPN for booking hotels

Our team of tech experts have previously put a number of VPN services to the test to determine which is their favourite. ExpressVPN has been a big hit with our tech team, who awarded it the Gold Medal position in our in-depth guide to the best VPN and earned the full five stars in our ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN has speedy downloading and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can receive a full refund if you’re unhappy with the service. It’s essentially a free trial.

Right now, ExpressVPN customers can enjoy 49% off their 12-month subscription

Need more detail? Our in-depth ExpressVPN review has all of the answers.

source: express.co.uk