How to save on Car Rental with VPN Location Spoofing

Billy Swain | 27 Feb 2020

In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to find a good deal when there are thousands of comparisons, just a Google search away.

We can quickly sift through hundreds of providers, whether they’re airlines, smartphone carriers and car rental businesses, to find the best deals.

Though, over the past few years, these industries have wisened up to the fact that their customers can see hundreds of other prices at the touch of a button, and have begun geo-specific pricing.

If you’ve ever taken a look for holiday car rentals, or any other holiday-related bookings, only to find the prices jumping all over the place — you’re not alone. These companies track, locate and dictate pricing based on your search history and current location.

Let’s take a look below at how to get around this rather unfair practice.

The Study

An online security education website recently conducted a major study that took a look at a number of vehicle rental businesses and after visiting each business, the researchers changed their location with a VPN — to find price discrepancies.

In some cases, the company found that when booking hire cars, hotels and airline tickets, customers could save almost $2,000 just by changing their location to a more local one. Though, the majority of this saving did come from car hire alone.

To briefly explain, a VPN would allow an American customer looking to holiday in the UK to change their location to a UK city.

What this means is that their browser and the car hire website would show that customer the same pricing as a customer in the UK — which is overwhelmingly cheaper than that of an American customer.

For example, a Hertz Hire Car in London’s Heathrow Airport would cost a UK customer $351, though a Columbian customer would be charged $2,185 for exactly the same service and vehicle.

How a VPN Works to Change a Location

If you’re a new reader, or new to how VPNs work, the process can be described quite simply.

All of your website traffic through a VPN is encrypted on your device, sent to a server in your chosen location — then that servers acts as your device. What this essentially allows is for you to select your country of origin.

From the study, it’s now revealed that car hire companies prey on visitors and their locations, and adapt their pricing to suit the country a user is browsing from — which ofter results in an incredibly unfair deal for some users.

Pricing Based on Locations

Although we can’t go over the hundreds of price-per-car comparisons in the study, we’ll take a short look at a few examples brought up in the research and what the differences in pricing were.

Browsing from the USA for Hire Cars in LAX

Customers in the US looking to hire a car from LAX were quoted $834.15 by Hertz, for a compact vehicle. Though when using a VPN and switching their locations to France, a US customer was then quoted $666.12 for the same car category.

To add, a VPN set to India was then quoted $1,310.18 for the same vehicle category in LAX.

Browsing from France for Hire Cars in CDG Airport

Customers in France looking to hire a car in the Parisian Airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle, were quoted $249 by Hertz for a compact vehicle, though when switching their device to a USA server were then quoted just $195 for the same car.

The lowest quote for a hire car in CDG Airport came from US servers, through Brazilian browsers with a $166.23 quote.

Booking from Australia for Hire Cars in Sydney Airport

Another airport with hire cars featuring significant price differentiation was Sydney Airport for US customers or browsers. Americans or browsers from the USA were quoted $319 from Enterprise for a Standard SUV, though browsers from Germany were quoted $263 for the same vehicle.

The lowest quote from Sydney Airport’s Enterprise car hire was from a Vietnamese server with a $260 quote.

For a summary graph of the data collected, take a look at DataWrapper.de

Cost Conclusion

All in all, it’s clear that from almost all angles that car hire companies, as opposed to airlines, are far more dependant on locations for bookings. In some cases, you could pay more than $1,500 extra by merely booking from an unfavourable network server.

VPNCompass advises that it would be wise to take a look at the Data Wrapper link to determine which locations most often see lower prices, and work to change to these locations with a VPN when hiring cars.

Further in this article, we’ll take a look at VPNs and how to use them to save money on hire cars.

Understanding Price Changes

From the info-sets above, it isn’t hard to see that there are a few major price differences between car hire locations. Though, it’s important to understand that although unfair, there are a few reasons behind these pricing discrepancies.

Off the top, we’d like to point out that in some countries and for some companies, local currency pricing is swayed by specific taxes and other sales taxes — which may add a few dollars here and there.

A second point to keep in mind is that some locations include and exclude vehicle insurance as well as other levies dependant on local market laws. Again, adding a few dollars, though not hundreds or thousands of dollars extra.

Price Gouging

With the above points out of the way, there is a possibility of deliberate price gouging that should encourage our readers to activate their VPNs to get a better, fairer deal. A number of hire companies are shown to have drastically increased pricing when a customer lands in a country and needs a hire car fast, and are thus more willing to pay a high price.

We suggest that wherever you’ve landed, that you book a vehicle through a VPN and sift through a few servers to find the best deal for you.

A lot of data from the study shows us that servers from Vietnam, India and the US in some cases offer the best deals when booking hire vehicles in Australia, and parts of Europe and South America.

Lastly, remember that booking far in advance will almost always save you the most cash, regardless of whether you’re using a VPN or not.

How to Use a VPN with Several Sever Locations

Now that we’ve gone over the real savings you can find with a VPN, we’ll explain how to find, subscribe to and use one — it’s really simple.

  1. To save money on hire cars with a VPN, all you’ll need to do is subscribe to a VPN service such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost or IPVanish and install the program on your device.
  2. Once you’ve installed a VPN provider to your device, simply choose a server that best suits your needs by looking at the data we outlined above — and connect to that server.
  3. All of your web traffic will then be routed through that server/country, and you’ll see similar savings to those outlined above. We suggest switching up your servers to make sure you’re getting the best quotes when booking a hire car.

Below is a brief summary of the features offered by current list of preferred vpn suppliers:


1. ExpressVPN

Website: www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Features:

All ExpressVPN plans include the following features:

  • Simultaneous connections: 3
  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • Countries: 94
  • 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
  • VPNCompass Speed Test: 75.44 Mb/second

Prices:

  • 1 Month: $12.95
  • 6 Months: $9.99
  • 15 Months: $6.67 (*Special Offer)

Note: All prices are in USD, and are Per Month.

visit ExpressVPN


2. NordVPN

Website: www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Features:

All NordVPN plans include the following features:

  • Simultaneous connections: 6
  • Jurisdiction: Panama
  • Countries: 63
  • 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
  • VPNCompass Speed Test: 63.25 Mb/second

Prices:

  • 1 Month: $11.95
  • 1 Year: $6.99
  • 2 Years: $4.99
  • 3 Years: $3.49

Note: All prices are in USD, and are Per Month.

visit NordVPN


3. IPVanish

Website: www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 7 DAYS

Features:

All IPVanish plans include the following features:

  • Simultaneous connections: 10
  • Jurisdiction: U.S.A
  • Countries: 60
  • 7-day Money-Back Guarantee
  • VPNCompass Speed Test: 61.85 Mb/second

Prices:

  • 1 Month: $10.00
  • 3 Months: $4.50
  • 1 Year: $6.49

Note: All prices are in USD, and are Per Month.

visit IPVanish


And there you have it! A great way to catch a good deal on a car rental, even if you’re sure there’s nothing you can do about a local hire yard’s high prices.

You might also be able to use your VPN service to save you on hotel bookings, airline tickets and more, so signup and take a look!

PRIVACY ALERT: Websites you visit can find out who you are

  • Your IP Address: 3.215.182.81
  • Your Location: Ashburn, US
  • Your Internet Provider: Amazon Technologies Inc.

* Scammers, Governments, and Advertisers can use this information to track and target you.

Our recommended vpn service provider for all-round internet security and online privacy is ExpressVPN. It offers an excellent selection of online security and internet privacy features, as well as the ability to unblock your favorite streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer). They currently have a Special Offer with 3 Months extra for free.

Visit ExpressVPN

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