By definition, a VPN is a private network that extends over a wide area network such as the Internet so users connected to it can successfully send and receive data as if their respective computers were connected with a LAN cable. Initially, VPNs were mostly used for business purposes where users shared certain documents between their home and office PCs. Note that this was back when the Internet was in its initial stages and VPNs have come a long way since then.
These days, they’re used for all kinds of purposes; primarily for security, since your connection is much more secure and private when you browse the Internet through a VPN. They’re also used to bypass annoying geo-blockades on websites or fool Internet censorship regulations in countries such as China, where the government is keen on censoring quite a bit of the stuff you’re able to look at online.
Today, we’re going to be talking about how to use a VPN in order to get some really nice discounts on just about anything you can buy online, and fortunately that includes airline tickets that are often very expensive, so any discount you’re able to get is more than welcome.
How A VPN Works
In order to understand how a VPN can help you get low prices on your airline tickets, first you’re going to want to know some of the basic science behind VPNs themselves, so you can understand what’s going on a least a little bit. When you get on the Internet, you’re essentially connected to a myriad of other servers, and servers are essentially computers just like yours that receive your data and send some data back to you through the connection.
So, because of the infinitely large number of servers, hosts and connections on the world wide web, having a way for those servers to identify each other is absolutely essential. Servers do this via something called an IP address; a unique number assigned to each computer, and the IP essentially becomes the computer’s “name”, for lack of a better term. IP addresses contain valuable information about both the server and the client side of the connection, information such as approximate location, the operating system and browser used by the client, the type of device the client is using and so on.
How This Helps You Get Lower Prices
Alright, so now you know a bit about VPNs and how they work, and you might be wondering how this actually helps you in getting cheaper tickets. It kind of works like this: the main way in which an online server or a website knows who you are and can get some information about you is by looking at your IP address. And since IP addresses are intrinsic to your location (if your location changes, your IP address changes as well), when you connect to a VPN server, you actually get a brand new IP address.
And this is important because websites that sell you stuff online have actually been giving out different prices to different people, depending on a multitude of factors. The most common of these factors is, in fact, your location, which they can tell from your IP address.
If you have a good VPN provider, you’ll most likely be able to connect to a multitude of servers around the world, and receive a new IP address by doing so. That way, you’re actually fooling the website into thinking that you’re browsing from where your current VPN server is located, instead of your real location. You’ll probably have to experiment a bit and connect to a large number of servers before you actually find a good price, but once you do you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save this way.
Is This Legal?
When I tell people about this little trick, the first thing they most often ask me is whether they can get in trouble for doing so. After all, it could be interpreted as kind of “cheating” your way to a lower price, but the truth is that, at least in the U.S., there is no active law against this sort of practice, yet.
And to be completely honest, giving different people different prices based on factors such as location isn’t exactly considered an ethical tactic in the business world, so companies will most likely turn a blind eye to this sort of behavior to avoid damage to their reputation.
Hopefully now I’ve demystified VPNs for you a bit and you understand how you can use them to get low prices not only on airline tickets, but on virtually anything you can find online. It’s handy little trick that can save you enormous amounts of cash over longer periods of time, so make sure to always keep it in mind when you shop using the Internet.