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Research shows that US travelers pay more for their holiday

Research from NordVPN has uncovered that US travelers often pay hundreds of dollars more than international customers when booking vacations through local websites. This price discrepancy affects popular holiday services, including car rentals and hotel stays. We’ll explore these findings and show you how using a VPN can help secure a more affordable holiday.

Research shows that US travelers pay more for their holiday

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

How did the research work?

NordVPN researchers used a virtual private network (VPN) to simulate holiday searches from the US and abroad. A VPN conceals your IP address, allowing you to appear as though you’re browsing from a selected location. For example, while living in LA, you could use a VPN to appear as if you’re browsing from France, potentially unlocking cheaper flights and hotels.

In this study, the research team initially checked prices for specific hotel stays and car rentals as if booking directly from the US. They then switched their server connection to the countries they were considering for their holidays — the UK, France, Italy, and Indonesia — making it seem like they were browsing from these destinations.

This method revealed a significant price difference — vacations booked from the US were considerably more expensive than those booked from the actual travel destinations. Let’s delve deeper into these findings.

Main findings

Researchers from NordVPN discovered significantly lower prices from providers like Hertz, Agoda,, and when booking from outside the US. They noted that US vacationers could save up to $170 on a one-week stay in a 5-star hotel in London for two by booking through a UK server. Let’s take a closer look at these significant price differences.

  • Save 41% on car rental in the UK. Researchers analyzed the cost of renting a Ford Galaxy from Edinburgh Airport for seven days in September 2024. They found that by using a VPN to connect to a server in the UK, the rental price dropped from $1,248.56 to $736.50, saving US travelers $511.50.
  • Save $137.67 on a cozy double room in Paris. Booking a one-week stay at a District Nation hotel in Paris for two adults normally would cost US vacationers $939. However, if you book the same vacation using a French VPN server, the cost drops to $801.33 — saving 14.66%. Essentially, you get a one-night stay for free.
  • Save 11.43% on car rentals in Italy. Researchers exploring the cost of renting a Polestar 2 electric vehicle through Hertz discovered that US holidaymakers could save as much as $69.86, or 11.43%, by booking on the local website. Booking from the US, the price was $611.26, but it dropped to $541.40 when booked as though browsing from Italy.
  • Save 16.73% on a seven-night hotel stay in Milan. Booking a basic triple room for a family of three at Hotel Kennedy normally would cost around $1,216. However, if you book the same stay using an Italian VPN server, the cost drops to $1,012.61, saving holidaymakers $203.39.
  • Save $976.15 on a 5-star hotel stay in France. When researchers compared the cost of a two-week stay for two through, they found that US holidaymakers could save 11.16% by booking through the local website. The price was $8,746 when booked from the US, but it fell to $7,769.85 when booked as if browsing from France.
difference of prices with a VPN

Other findings were less significant. For instance, booking a two-week stay at a 5-star hotel in Bali for two adults in October was only $63.23 cheaper when using a VPN connected to a server in Indonesia.

Similarly, two adults wishing to stay in the Dakota Hotel Edinburgh for one week would save $84.01 if they booked it through a local service. However, these savings amounted to just a 5.20-7.64% discount.

Why is the pricing so different?

You’ll find different prices for holiday booking based on the country you’re browsing from for several reasons, some of which are:

  • Currency exchange rates. Travelers booking holidays from different countries might experience fluctuating currency exchange rates. Currency fluctuations can directly affect the overall cost of the holiday. A strong exchange rate can lower expenses, while a weaker one may raise costs.
  • Cost of living and local economy. Booking from a country with a higher cost of living can make lower-cost destinations appear more budget-friendly and vice versa. Additionally, countries with strong economies may often have higher holiday prices, both domestically and abroad.
  • Company location. Providers may lower prices or offer better deals in their home countries. That’s why connecting to the server in the country where the company is based is always worthwhile.
Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer at NordVPN, says, “Never assume you’re seeing the same price as everyone else. Companies use all kinds of complex algorithms to cater to the purchasing power of different countries. They will routinely show different prices on different website domains, and it can even differ depending on where you’re visiting from.”

Save money on holiday bookings with a VPN

Why pay more for a holiday abroad just because you live in a different country? By using a VPN, you can save money to use for future vacations. Plus, setting up and getting started with a VPN is incredibly easy.

First, it’s crucial to select a reliable VPN provider. At NordVPN, we prioritize your privacy and security above all else. With servers covering 111 countries, you can access holiday booking services worldwide, not just in one region or continent.

Whether you opt for NordVPN or another provider, the setup process should be similar.

  1. Choose a VPN provider and get a subscription.
  2. Download and install the VPN app on your device.
  3. Open the app, create an account if needed, and sign in using your credentials.
  4. Select a VPN server in the country of your choice, then connect to it.
  5. Visit the websites of various travel arrangement companies and take note of their prices.
  6. Repeat this process with different server locations to find the best deal. We recommend you clear your browser’s cache or open a new incognito window before revisiting the sites to prevent them from recognizing you as a returning user, which could affect the prices displayed.

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Is it legal to use a VPN to get better deals?

VPNs are legal in most countries, and so is using a VPN to access better deals. However, you must read the terms and conditions of the websites you’re accessing. Some websites may prohibit VPN usage or have specific policies against it. Nonetheless, in most cases, using a VPN to search for better travel arrangements is within legal bounds.


The research was commissioned by NordVPN and conducted by an external agency between April 2 and 12, 2024. Researchers used different country servers to search for identical products from the same vendor.