Planning a European Holiday this Summer? Read this First

We are getting completely ripped off by multi-national hotel and car rental companies when we book from Canada versus from the local branch to where we are travelling

Now that we have had a whiff of spring weather across Canada and May is upon us, many will be daydreaming of the upcoming summer holiday season and perhaps a trip to Europe. According to a new study conducted by NordVPN, the largest virtual private network company in the world and used by millions, Canadians are being completely ripped off when we book hotels and car rentals from Canadian websites and we are being charged thousands of dollars more than overseas customers for exactly the same deals.

The author and his daughter in Greece, knowing that he got ripped off and paid too much for this Airbnb!

From luxury breaks and hotel stays to car hire and theme parks, consumers are frequently being presented with wildly different prices depending on where they log on. For example, when NordVPN researchers used the Italian website for Enterprise Car Rental, the total cost of the booking turned out to be $737 less than booking the same car on the same dates from Enterprise Car Rental in Canada.  That means Canadian users are paying almost 82% more than those on the other side of the Atlantic for the exact same service.

NordVPN’s researchers used the company’s Virtual Private Network (VPNs) software to mask where a user lives, and to make it look, to the websites that track a user’s IP address, like they were not in Canada. They discovered savings across a range of well-known travel sites like Hertz, and for a variety of destinations including Italy, France, Dubai and Greece.

Summer in Greece

A VPN disguises your IP address which makes you anonymous to tracking software, while also improving privacy and security. You select a country and NordVPN ensures that’s where websites think you are. VPN users are then able to see the differing content and prices shown to overseas consumers.

Using a VPN, renting a Compact car with a pick up from Naples Airport with basic insurance through Enterprise,revealed a $737 price difference. The Canadian website quoted $1634 and the Italian site $897.07 – a 45% saving.

A vacationer booking a two-week stay at the Exi Sea Side Suites hotel in Santorini, Greece, would be quoted $4,200 if using the Canadian version of site. The same superior double room with sea view would cost $3569.80 – a $630.20 saving – if they used the Greek site, with a Greek VPN.

Renting a Lexus IS 300 for seven days in Dubai, UAE, cost $830.30 from the Canadian Hertz site, but only $598.78 from the UAE site – a 28% saving.

The research was commissioned by NordVPN and conducted by external analysts between 8th to 17th April 2024. Simultaneous searches were made for identical products being sold by the same vendor using numerous country servers.

When conducting the research, there were cases when prices offered to consumers in different countries were similar. However, for illustration purposes, this article and table below present the biggest differences in price.

So the lesson from this story is, use a VPN and book your hotel and car from the country offices for which you plan to visit.  You will save a fortune which means that the two week holiday you were budgeting for may turn in to a three week holiday if you do your due dillegence.