Use a VPN and save up to 50% on car rentals. Really!

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Frequent flyer? You can also use ExpressVNP to find cheaper airline tickets!

When booking cars online, some car rental companies and price comparison sites do what economists call ‘price discrimination’ based on your location. Price discrimination basically means offering different prices to users from different countries in order to maximize revenue.

Since most customers usually only search for prices in their country of residence, they can be easily exploited. For example, people from countries where car ownership is a luxury might be willing to pay a higher price for their rental than someone who sees a car as a basic necessity.

Luckily, we make it easy for you to quickly switch between different locations and outsmart the rental companies by finding the best prices online.

How to Find the Lowest Possible Rates

Bypassing expensive rates and finding the cheapest possible rental price is easy if you know how to do it.

Your mileage may vary when using this particular trick, but for the sake of experimentation, let’s assume we’re looking for rentals cars in Los Angeles, Vienna, and Melbourne. Let’s also assume the dates we’re looking to rent are seven days before and after December 1, 2015.

Here’s what we did:

  • We connected to ExpressVNP servers in seven different locations.
  • We browsed a few car rental sites like Rentalcars, Sixt, and Hertz with Google Chrome in incognito mode.
  • We closed and reopened Chrome after each visit, deleting all cookies in the process.

Below are the prices we found. (Note all prices are displayed in USD.)

LAX-rental-car-test

Conclusion: Americans clearly get the cheapest deals for car rentals in Los Angeles. Connect to any of our US servers and see for yourself!

Vienna--rental-car-test

Conclusion: Comparing prices with different IPs is worth it. While locals are again offered a lower price, connecting to a US server can save you money if you want to rent from Sixt.

Melbourne-rental-car-test

Conclusion: What on Earth is up with Hertz? They charge almost seven times as much for their customers in Egypt. This is a great example of automated price discrimination gone wrong.

As you can see, it’s worth using a VPN to check around for different rental prices. Be careful with taxes and insurance, as some sites quote them differently for each country as well!

Travel Tips for the Thrifty Globetrotter

Here are a few parting tips to keep in mind:

  1. There may be an extra fee if you’re returning your rental car to a different location than where you picked it up.
  2. Taxes may not be included in your initial quote.
  3. You may be quoted a cheaper base rate with one company, but with all the extra fees you may end up paying more than another company.
  4. Certain extras like a GPS device or an infant seat are usually pretty expensive, so you may want to bring your own.
  5. Pickup location matters when it comes to lowering your cost. See if public transportation is available, or if the rental company offers a shuttle service to where you need to go.
  6. If you’re under 30, check if there are extra insurance costs not quoted in your price.
  7. Depending on whether you already have insurance and which credit card you use, you might not need to purchase additional cover when you rent. Best to check with your insurance company before your trip.
  8. Make sure you make a written log of every minute detail, including the condition of the spare tire, any scratches, faults and/or scuff marks, before you drive off.
  9. It’s usually not worth prepaying for fuel, but make sure the tank is full when you return.
  10. Always read through the Terms of Agreement, especially when renting in another country.

We hope you found this guide helpful. Safe (and cheap) travels from ExpressVNP!

 

Featured image: pathdoc/Dollar Photo Club

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How Flash is used to destroy your computer

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Some of the most common Web viruses are ones that affect your computer by tricking you into clicking on a specific website. In fact, a whole industry exists where hackers simply upload their software and receive a URL, which they then send out to their unsuspecting victims.

As soon as someone opens the compromised link, which is usually as innocuous as a meme or news article, the server detects which operating system and browser the person is using and BAM! The virus then downloads and executes the malware without the user ever clicking on a link!

It happens more often than you think, and it usually occurs through software vulnerabilities in common applications like Adobe Flash.

Flash? More Like Trash!

Researchers at Recorded Future are analyzing malware on the Web and have releasedexplanations of the 10 most common exploits of 2015.

Eight of them use Flash vulnerabilities to infect your computer. Flash is the software commonly known for animations, short videos and annoying ads. Until a few years ago flash animations were popular because they required less bandwidth to run than video, but with most of the world now hooked up to high-speed Internet, flash animations have been replaced first by flash videos and now by html5 videos.

Since January 2015,YouTube videos by default use html5. Facebook also serves its videos in this format, which is not carrying the same security risks for the user.

So with all the vulnerabilities in the Flash software, why keep it installed? Apple’s actuallyblocked older versions of Flash from running on Apple OS X due to the security flaws, and other companies are beginning to follow suit.

If you’re still not sure about uninstalling Flash, at least make sure you patch the vulnerabilities.

Here’s how:

Always Update Flash!

Yes, Flash updates very, very frequently and the process and pop-ups can be annoying. They aren’t always asking you to update because they hate you, but because they constantly find little security holes that can be used to compromise your computer — security holes that they fix as fast as possible with software updates.

Additionally we recommend you use these easy tools to stay in control of your browsing and only run Flash when you trust the site:

Add a Few Add-ons

Add-ons like the Safari extension ClickToFlash Chrome extension Flashcontrol or the Firefox add-on Flashblock will not load any flash unless you explicitly tell them to. Instead of the flash video they will display a grey box that you have to click for the video to load. Only click that box on sites that you trust!

Deactivate Flash Completely

So maybe you’ve noticed you don’t need flash at all. Here’s how to deactivate it:

  • In Firefox: firefox/tools > addons > plugins and set flash to never activate
  • In Chrome: type chrome://plugins in your browser and set flash do disable
  • In Safari (Mac OS X)> Preferences > Security > Plugins > Set to not allow

If you have multiple browsers installed you many want to deactivate Flash on your primary browser, and only open a site in your secondary browser if you really, really have to.

Most of the time, though, you’ll find the kitten video is not worth the risk.

 

Featured image: HasanEROGLU/ Dollar Photo Club

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