LifeHacks: Using a VPN for Good

There are a lot of reasons to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN can protect you on a public network from data theft.

You can use a VPN to view or listen to content in other parts of the world that are otherwise blocked due to licensing restrictions. For example, I have my location set to Zürich, Switzerland so I can listen to podcasts like Diskothek on SRF.

Recently I found another use that solved a big problem for me.

One of the most frustrating things of living in the US, is the lack of transparent pricing. As you may already know, when you see a price in the US, that price often isn’t the price you pay.

If you see a menu in a restaurant for example, with a salad that costs $9.99, you might reasonably think you could pay with that $10 bill in your pocket. What isn’t on the menu is the tax, tip, or in some cases other fees like passing on employee health insurance costs. That salad would cost about $13 if you tipped the traditional amount expected in the US and after taxes.

I’m used to all that, it’s part of my daily life as an American.

However, I needed to book a hotel. I used and found some great deals. But when I clicked on them I realized that there were taxes and fees that raised the price by about 35%!

Then I changed my location to Frankfurt/Main in Germany and refreshed. After that, all the prices had a note under them stating “Includes taxes and fees”. After that I could just list in price lowest to highest order and pick the cheapest suitable hotel.



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