There has been an interesting travel hack percolating the internet for the past couple of years: foreign versions of familiar travel sites sometimes have different pricing than their American counterparts, so you can find even better deals by ordering as if you were in another country.
It’s an interesting idea, but is it true? We decided to dig a little deeper to find out.
Are the Prices Really Different?
For this comparison, we used Hotels.com vs Hotels.com for India. We used current, in-the-moment conversion rates and sales to compare Indian Rupees versus US Dollars on the same exact hotel.
Prices truly were different. You could save some money in many instances by booking through the Indian site.
Melia Kuala Lumpur
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cost in Rupees: 4,477 Rs
Converted to USD: $63.17
Price on US Site: $68
Savings when booking through Indian site: $4.83/night
The Emperor Happy Valley Hotel
Location: Hong Kong
Cost in Rupees: 2,920 Rs
Converted to USD: $42.78
Price on US Site: $46
Savings when booking through Indian site: $3.22/night
Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Cost in Rupees: 4,574 Rs
Converted to USD: $68.58
Price on US Site: $72
Savings when booking through Indian site: $3.42/night
Gold Hotel Wine & Dine
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Cost in Rupees: 4,282 Rs
Converted to USD: $64.21
Price on US Site: $68
Savings when booking through Indian site: $3.79/night
The Colonnade Hotel Back Bay
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Price in Rupees: 16,447 Rs
Converted to USD: $246.61
Price on US Site: $263
Savings when booking through Indian site: $16.39/night
As we were searching, we noticed a couple of themes emerging. The first was that the more expensive a hotel was, the more likely it was to have a noticeable price difference.
The second was that there was an apparent trend depending on the country where the hotel was located. In Malaysia we typically, though not always, found savings of at least a few dollars per night. Hong Kong was more of a mixed bag, while Thailand’s savings tended to match Malaysia’s on average. Across Europe, there appeared to be more opportunities for savings in Eastern Europe than Western Europe.
It Doesn’t Always Work in Your Favor
It’s not always advantageous to use this method. We found a few examples where it was noticeably more expensive to book on the Indian site rather than the US site.
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Price in Rupees: 20,534
Converted to USD: $307.89
Price on US Site: $274
Savings when booking through US Site: $33.89/night
Atlantis The Palm
Location: Dubai, UAE
Price in Rupees: 39,413
Converted to USD: $590.97
Price on US Site: $429
Saving when booking through US Site: $161.97/night
These examples are more marked, making us wonder if there are bigger deals to be had the other way if you search for just the right hotel.
Overall, the hack is true. You just have to keep in mind that it works both ways, being sure to check current sales and conversion rates.