Summer travel demand is high for 2023. What travelers should know.Booking a trip soon? Here’s everything you need to know for traveling this summer.Just the FAQs, USA TODAYAs I planned a trip to Mexico for this summer, my search for a bargain took me over the border without ever leaving my desk.A recent study commissioned by cybersecurity company NordVPN found that U.S. travelers were being charged significantly more than those overseas for accommodations and rental cars.”There’’ no need to overpay for a holiday abroad,” the company said in a blog post about the research. “Using a VPN can save you a lot of money – and it’s easy to get started.”Perennially drawn to finding a deal with minimal effort, I used that approach to plan three hypothetical trips and put the strategy to the test. Here’s what I learned by using two different VPN services.What if summer travel isn’t as hectic as expected?: Why last-minute plans could work outCan you use ChatGPT as a travel agent?: Here’s what I learned about AI vacation planningCan you find travel deals by using a VPN?NordVPN researchers found some major price differences when booking travel in the U.S. versus using a VPN, a virtual private network that hides your IP address and physical location.A two-week stay for a family of four at Zoetry Casa del Mar Los Cabos in Mexico, for instance, was priced at $84,929 on Hotels.com when booking in the U.S., but just $27,514 when using a VPN set in Mexico, according to the blog post.In another case, renting a Peugeot 5008 from Budget – via Expedia – at London’s Gatwick Airport for a little over a week costs $2,157.32 in the U.S. compared to $1,166.33 using a VPN set to the United Kingdom.But the searches didn’t strictly yield deals. “When conducting the research, there were cases when prices offered to consumers in different countries were similar,” the company said in a news release.In my own hunt for bargains using NordVPN, I came up mostly empty-handed. I compared hotel and rental car bookings in Mexico, the U.K. and Italy to U.S.-based prices and most were almost identical regardless of my virtual country of origin.A June weekend stay at Fairfield Inn Los Cabos ran $334 via Hotels.com in the U.S. for one room, for example, and just a few cents more with my location set to Mexico, while renting a Chevrolet Aveo or similar car from Hertz in Mexico City cost about $49.50 per day in both cases.Story continues below.Travel apps to download before your next tripTravel with ease using these apps.Problem Solved, USA TODAYMy luck didn’t turn around across the pond, either: The Westin London City cost me $948 in the U.S. and about $949.50 with my location set to the U.K. In one case, the U.S. price was noticeably cheaper: when I priced out a rental car from Budget at London’s Heathrow Airport, I stood to pay $278.82 in the U.S. and $364.65 with the help of a VPN set to the United Kingdom.I did find one deal on a Fiat Panda 1.2 – or similar-sized vehicle – at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome from Sicily by Car via Expedia. The U.S. price was $146 compared to $101.98 when I set my location to Italy.I tried the same approach the next day using another VPN service, ExpressVPN, but got similar results.Costco Travel: What travelers should know about booking a trip with Costco Travel”Typically, you can find great deals by looking at local sites (in the place) you are traveling to, but it’s not always consistent and other locations can sometimes present a cheaper price, so it does take trial and error to hunt down the best price,” Lauren Hendry Parsons, ExpressVPN privacy advocate and global head of communications, told USA TODAY in an email.A spokesperson for Expedia Group – which operates Expedia and Hotels.com, among others – said the company did not have any information to add. Hertz and Avis Budget Group did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.Can you get cheaper flights by using VPN?While NordVPN’s study didn’t include flights, I went ahead and checked fares from New York to each country, too.The lowest fares were about the same in most cases, but I found a slight price difference on round-trip flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Mexico City, which would have cost me $602 booking in the U.S., but the same itinerary was around $586 with the VPN set to Mexico (the same was true with both NordVPN and ExpressVPN).Does using a VPN to book travel work?It depends. Different rate structures can be applied to different distribution channels and geography, according to Robert Cole, Senior Research Analyst, Lodging and Leisure Travel at Phocuswright.A hotel might give a third-party booking site a cheaper rate but request that the site only list that price in a specific place, for example.”They go, ‘That’s great, but do not sell that in the U.S.,'” Cole said. “You know, ‘We are Miami Beach resort or we’re a resort in Cancun (or) the Dominican Republic, we want German business.'”Prices can vary on a host of other factors, too, including timing and availability, he said, and the best deal for a given booking may be on a U.S. site. A website might also require travelers to provide a home address or, in the case of rental cars, a driver’s license from that country in order to access a given rate, Cole added.He recommended proceeding with caution, particularly if you are booking with a foreign site you aren’t familiar with, where help may be hard to track down if a problem occurs.”My words of warning are, yes, you can do it, but that you have to be very careful knowing who you’re dealing with,” Cole added. “So, it’s very much traveler beware.”Is using a VPN to book travel worth it?My largely fruitless bargain hunt may have been due to bad luck, or perhaps travelers looking to find the kinds of deals NordVPN researchers did have to exercise more patience.And while I may not have saved much on the hypothetical trips, the experiment did cost me money. I paid just over $14 for a one-month NordVPN subscription and nearly $13 for a monthly subscription to ExpressVPN.Saving money for trips: Here’s how some of those friends who are always traveling can afford itSummer travel is expensive: Here’s why flight prices heat up when the weather doesAlong the way, I ran into roadblocks, too.After checking prices on hotels and rental cars in Mexico, I clicked my way to the U.K., but Hotels.com repeatedly asked me to prove I was not a robot by choosing the penguin in a series of graphics. Several attempts later, the site would not let me out of penguin jail and I switched over to Expedia.Marijus Briedis, Chief Technology Officer at NordVPN, said in an email that its researchers ran into the bot identification issue and fixed it “by effectively disconnecting from the VPN, clearing the browsing data/cache/cookies etc and then going into the site again.”Parsons also said banks and credit card companies have varying policies regarding international transaction fees. “So if a person were to make a purchase in a currency outside their home market it would depend on the terms and conditions of the bank or credit card company they use whether they would be charged a transaction fee for this purchase or not,” she said.As he put it, when it comes to using a VPN to book travel, there are “inherent risks that may not be worth the potential reward.”Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at email@example.com.