Stupid Tip of the Day: Check For Lower Airfares of an Airline From a Different Country

Traveling can pose a unique set of issues; and one of them is that sometimes prices for products and services in one country can be more expensive simply because a person is either based in — or is a citizen of — another country.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Check For Lower Airfares of an Airline From a Different Country

In Latin American countries — such as Chile and Argentina as two examples — the higher prices are notoriously known as the Gringo Tax, which can be significantly more expensive for people from the United States than for local citizens.

I presented an example of this practice in this article pertaining to procuring lower airfares to Easter Island from mainland Chile which I wrote on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. A round trip itinerary between Santiago and Easter Island on a given day may cost $523.00 round trip if you purchased your ticket at the official United States Internet web site of LATAM Airlines Group…

Click on the image for an enlarged view. Source: Google Flights.

…but booking the ticket with the exact same flights on the exact same day through the official Chile Internet web site of LATAM Airlines Group will cost you only 165,141 Chilean pesos — which converted to the approximate equivalent of $248.00 in United States dollars.

That represents a savings of $275.00 — which means that the Chilean airfare is less than half of the United States airfare.

Iguazu Falls

Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

I had a similar issue when booking a round trip flight — which was operated by Aerolineas Argentinas — from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls. I had to book the airfare through the official Argentina Internet web site of Aerolineas Argentinas to save a significant amount of money — and I had no issues with that whatsoever.


One disadvantage of this is that the native language of the main Internet web site of an airline from another country may not have a way to be translated into your primary language. In both of the above examples, Spanish is the primary language — and sometimes choosing a different language could lead you to the Internet web site of another country with which you may not have access to the savings.

Another disadvantage is that you may have to convert the currency to one with which you are familiar.

Fortunately, both of those disadvantages are easy to resolve with free language translation and currency conversion tools which are available via the Internet.

Although I have never encountered a problem, always double check to ensure that the airline — or other entity which offers greater than one set of rates or fares — does not disqualify the eligibility of your purchase simply because you are not from another country.

Taking a few moments to check the Internet web sites of different countries of the same airline can potentially save you a significant amount of money — as well as choosing places to eat and purchase items. Avoiding paying inflated prices is possible if you look and act more like a local person and less like a typical foreign tourist — although that is not guaranteed.

All photographs ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

9 thoughts on “Stupid Tip of the Day: Check For Lower Airfares of an Airline From a Different Country”

  1. fatcat says:

    Transatlantic flights are cheaper if originated in Europe. Especially business class, difference more than 1k. I started by flying to Europe one way using miles, then originating flights from Europe. BA change fee is much lower than AA.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …and ironically, fatcat, award tickets from Europe with certain airlines are hundreds of dollars more expensive when the flight itinerary originates in Europe due to carrier imposed fees.

  2. Kate says:

    I will be buying a couple of those very flights in a few weeks.

    How do I check to know the airline doesn’t disqualify me from thos fares because I’m a US citizen?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      One clue for me is the absence of any verbiage of a specific restriction, Kate — and another clue was that I was able to choose from a pop-up menu that I was from the United States at the Argentina site. I had no problem or issue at all.

      Then again — in countries such as Egypt — I have seen restrictions which specifically state that the lower rates for certain attractions are for residents of that country.

  3. G says:

    Pretty sure you have to be a citizen of those countries to get those fares. Happened to me in Argentina…

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Can you please elaborate on what happened to you, G?

  4. Barry Graham says:

    It’s good that you are not advocating pretending to be somewhere where you are not or to be a resident when you are not. It’s important to be truthful when trying to get a good deal and I am glad that you are just that.

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