A Guide to Duty Free Shopping

A Guide to Duty Free Shopping

Besides exploring new cultures and getting away from your normal life, travelling is good for one more thing: duty free shopping!

This is your chance to score big with great discounts on major brands.


But first, what is duty-free shopping?

At almost every international airport around the world you can find a duty-free shop. You can sometimes even do duty-free shopping online and have your purchases delivered to you while in the plane – no need to set foot in the store.

As you can probably guess from the name, duty-free products can be sold without duty factored into the price. In other words, you don’t have to pay for local import tax. For instance, if you bought products from a duty-free shop at Germany’s Frankfurt Airport, you wouldn’t pay the duty that Germany slaps on imported goods, which normal German stores would normally have to include as part of a product's price.

In some countries there's an additional advantage at duty-free shops which translates into extra savings. Duty-free shopping is also tax-free shopping, where you don’t have to pay value added tax (or V.A.T.). This is a type of sales tax that is normally included in the list price of goods. It depends from country to country but that could mean savings of up to 25 percent.


What products can you buy duty-free?

There is a lot that you can buy-duty free but not everything is a good sale. Cigarettes and alcohol are generally a good bet and you can save a lot of money because they are free from what are usually pretty heavy taxes.

Luxury and designer goods like duty-free jewellery, sunglasses, cosmetics and handbags are another favourite. Not only because of the good prices but because you can often find exclusive items that are only stocked in the duty-free store.

A lot of people also choose their travel time to stock up on electronics like cellphones or tablets, which is a great way to entertain yourself at the airport. Just don’t get too carried away!

No matter what you buy, it is generally a good idea that you do some price comparisons beforehand, especially with items you are not particularly familiar with. Even though you are saving on VAT and duty, you never know if the store is adding an additional mark-up. In general though if you are savvy enough you stand the chance to walk away with some great buys from your travels.


Travel Tip Shared by emilyapple