Duty free is an extra perk to travelling abroad. It allows us to grab our favourite perfume, make-up, alcohol and designer goodies tax (VAT) free.
Although you can expect to find good deals at the airport, you may not get the best prices. To help you get your must-haves for the best prices, we share our tips to shopping duty free.
Go armed with an expectation of price
Before heading out on your holiday, prepare a list of what it you want to get at the airport. Then conduct a search to get an idea of RRP and see if there are any current deals or sales running. This is the price you’ll want to base your decision on when at the airport.
It also helps to have a list prepared in advance so you don’t get bedazzled by offers when you’re there and use all your spending money at the airport.
We would recommend taking a look at allbeauty.com which source their products at discounted prices and cover the VAT/taxes for you. Home outlet stores such as The Cosmetics Company often negotiate with huge beauty brands such as Estee Lauder, Bobby Brown, and Mac to offer you luxury beauty products at a fraction of High Street retailers- even the airport can’t compete with prices like this!
Are you travelling internally?
If you’re travelling within the EU there will be a number of products you’re exempt from purchasing tax-free (mostly certain alcohol and tobacco products). It is unclear as yet if this will be the case once we’ve come out of the negotiation phase for Brexit.
There is still an extensive range available with discounts even if travelling within the UK or EU, just be sure to check the labels (blue means for everyone, green for those travelling internationally) or with a store representative before you buy if it is a make or break price. Don’t just assume that because you’re at the airport you’re getting a good discount.
Are you concerned about baggage allowance?
If there are a few things you’d like to get at the airport but don’t fancy lugging it around, or you’d like to keep any free space for holiday purchases, take advantage of the airport shop and collect service. Most airports offer this service allowing you can secure all your favourite items and collect it on your return home. To do so, ask the clerk to organise this for you, and they’ll provide you with a receipt, reference, and advise you of the process to collect your items when you get back.
Did you know you can reserve your favourite products in advance of your flight?
You can shop from World Duty Free before you even leave for the airport. You simply enter your departure details, select the items you’d like to reserve and collect your items at the airport.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the World Duty Free site, you can contact the World Duty Free customer services team at your departures airport, with at least 48 hours notice before you travel, to reserve the items you want. It makes shopping duty free a doddle and allows you to browse the other great discount stores or enjoy a leisurely meal when you get there.
You can also take advantage of a personal shopper
Some airports even have a personal shopping service to allow you to make the most of your duty free shopping time. They can be your personal stylist and help you pick out a whole new wardrobe. They can also take you between terminals if you’re wanting to visit a specific shop that isn’t in the terminal you’re scheduled flight is from. There is a minimum spend requirement for this service to be provided but have a chat with the team to see if this is something they can provide for you.
Consider your end destination
If you’re visiting the USA for example, most states have outlet retail centres offering the best discounts on some of the biggest brands in beauty and fashion. The discounts are so good that duty free cannot compare! Enjoy brands such as Michael Korrs, Coach, Burberry, Sketchers, Nike, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, etc. for unbelievable prices.
Be cautious though. When travelling internationally, you are restricted on the value of goods you can bring back into the country. If you exceed the limit, you’ll have to declare your purchases to Customs and pay VAT on your return.
Something else to bear in mind: If your looking to make a purchase on a home brand like Burberry, you’ll not necessarily be getting it cheaper abroad as the stores will have to pay to import the goods in the first place. Again by understanding what the RRP is, you’ll have a good idea on whether you’re getting yourself a good deal.
We hope our duty free guide has proved helpful! We sure do love to get the best price on our favourite items and we’re sure you do too. If you’ve any tricks of the trade, we’d love to hear from you! Share your tips in our comments below.