Duty-free Shopping at Airports – Dos and Don’ts

Duty-free Shopping at Airports – Dos and Don'ts

When you have some time to spend before a flight departure, your attention is naturally drawn towards the shiny shelves of the luxe duty-free aisles, glistening with products that call out to you. For some, it is sweet aroma wafting from the chocolate shop and for others, it’s the mélange of fragrances from the perfume shop that tempts the shopaholic within. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind while airport duty-free shopping.

Duty-free Dos

Duty-free Dos

  • Spirits – Alcohol is something shoppers can grab reasonable discounts on. After all, those beautifully packaged duos, sometimes even trios, of your favorite liquors, in a vintage wooden box is a sight too tempting to ignore. So, the next time you get that familiar feeling, rest assured that you will be saving a good deal of money.
  • Cigarettes – Savings can be made in the tobacco department as well. Elsewhere, cigarettes (especially imported) are heavily taxed, so the opportune moment to purchase them is the duty-free aisle. But, one important thing to keep in mind is that these items have strict import regulations in a number of nations.

Duty-free Don’ts

Duty-free Don'ts

  • Cosmetics – The prices of cosmetics are relatively low in one’s own soil. Hence, shopping for such items from the duty-free aisle is only going to drain your pocket. Moreover, with e-commerce being a rage now, procuring these products, even from reputed brands, is possible with the click of a button.
  • Confectionary – So, you’re visiting your little nephews and nieces who sure need to be gifted the good stuff – chocolates, nuts, cookies, even jams. By all means, do so but not from the duty-free aisle! Grab them the next time you make a run to the local grocery store as you will not find them at competitive prices when you shop duty-free. But, then again, the confectionary aisles do see a lot of buyers, so are most customers unaware or is this a strategic move? Most buyers seek convenience and hence, find it easier to purchase these items on-the-go.
  • Electronics – The most popular items purchased from the airport duty-free shopping aisle include cameras, laptops, and headphones. But on proper research, you will come to the conclusion that there really is no difference between the prices offered at the departmental, and e-commerce stores and those offered at the duty-free sections. In fact, you may get a better deal at the stores during periods of sale and discounts.
  • Clothing – Now, clothing is something you don’t really need to buy from a duty-free shop unless of course it’s been manufactured “locally”. Unless you know what’s “local”, simply make an online purchase instead.

Exceptions to the Rules

However, every rule seems to have exceptions, and so does duty-free shopping. For example – French cosmetics, electronics in Asia, and American brands across all categories are cheaper when exiting the country of origin. Moreover, luxury items such as perfumes, handbags, and sunglasses are really a matter of luck. Sometimes, their prices hit rock-bottom and buying them makes for a real steal.

The best way to shop smart is to find imported products and those offering a good deal at duty-free aisles. As you wait for a delayed flight or have some time to kill before it takes off, head to the duty-free section to explore what’s on offer. Happy shopping!


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