Thursday, November 3, 2016

Is duty-free a real bargain?

With all the worry about lines at the airport, you are advised to arrive early. Doing so means that there is often a lot of time to kill once you get through security. Duty-free beckons, should you answer the call? Only if you are on the return leg of your trip. 

Keep in mind that if you purchase a bottle of alcohol on the trip out it is going to have too many ounces to be carried in your carry-on luggage on the way back so it will need to be checked. Proper wrapping can ensure that it doesn't get broken but that is time-consuming and the price savings may not warrant it.

When you talk about duty-free shops, Shannon Airport in Ireland comes to mind. It is so well known that they even have a catalog so that you can order from them at home, makes you wonder whether the prices are worth parting with your hard earned money for. It is only worth it if it is something that you really need or want. If you are in Ireland you will no doubt find much better deals for local made woolen goods in the rural areas then you will at the airport.

You can purchase Waterford crystal almost anywhere in Ireland and have it shipped home duty-free so you don't really have to wait to do impulse shopping at the airport. Having said that, on my trip to Ireland last fall, I used up all my extra Euros at duty-free and I did find some woolen scarves at a very good price.

Are there reasons to make purchases in the duty-free shops at any and all major international airports? Yes, the major one is last minute gifts. If you are on vacation you may not want to carry gifts around with you on the entire trip. It takes up valuable luggage space and may be perishable. If you are purchasing things such as chocolate, the weather may not be conducive for carrying it around. Melted chocolate isn't something anyone wants.

At Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, you can purchase tulip bulbs that are approved for transport to the United States. This is a big deal since most plants are not allowable for planting in the US. Heathrow offers some very good buys on Wedgwood and Royal Dalton China, not the prices; they are standardized but not having to pay the VAT takes a big chunk off the price. 

If it is something that you were looking to buy anyway then by all mean,s get it at the airport. Even if you don't purchase it is fun to just browse through all the shops that are offering their wares. You need to have your passport with you as well as your boarding pass just in case you decide to make a purchase.

Should you indulge yourself in the duty-free shops? That would be yes and no it really depends on what you are purchasing and the reason for the purchase. Keep in mind that you have a $400 tax-free limit per person if you are an American whether it is duty-free or not, so keep all the receipts.

No comments:

Post a Comment