8 Truths about Duty Free Shopping before you Splurge!

You are excited about Duty-free shopping, aren’t you?  It helps you purchase products without having to pay for government levied duties or taxes. You see them at airports, cruise ships and port cities.

The first thing to know about duty-free shopping is that anything you buy in a duty-free store may only be duty-free in that country. You will be surprised to know that many stores actually charge a hidden 7% to 33% extra as state tax while working in a duty-free space. In some countries like Hong Kong, everything is duty-free. So, be cautious before spending on a duty-free store.

How to #SaveMore? Here are 8 ways:-

  1. Duty-Free Is Not Always FREE!

Even though purchases made at duty-free shops are tax-free, the MSRP (Merchandise Suggested Retail Price) could be higher when compared to other retailers. This is because duty free outlets can actually mark up the price of a product while misleading the consumers to believe they are saving on tax.

  1. Every Country has different Import Limits

It is important to know that anything bought at a duty-free store may only be duty-free in that country. In fact, in some cases, you may be liable to pay duty during the return. For example, in India, you can carry goods worth Rs. 45,000 without paying customs duty. Anything above this limit attracts a customs duty of 36%. You also cannot combine the exemption limit for two people.

In the USA, one is allowed to bring up to $800 worth of duty-free goods. However, there is a tax of 30% charged on the next $1000 over the set limit.

  1. Don’t throw your Bills

Don’t throw away all those duty-free bills along the way. Keep them safe because you will need them to declare your shopping if required. When you return to your country of origin, you might need to declare everything you brought, to the immigration officer. So keep all the sales slips in order to be able to clear the customs process comfortably.

  1. Electrical Goods are Tricky! Check them carefully

Electronics goods are typically the cheapest in Malaysia, Singapore, & the USA, and often the most expensive in the UK and Australia. Now even though buying a cool new DSLR camera, tablet, or smartphone overseas can save you some cash, it can also cause some difficulties if you’re not careful. If you are getting big discounts on products, think again. Do you need that product? Will it be used at home? Does it comply with the power sockets in your country? Besides, do not forget that most of these goods cannot be exchanged in another country despite a warranty.

  1. Miles & Transit Vouchers will help you #SaveMore

Several airports offer its frequent travellers transit vouchers to shop at duty-free stores. Changi Airport, for instance, gives its travellers transit vouchers worth $20-$40. Dubai Airport also rewards its travellers with vouchers of their favourite restaurants, etc.

  1. Know Your Shopping Limits

Know which locations offer the best price for the goods you want to buy. You can compare prices at various airports and know the best prices on offer for that same product. For instance, you can use DutyFree.buzz or thedutyfreepriceguide.com to see the duty free prices at those airports and also show you where prices are the lowest.

  1. High-Price items at Lower Rates

It has been observed that the higher the price of the good, better is the savings you enjoy. Think of anything big that you need and try to purchase it at a duty-free store. Passengers should also research the prices of goods they wish to purchase from duty-free, at local stores, to avoid feeling cheated. Spend on hard-to-find wines and spirits in the country of their origin, like Italian wines, etc.

  1. Keep A Check On Multi-Currency Card charges

If you are carrying a multi-currency card, you will be charged for FX conversion and interest rates. Not all cards charge this fee, but for those that do, it’s usually around 3% of the purchase price. For instance, if you are in the UK and have shopped worth $3,000, you will be paying an extra $90 as a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Now that you are armed with these facts, shop wisely the next time you enter a duty-free store.

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