Now with many countries having Goods and Services Tax (GST)
or the similar Value Added Tax (VAT) the tax saving advantage of Duty Free on most goods is only 10-15%.
When you buy at airport shops you may be avoiding duty (including sales taxes) but the rents at these stores are astronomic.
The owners reflect the higher rent, and empoying people 24hours by increasing prices
What Is Cheaper?
Generally anything that has extra taxes if you buy outside the airport.
I find spirits and Liqueurs are about 1/3rd cheaper , typically you get a 1 litre bottle for the same cost as a 0.75 litre bottle at my local supermarket.
With wine there may be a little saving, but without comparative pricing you won’t know.
For the smokers tobacco products give a similar saving to spirits.
What’s Not Cheaper
I haven’t bought my wife duty free perfume for 15 years after I found I could have saved about 40% by buying it at the local discount chemist.
I would expect the same would apply to after shave and most cosmetics.
Chocolates and small gifts will be more expensive.
Electrical goods can often be bought at a local discount store at similar prices and if you have any problems warranty claims are much easier to manage.
Before you buy overseas remember that appliances bought in different countries may not be right for your local power.
Tourist Refund Schemes
The last laptop I bought was from an Australian store just before we went overseas. I presented the laptop and the receipt on my way out and got a refund of 15% which I was very happy with.
Other countries may have similar schemes, although not as easy as Australia’s.
My Travel Hacks
- Plan to buy Liqueur, in my case Kahlua.
- Use the Tourist Refund Scheme
- Know my local prices for anything else.