Duty free is where you go when you want to spend your leftover foreign currency before heading for home. Usually, this happens in the airport which also serves as the border between countries. No matter if you want that or not, you inevitably walk into a duty-free shop to spend your remaining $20 or $50 before embarking on your plane. It’s not like you don’t have a choice, you can always exchange your remaining foreign currency, but grabbing something rather cheap seems like a better idea. Nevertheless, there are some people who actually plan to buy certain things from duty-free shops in the airport because they know for sure they’re cheaper and might get a good value for their money. So, if you’re one of those travelers who have spent a considerable sum of money at duty-free shops around the world and wondered whether you made a good choice and they’re actually as cheap as they seem, then look no further. We’ll explain how duty-free work and why they’re so famous for being the cheapest alternative at buying “good stuff” from a foreign country.
How does duty free work?
Duty-free works by selling goods and products without any tax addition. This is why they’re called “duty-free”, or free of any kind of duty, be it VAT, different fees or taxes normal shops have to pay for every product they sell. Duty-free shops are usually found in the international airport terminals, but also at other kinds of border crossings. Prices are indeed lower, mostly because they’re free of taxes, but you should also be aware of what you’re buying and make sure you are entitled to that price reduction and the deal is a fair one from all points of view.
Of course, as with anything in this world, some duty-free shops are better than others and you’ve got to be a versed traveler and airport dweller to know all the works of duty-free. The most sought-after duty-free products are cigarettes, wine, beer or any kind of liquor, but before buying all this stuff, you need to make sure you are allowed to transport all of these items. Moreover, there is something called “duty-free eligibility” which depends on the country you’re traveling to or from and if you’ve stayed long enough in one destination. For example, people traveling outside the European Union are eligible for duty-free goods in the UK. Those who are traveling within the UK or EU are not eligible and have to pay the usual taxes: VAT and certain UK fees. So, basically, you can’t just make a quick trip to the airport to buy cheaper cigarettes and then head home to catch the latest Manchester United football match. That would have been wonderful, right?
The reason for duty-free products is that you don’t actually pay two different kinds of taxes for the same product. For example, if you buy $200 worth of wine in France in order to bring it to the US, you pay the taxes for it in France and then also when you arrive in the US. To avoid this kind of troubles, duty-free shops have been “invented”.
What are the best duty free deals?
Well, alcohol and cigarettes are a good idea. (when it comes to duty-free shops, not as a rule in life, don’t get us wrong!). Why cigarettes and alcohol? Because, usually, they are subject to the most considerable taxes almost everywhere on the globe. So, if you’re planning on buying something considerable, not paying that specific country’s taxes or your own could be good for your budget. Depending on the country you’re traveling to, you might also find really good deals, such as souvenirs, smartphones, laptops, specific sweets and all that. If you’re a real deal-hunter, then you’ll surely find the best deals to make your vacation even more pleasurable. You should always read “the instructions” carefully! You should be aware of the quantity of alcohol you can get out of a country and into another and so on.
All these being said, we hope your next trip is ready to begin and that you’ll have a good time and may the best duty-free deals be on your side!