When travelling overseas, you’ll no doubt feel the need to bring home some souvenirs. If the exchange rate is in your favour, you may even be tempted to splurge and go on a shopping spree. In both cases, you’ll want to make the most of your money. Next time you travel, try out these tips for shopping overseas.
1 Know What to Shop for
Before travelling overseas, consider items that are unique to each destination. For example: Australia for opals, Dubai for gold, China for pearls. Find out about the kind of shopping that will be on offer. Is the destination known for market finds and unique pieces, or is it popular for boutique shopping and designers goods? Are you after the experience or a bargain? These kinds of questions will help hone your shopping plan of attack.
2 Check Local Currencies
Knowing what the current exchange rates are will help in budgeting for your trip. If your dollar is strong against the local currency, you’ll have room to play around with your money. If your dollar is weak, it may be helpful to implement a budget. Also, carry a pocket calculator around with you for quick currency conversions!
3 Do Your Research
Research your destination. This can help you save a lot of time and effort. If you’re interested in a more authentic experience, search for local markets that you could visit. If you’re after a more refined shopping experience, look into boutique shopping destinations and malls. Also look for reviews from fellow travellers who may be able to give first hand accounts of their shopping experiences.
4 Shop Where the Locals Shop
In the more popular holiday destinations, shops may be targeted towards the tourist trade. This often means that prices are inflated. To make the most of your money, find out where the locals do their shopping. But be warned, if it’s obvious that you are a tourist, you may still encounter some inflated prices! It’s not always foolproof, but it’s worth a try.
5 Learn to Barter
In some shopping destinations, bartering is almost always expected. Think of places like markets or bazaars. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the best bartering technique. At the end of the day, if you are happy with what you bought and feel comfortable with what you paid, then that’s all you can really ask for.
6 Consider Shipping and Duty Costs
When buying large and bulky items it is important to consider the cost of packaging, shipping, and insurance. Sometimes this may cost more than the item itself! Also look into customs, taxes, and other important regulations associated with bringing in goods. For example, if you buy antiques in China, you’ll need to have the appropriate paperwork to bring them home. Really consider whether the item is worth all of the possible extra costs.
7 Don’t Forget Duty Free
Duty-free stores are retail outlets that do not apply to local or national taxes and duties. For this reason the prices of items are relatively cheaper than usual. They are often found in the international zone of international airports, however, stores can also be found in major city centres. Popular duty-free items include liquor, perfume, and makeup. Different regions will have different rules pertaining to duty-free, so it’s best to find these out first.
What are your best tips for shopping overseas? Did you find any of these helpful?
Top Photo Credit: Michael McDonough
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