That cheap Duty Free Whisky – where is it?

Duty Free Whisky, the best price? So now you know! That duty-free shopping comparison site or blog has just told you that you can save $10 on a bottle of famous brand Aged Whisky in Romania*.

Duty Free Whisky
Best price for Duty Free Whisky, but is it on the other side of the world to your travel plan?

Great news, let’s change our travel plans from Barcelona to Bucharest and swallow up that $10 saving by buying our favourite brand when we get there!

Or, should we get-real, ignore these web content generating stories and be serious about what we want to buy and how?

In fact, the best place in the world to buy duty free whisky is Brazil, but not because of the price. Brazil and many other South American countries have Duty Free Arrivals stores in the airport designed to encourage business. Many of these countries allow an extra allowance and limit when you get there.

Duty Free Whisky on Arrival
Cases of Duty Free Whisky ready for you at the arrivals Duty Free Store

In Brazil you can take up to 12 bottles of alcohol into the country duty free, if you buy in their stores.

The price is probably more expensive than Romania (sic), but they wouldn’t let you import this Limit anyway.

Economies of scale, spring to mind. But, how many Tourists are really going to buy 12 bottles and take them into Brazil? Only the locals who can save a fortune and gift to their friends.

The purpose of our cynicism is that comparing prices for duty free liquors is often a fruitless exercise, because if you ‘aint going there, the savings these comparison blogs tell you about are completely irrelevant.

Most potential buyers of Duty Free goods, know what they want for their journey and actually, the availability of their chosen brand is the most important issue. Not the saving of a few Dollars in an airport on the other side of the world.

We see searches daily, where people are looking for their favourite brand, not the best price.

Clearly, if you can save money, treat yourself and buy a nice tipple for your vacation or that balcony overlooking the Med, all well and good. But, this is only done by checking the stores and products available en-route.

Duty Free Cognac
Duty Free Cognac, high priced, but still cheaper than at home. Don’t get it confiscated!

The other important matter for “liquids in transit” is to ensure that you don’t get your prize Duty Free Cognac or Whisky confiscated. There is nothing more galling than getting your bargain, then to have some officious security guard take it off you at the airport scanner.

Nobody will be more delighted than Duty Free on Arrival if you find the bargain you want and get it home safely, but we suggest that you search by store and in conjunction with your travel itinerary and not by the best price, quoted by a comparison site trying to just generate web traffic.

There are many discounts to be found in Duty Free stores and many advantages, but if you are “not going that way”, those comparisons are useless***. Try to focus on your destination, your travel plan and the stores available to you, it will pay dividends in the end.

Whatever you buy and where and whoever you listen to, one key point….

Duty Free Security
Get that STEB Security bag.

– Make sure you get your goods packed in a special airline security STEB bag. This needs to be sealed, clear and show your receipt inside and on view.

If your airport store or airline doesn’t want do this or makes some excuse…. for sure, make sure that you are not connecting flights. Otherwise, you have got a probable issue.

The other logical step is to buy on arrival, then the potential problem is removed completely, because there is no security in the baggage claim area**.

Otherwise, that super deal you just found, could end up in a bin at at airport somewhere and you seriously irked at losing those savings. We see hundreds of posts on travel forums where people gave the benefit of the doubt when not getting the proper security bag from the store.

All this can be checked before you fly at our main Duty Free Directory.

Enjoy your Whisky, Cognac or Wine!

*We used this as a lyrical example, not because there is any reality to our quote. In fact, there are restrictions on Duty Free shopping in this country, in or out. See our directory for more details. **Australia is an exception, be careful when taking liquids into Australia from other airports. ***See this post explaining Tax Free shopping and the comment made below by an outsider! The poster discussed our poor web SEO, but never mentioned the subject or context of the discussion. Are such blogs in the Duty Free business or the SEO business? And, who controls the business, the search engines or the Travel Retailers?
Internacional: Para buscar tiendas libres de impuestos, catálogos y precios, ingresa tu ciudad o país de destino y haga clic "Go". Cuando encuentre la información de su destino haga clic en el icono rojo de Aduanas para la búsqueda restricciones aduaneros. 

Para encontrar lojas duty free e os preços, inserir destino, click e Go! A cota de isenção alfandegária refere-se ao seu país de chegada e não ao país de partida. Os regulamentos alfandegários podem ser encontrados clicando no botão aduaneiro para a esquerda ou procurando seu país de destino.

Can you really buy that Duty Free Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy?

The whole world is an addict when it comes to smartphone use and the online search for that better iPhone deal goes on and on.

But can you really buy that Duty Free Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy at discount prices? And should you?

Duty Free iPhone
Is it a good deal?

The simple answer is no, or at least think twice and very carefully before you buy. And, certainly be cautious for the Apple iPhones, iPads or laptops, who are a maestro global marketing Firm and know exactly how to keep stability for their market and prices*.

True, Samsung seem to have slightly more price variances, but in reality these global companies are very good at levelling their prices around the world.

And, even if a Duty Free price comparison website tells you that you can save +/-$100 dollars or so in New York or Newfoundland, are you really going to change your travel plans and fly there just to save a few Dollars?

Duty Free Apple iPhone
Duty Free shopping for Apple in airports… what’s the advantage?

Let’s get real, travelers fly for business or tourism, they don’t fix their trip to buy a cellphone. Yes, they want to shop and if they find a bargain on the way, all well and good. But, iPhone round the world airtickets are not widely used, yet!

In fact, mobile phones can be cheaper in some airport stores, but this has nothing to do with Duty Free. The phrase “duty free” is widely mis-used by many comparison sites, so to infer that there are bargains to be had. Often the information supplied and the detail is irrelevant or inaccurate, especially when it comes to recovering Tax.

Let us explain some of the ins and outs. To help your thinking before you fly to Hong Kong or Honolulu in search of that elusive Apple bargain, just because a price comparison site has told you it will be much cheaper.

– Firstly, there isn’t any (Excise) Duty on smartphones, so it doesn’t matter where you buy one, they are already Duty Free. Duty-Free applies to liquor or tobaccos, not to electronics.

– Electronics have local Sales Tax on them and in some countries an extra “import duty”, which is why they can be more expensive in countries with high tariffs for luxury goods. (Brazil and India would be likely examples).

– The global smartphone trading currency is almost certainly US Dollars, so the bargain you are looking for depends very much on your home currency compared to the Dollar.

– If your country of residence has high import duties and a weak currency, your price at home will be expensive and will go up or down with the Dollar rate. But, just the same, you need to buy Dollars, Euros, Yen or Pounds to buy one abroad and if your currency is already weak against these currencies, what’s the gain?

– Either way you are stuck with your weak currency against their high Dollar price, so wherever you buy, all you are really doing is gambling on the exchange rates.

– If the comparison site shows all the different retail prices in US Dollars, this is not a fair comparison at all because London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Paris or Rome etc etc do not work in Dollars, they all have their own floating exchange rate. So this just distorts the real costs and value to your circumstances.

– Anything you buy in an airport when you travel abroad, is sold both Duty Free and Tax Free, these taxes are deducted for you in the stores and the discounts are included in the price already.

– Downtown on your travels, the price will probably include Tax, normally local retail sales tax, such as VAT, GST or in the US sales taxes. So somehow, you need to recover this with a Tax Refund to actually achieve the discount.

– The next thing to watch out for, is whether these retail sales taxes are actually included in the price, or added on later at the check-out?

Duty Free Samsung
Duty Free Samsung store, is the sales-tax deducted or added on at the check-out?

– A price comparison site might say that an iPhone in California is $700, but did they correctly tell you that around 9.5% will be added when you buy?

– This makes your cheap iPhone around $760 and not the $700 quoted on the price comparison site.

– Can you get this retail sales Tax back when you buy abroad and if so where? This is even more complicated to work out and only a Global Travelers Tax Refund Firm, like Global Blue can properly advise you on your specific case.

The Duty Free on Arrival global shopping database was launched in 2009. We are here to provide rational thinking and to alert you to the pitfalls, before you shop. Our job is to trigger caution before you travel.

We are not here to promote one store or another, because we are travelers too and all we want to do is be prepared, before we shop. Just like you do.

Other factors to consider when looking abroad to buy a cellphone.

-Is the phone unlocked for your network at home? Or is there a 12 month or usage time limit on unlocking?

-What is the guarantee on the product, is this global and can you insure it at home?

-Where would you need to return it to if you have a problem?

-What other languages are on the phone's built in software?

-If you try to encrypt your phone, what language does it default to?

-Does your home country have Customs restrictions on the import of phones bought abroad? In some countries you must prove a home network connection if stopped on arrival.
*There is no suggestion that any Global phone Company directly fixes or manipulates prices, all they do is try to level them where possible to ensure market stability for their products.

**We believe that the price comparison websites could be incorrectly reporting for their own benefit, not for the real benefit of their readers. But we have seen some that do not correctly report the actual Tax situation.

***Duty Free on Arrival does not hire "content writers" for our site, we write from personal experiences after 30+ years of working with Duty Free shops
Internacional: Para buscar tiendas libres de impuestos, catálogos y precios, ingresa tu ciudad o país de destino y haga clic "Go". Cuando encuentre la información de su destino haga clic en el icono rojo de Aduanas para la búsqueda restricciones aduaneros.

Para encontrar lojas duty free e os preços, inserir destino, click e Go! A cota de isenção alfandegária refere-se ao seu país de chegada e não ao país de partida. Os regulamentos alfandegários podem ser encontrados clicando no botão aduaneiro para a esquerda ou procurando seu país de destino.

búsqueda-pesquisa: celular, celulares fones, movil, smartfone, phones, smartphone, iphone, android, saumsung, apple

Duty Free perfume – find your brand at the right price

Duty Free perfume, can you find your brand at the right price and where?

The web is loaded with sites claiming to sell Perfume at Duty Free prices and trying to find a real bargain is a minefield of research. That’s before you get to the airport or on your flight!

The reality is that pricing for Perfumes or Cosmetics in most airports around the world is relatively standardised. The only real variance is your exchange rate and this depends on where you live.

Duty Free Perfume
Duty Free Perfume Store Jakarta airport Indonesia – prices in airports are much the same

In fact, there is really no such thing as duty free perfume at all, because fragrances only attract local sales taxes, such as VAT in most of Europe (otherwise known as BTW, TVA, IVA or MwSt). In other parts of the world they call it simple Sales Tax (sometimes RST or GST).

99% of the time, there is no “Excise Duty” at all on perfume products, so Tax Free Perfume is really a more accurate description.

Perfume Duty Free
Dedicated Airport Tax Free Perfume store – Changi Singapore

How much is the Tax on perfume and how much can you save in the airport or on your airline? The highest sales tax we can find is in Scandinavian Countries, Hungary or Croatia, reaching up to 27% added to the base price. But many countries like Gibraltar, Andorra or Panama have little or no tax on luxury goods. This is where you will find the real bargains.

One thing to watch out for in domestic stores when comparing, is whether the Sales Tax is automatically included in the price or added on at the cash point. In most of Europe, the tax is already included in the price, in The USA it is added on afterwards. But, this could distort any price comparison you may try to make before your journey.

Generally speaking, The USA often has the most competitive prices in the world for Perfumes and there are numerous discount stores selling older and sometimes current brands at very low prices.

The most expensive? Countries with low currency value and/or high import taxes on luxury products. Brazil is a good example of this, where relative to the local wages, luxuries like fragrance or cosmetics are very expensive.

Buying Perfume online? This is another minefield, especially if you buy and need to have your goods shipped across borders to your home country. Are you going to get stung by Customs for import tax?

It would seem that the best online prices can be found at British or American online stores, so if you are travelling to these countries you could perhaps order and have the goods delivered to your hotel.

Airline in-flight stores and airport duty free shops do have bargains, but you should research in advance and pick over the brand selection first. One important bonus when shopping in the real duty free* perfume market, is that the bottle sizes are usually larger.

Duty Free Perfume bottle
Duty Free Perfume bottles often larger at the airport

The price for your perfume in the air might look much the same as in that downtown store, but often the Travel Retail size is slightly bigger.

This gives you an advantage and a price saving against the High Street or online retailers. They also do specials and exclusives, not available downtown.

And, you get the goods in-hand, no need to wait for delivery.

Once again, we offer similar advice to many other Duty Free product categories –

Check your perfume prices in advance, direct with the Duty Free store and make your own comparison.

– Be wary of online comparison sites that might not compare like-with-like.

– Double check the bottle sizes available, when you compare and browse.

– Make sure that you get your purchases packed in an Official STEB Airline Security Bag. Otherwise you might risk confiscation whilst in-transit.

Internacional: Para buscar tiendas libres de impuestos, catálogos y precios, ingresa tu ciudad o país de destino y haga clic "Go". Cuando encuentre la información de su destino haga clic en el icono rojo de Aduanas para la búsqueda restricciones aduaneros.

Para encontrar lojas duty free e os preços, inserir destino, click e Go! A cota de isenção alfandegária refere-se ao seu país de chegada e não ao país de partida. Os regulamentos alfandegários podem ser encontrados clicando no botão aduaneiro para a esquerda ou procurando seu país de destino. 
Fake Perfume
Highly unlikely!
*Genuine Product- Fake Perfume: Duty Free on Arrival sees many blogs, comments and also receives numerous emails suggesting that people have allegedly been sold fake perfumes in an airport.

**Airport retailers and certainly airline shops work together with Official Concessionaires, the Brand Owners and also The Airport Authorities. It is just not conceivable that these professional and compliant Organisations would indulge in such a practice.

***On the very rare occasion that a Consumer might believe that the product is not genuine.. there is a simple adage. "If it looks too cheap then it is too good to be true"! Likewise, Fakes almost always make a spelling mistake on the packaging... so check before you buy!

Shopping for GoPro Duty Free in airport shops, are Cameras good value?

To compare GoPro Duty Free prices, or for any other digital camera is about as complex and often as meaningless as it gets, because there are so many different factors to consider.

Comparing prices for cameras across global airport shops, is a somewhat irrelevant exercise because most people will not change their flights just to get a digital bargain. Not even to get that shot of a spectacular travel location, like Iguazu Falls in Brazil.

So, even if a GoPro Duty Free price or that Canon, Nikon or Sony digital camera is cheaper in the Hong Kong airport stores, how many people are going to actually change their itinerary and fly to Hong Kong to buy one? Very few!

GoPro in Duty Free Border Stores
Iguazu the ideal location for that GoPro Duty Free spectacular. Border Free Shops between Argentina and Brazil sell cameras

The most important issue is to be able to check before you fly for the duty free stores en route to your destination and the rules applicable to your journey. The only proper way to do this is to find and study the pre-order duty free websites for your trip and this is exactly what we do to help you.

Here’s an example of the information we provide for your destination, where our various search pages for Singapore shopping help you to find all the relevant stores and if available their store links. On this page you can track down “iShop Duty Free”, Singapore Changi airport’s very own shopping portal.

You will also find the Duty Free Allowances applied for Customs on arrival. Remember, you might buy a camera at a bargain price in Miami airport duty free, but then find you are over the Customs limit when you arrive in Singapore. All these factors need to be considered and they all make the comparing of prices difficult.

Tax Free Singapore
Duty Free Electronics store Singapore. The local GST sales tax is already deducted in airport stores.

Most important of all GoPro or other digital cameras are not “Duty Free” at all, they are actually “Tax Free” which means that they only have the local sales tax deducted in airports. There is quite a difference between the terms Tax Free or Duty Free shopping and often the saving is not much great than your local downtown store at home.

Tax Refund Service
Buy a GoPro in Thailand? Tourist Shopper tax refund service pays the taxes in cash at the airport.

There is another method to buy Tax Free and that is to reclaim the local sales tax on your purchase when you return home. This is known as the tax-refund scheme and is available to many global long-haul travelers.

This is often a better method to get the best prices on a camera, because it means you can shop at your leisure downtown, rather than when rushing through the airport.

Global Blue is the world’s largest tax refund service for tourists travelling around the globe, there are many other alternative schemes, also featured on our information pages. Many Countries, like Thailand (featured photo), run their own service and in Bangkok instant cash is returned to you at the airport, even if you bought your goods by credit card.

So overall camera shoppers?

Check before you fly and find the local stores on your planned itinerary, Duty Free, Tax Free or Downtown

Make sure of your Duty Free allowances, back into your home country and also into your various destinations

Check to see if you qualify to receive the Tax Free shopping refund and  get paid in cash at the airport on your way home

Ask your store about the worldwide guarantee and returns policy on Duty Free goods, bef0re you buy

Global shopping for electronics is not easy, hopefully we have added some good tips and pointers, before you leave home.

Overall conclusion, if you are not sure that you can save more than 20% on your travels, buy at home and be re-assured that you are happy and familiar with your camera before you travel. At least then you will get those spectacular shots and can easily return your camera if you experience any unexpected issues with it.

*In Britain and certain other countries there is an airport store chain called Dixons Travel this gives you a very good guideline to products and prices, because currently the UK has some of the cheapest electronic prices around the world. Plus, due to “Brexit” the Pound has dropped, so prices in Britain are cheaper than ever, especially for those with Dollars, Yen or Euros to spend.