Tips for Duty Free Shopping

Goods and merchandise sold in duty free shops are, of course, tax-free. However, there are certain things to look out for when  from shopping such stores. You may be tempted to shop for items you don’t really need just because they are cheaper than stores outside of the duty free shop. If you have the privilege to shop inside a duty free store, you will find the following tips helpful and have the most from your allotted budget. If you like to save on your flight with e.g. a last minute ticket, you would also like this way of shopping.

Rules and Limits for goods

For many countries, there is a limit on how much you can purchase from a duty free shop. If you are a frequent traveller, you may reach your duty free limit and you may need to wait another thirty days before you claim your exemption. In short, your purchasing right is limited by existing rules. This is surely disadvantageous on your part especially if you have listed numerous items that you need to buy. However, this is not the case with all other countries. Therefore, you must be aware of the restrictions imposed upon duty free purchases by the country you visit or happen to stop over.

There are also limits when it comes to alcoholic beverages and tobacco. In the United States, you can only buy one litre of alcohol and just a carton of cigarettes. Buying a duty free item in one country may be subject to tax if the traveller entered another country, and it exceeded the allowable quantity or allowed exemptions. So, to benefit from the tax free item, either consume it in the country where the duty free shop is located or do not exceed the allowable exemptions imposed by the country you intend to visit.

When to buy tax free?

Of course, one can save quite a sum when buying items from a store which is duty free. Many duty free shops have a wide variety of merchandise to choose from including alcohol, electronics, cigarettes and jewellery. If you will buy the items upon entering the country and then send them home, the shipping fee can be costly. Hence, it is advisable that you make your purchases at the end of your trip and be the one to bring the items back home. In addition, you will be able to check the prices at the duty free shop upon arrival and compare them with the stores outside the shop and also, with the prices of items back home. However, you have to consider the restrictions imposed by your country, otherwise, you may be taxed upon entering the border.


There are items that have a higher duty rate than others like liquor and cigarettes. It would be best if you buy as much of these items as allowed to maximise your savings. Moreover, there are best deal items sold at prices lower than previously offered. Grab this opportunity since the price might return to the regular offer. You will gain the largest benefit when you buy high luxury items such as fine jewellery and expensive watches at stores which are duty free. Duty free shops are good to visit for these luxury items. It would be better to cross-check the prices of these items with regular stores so that you will know exactly how much you have saved. Popular airports with this service are located in e.g. Panama and Haiti.


Keep the receipt of all the items you have bought from a duty free store. They will come in handy when you pass through the customs station or security later. Not keeping a record of all the purchases you have made can be the cause of delays and hassles upon your return trip. You might end up unable to bring the items back home or pay the usual taxes due to them. Instead of saving money, you’ll end up losing and regretting. Buying goods duty free is beneficial, whether you are a frequent or casual traveller. However, it would be wise to know the custom laws of the countries you intend to visit so that you can determine whether it is better to buy upon entry or during departure.

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