When I first started traveling, I was under the impression that Duty Free Shops were a bargain. However, according to a story on CNN, bargains might not always be the case when you shop at airports. As such, it is best to do some research before you shop on your travels. I was rather shocked, as a shopper myself, to know that these shops does not exist to provide travelers with a service and a deal but to make cash for themselves. Similar to huge discount stores, prices in general are better but not always cheaper. At worse, there are products that rely on impulsive buyers, which helps Duty Free make their profit.
Things Not To Buy From Duty Free Shops
1. Children’s Products
I am not sure how many of you have noticed but the cuddly soft toys and other toys at duty free are a poor value for money. They are in pieces by the time your child gets home anyway. These soft toys are designed to be purchased to satisfy your crying kids. So they are in bulk. I am sure you can get the same Winnie The Pooh outside the airport for much cheaper.
Clothing at airports are just ridiculously priced. In most cases, you have a better chance in buying the same cloths online or from a discounted store for much cheaper. Not to mention, if you buy it as a gift for someone, the chance of returning it might be harder. So if you ever forgot a jacket for yourself or a t-shirt for someone at your destination, wait until you reach your destination and go to a department store.
In most cases, electronics really don’t offer great deals. You should just buy that flat screen TV or microwave at your local appliance store or from Amazon. One thing that most of you might not realize is that the latest products don’t appear in Duty Free as soon as they are released. So you will end up paying a higher price for an older model. Only exceptions for electronic products are things like Apple products, cameras and laptops, which all have fixed prices.
4. Foreign Exchange
If you don’t carry major currencies such as British Ponds, US Dollars or Euros, and if you are not holding a large amount, you might as well spend it rather than exchanging. Foreign exchange at airports give a low rate with a higher commission. So there is no real advantage in changing that 50 Yens you have in your pocket. It is better to spend it or exchange when you reach your destination.
5. Sweets / Chocolates
Sweets and chocolates are sold in Duty Free Shops in ‘travel packs‘. This is because it is one of the most generic product a travel can buy. Most of them offer a poor value considering the same brands of sweets and chocolates are less pricy in supermarkets outside the airport. You will see promotions as well from time to time but still you will be able to get the same product at home less price in higher quantity.
Next time you travel, plan better and know better about products you want to buy, and which ones to NOT buy from Duty Free shops.