Shopping is something that most of us can’t get enough of. OK maybe ladies love it more than guys do but when we travel, and especially inside airports, we tend to shop for our family and friends. Duty free shops also catch our eyes with beautifully presented stores. Besides, it’s a good way to kill some time while waiting for your flight. Believe it or not there are few airports that is actually good for shopping. I’m not talking about the standard magazines and tacky gift shops but luxury boutiques, duty free arcades and unique gift item shops. Here are some of the best international airports in the world for shopping that are worth arrive at the airport three hours (international) early.
Best International Airports For Shopping
1. O.R. Tambo International Airport Johannesburg (ORTIA), South Africa
ORTIA, formally known as Johannesburg International is one of the leading and most shopping efficient airports of the continent. Shopping at Johannesburg airport’s duty free is a treat for all art collectors, craft lovers, souvenir junkies and bargain shoppers. There are 100 retail stores and 45 restaurants. Both the stores and restaurants have amazing discounts and special offers available for travelers. Johannesburg International Terminal A (Duty Free Mall) is popular for hand-made goods, home decor, animal figurines, leather accessories, painted ceramics and animal skin rugs. Terminal A (Big Five Duty Free) is filled with dine jewelry, tobacco, booze and cosmetics. So if you are looking to pick up a bottle of South African creamy Amarula liqueur, this is the place.
2. Dubai International Airport (DXB), United Arab Emirates
This city is famous for many things from great architectural buildings to top hotels in Dubai. Their airport lives up to its expectation as well. Dubai International Airport has the world’s largest duty free in operation. The space spans over 161,000 square feet across three terminals. Another 58,000 square feet will be added in 2012. The 24-hour duty free shops will cater all your airport shopping needs. There are over 30 superstores offering quality brands such as Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Hermès and Cartier. Shoppers at Dubai International Airport can expect 10% to 15% lower prices than shops in the city. If you like jewelry, you will not be disappointed. Gold is very popular with airport shoppers so take advantage of great prices in necklaces and bracelets at DXB. Lucky spenders may also leave with up to $2 million or a pricey sports car, thanks to airport’s famous monthly raffle draws and giveaways.
3. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), China
Hong Kong International Airport is one of the best airports in more ways than one. Apart from being an architectural wonder, Hong Kong airport is a good place to purchase some extra souvenirs. It is constantly ranked among the world’s best airports. All around, the airport get points for design, passenger flow, accessibility, dining, entertainment (3D theater or a round of golf) and of course, shopping! The airport has 160 shops and 40 restaurants. Duty free shops offer everything from electronics to perfumes but the most appealing are the designer boutiques like Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Prada, Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, Kiehl’s and Versace. What’s great about shopping at Hong Kong International Airport is that it ensures the airport prices remain in line with downtown Hong Kong prices. So if you miss shopping in the city, you can always shop at the Hong Kong International Airport.
4. Heathrow International Airport London (LHR), UK
Heathrow International Airport offers great shopping opportunities for anyone wanting to stock up British brands and souvenirs. There are 84+ stores that includes Gucci, Escada, Dior, Cartier, Harrods, Montblanc, Jimmy Choo and Dixons Travel. In 2008, Heathrow International Airport welcomed the store Harrods in all five terminals, so no matter where you are flying to or landing, you can get your favorite Harrods products. Also, don’t miss the British designers such as Kurt Geiger (Terminals 3 and 5), L.K. Bennet (Terminals 1 and 4) and Mulberry (Terminals 1, 3, 4, and 5). Once shopping is done, enjoy a massage at the Be Relax spa or enjoy a cocktail at Bar 5.
5. Portland International Airport (PDX), USA
Portland International Airport is a reflection of the city itself. It is a quirky airport! There are rows and rows of luxury boutiques where you will be able to find many of the city’s best shops. If you are a book fan who enjoys reading, make sure to check out the famous Portland-based Powell’s Books (Oregon Market and Concourse). Let’s not forget women’s wear McKenzie Shoes & Apparel and brands like Nike and Columbia Sportswear. If you have fans of beer back at home, you can even grab a bottle of beer from one of the 36 breweries. They also have regional wines and other local products. What is great about this city and Portland International Airport is that, it does not have sales tax! What more can you ask for?
6. Frankfurt International Airport (FRA), Germany
Frankfurt International Airport is the largest airport in Europe with 250 businesses and 60 different stores. Terminal 1 will have the broadest selection of stores as most flights arrive at this terminal. You can expect to see shops such as Etro and Hermès, Levi’s and Timberland. There are also high end brands like Lacoste, Gant, Pfüller Kidskonzept, Burberry, Ferragamo, Swarovski and Porsche Design (a subsidiary of the car company that offers design-centric briefcases, watches and even cell phones). So can you possibly pass on this shoppers airport?
If you know of more great shopping airports around the world, don’t forget to share in the comments section below.