The items you need to avoid when you go duty-free shopping

Don’t be fooled by duty free shopping, some purchase are better made at home.

The items you need to avoid when you go duty-free shopping

There are savings to be had on the original duty-free staples of alcohol and cigarettes, but some purchases are better made at home.

Here are the items you should not be buying at the duty-free counter.

Chocolates
It isn’t easy to find the enormous Toblerone bars that you regularly see taking up space on the duty-free shelves, but if you really need your chocolate that big, you should definitely shop around. The Toblerone bars are usually 88 per cent more expensive than regular retail price. Regular chocolate purchases are also much cheaper if you buy them at the supermarket.

Biscuits
The price of Tim Tams at Sydney Airport jumped into the headlines last year, when someone noted that one packet was on sale for $26. These prices probably exist to trap tourists, and as a local you should know much better.

duty free timtams

Nuts
While not usually quite as outrageous as chocolates and biscuits, even the humble nut section is still more expensive than bringing your own snacks on board your flight. A small packet of honey roasted macadamia nuts still costs roughly 18 per cent more than the regular retail price.

Wine
While alcohol is one of the best places to save money when doing your duty-free shopping, not all alcohol is equal. You can save heaps on spirits, but if you are a wine drinker it pays to shop around and compare prices. You will almost certainly pay more for white wine, while red wine can be a bit of a mixed bag. Sparkling wine is usually cheaper at duty free, but it is still worth checking before you get to the airport.

Perfume
There may have been a time when it was worthwhile buying perfume from duty free, but now that we have discount pharmacies offering great prices for premium perfume brands, you are able to make bigger savings elsewhere. However, if you are buying your perfume or fragrances from a premium store, you may still find the prices at duty free cheaper than what you usually pay.

Confectionary
Confectionary can be marked up by as much as 150 per cent at the airport. At that price it is probably cheaper to wait until you arrive at your destination and raid your hotel’s mini-bar.

Neck pillows
If you are unprepared, you might arrive at the airport sans neck pillow, see someone sleeping in the airline lounge and have your memory triggered. Be prepared to pay a premium for this mistake. You can buy these pillows for under $10 at home; at the airport, you can expect to pay around $50.

duty free neck pillows

Headphones
It’s possible to purchase headphones at home that are cheaper than the retail price, but you’ll be choosing from a limited selection. You’re better off shopping where there’s a wider variety of products, so you’re not limited to the more expensive brands.

Adaptors
If you turned up for your flight without a pre-bought neck pillow, chances are you’ll also remember power adaptors when its too late. If you go to a discount store you’ll spend half as much on these items compared to buying at the airport.

Electronic goods
There are serious savings to be made on electronic goods with duty free purchases, but if you are looking at these items while you are overseas, it can require a little bit of research as they may not be designed to run on the voltage used in Australia. This might mean the purchase of a bulky transformer and could take a significant chunk out of any savings that you make. You can certainly buy electronic goods, but just make sure that you check the specifications very carefully.

Do you still bother with duty free shopping when you travel? What do you like to buy?

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    COMMENTS

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    Jim
    7th Mar 2020
    7:41am
    Almost never buy anything from duty free shops any more, I bought my wife a tennis bracelet at Sydney airport, stupidly I hadn’t compared the price at the local Angus & Coote which was about 40% cheaper. Depending on which countries you are visiting alcoholic drinks can be much more expensive at the airport, you need to be careful comparing prices, duty free are usually 1litre or more, compared to 750ml, even so duty free is often more expensive than home if there are specials on, if you are in places like Vanuatu there are quite often huge savings, especially if you like single malt.
    SuziJ
    7th Mar 2020
    9:11am
    Why would you purchase anything at the airport when you can purchase it for cheaper during the period before you leave?

    Most electronic gear can be purchased from any good retail shop from The Reject Shop, Kmart, BigW, or any good travel goods shop. Just be aware that the further you get from The Reject Shop the more expensive the cost. Always compare the prices before you settle on where you're going to purchase your items from.

    If you have a list of the items that you take with you when you go on local holidays, then you have your basic list for any overseas holidays. Using a list will alleviate any possible items being left behind.
    ozirules
    7th Mar 2020
    9:25am
    I never buy duty free in Australia. Duty free shops overseas are often cheaper. I took a cruise from Sydney to Vanuatu and found that Bundeberg rum was almost twice the price at the Sydney port duty free shop than it was at Vanuatu.
    Mariner
    7th Mar 2020
    3:21pm
    If you stop in Port Vila, fill up with booze you'll never get it cheaper. They trade in $A so no money changing involved. When flying we buy the stuff at duty free at airports in Australia for pick up on return, do not want to lug the bottles all the way.
    Tanker
    7th Mar 2020
    11:37am
    There is not a genuine duty free shop in any Australian airport. Since there is no duty on Australian wine at all so buy at a liquor outlet and pack it well in your check in luggage you will save a heap. Tobacco prices at the airport are a rip off as are electrical goods. Spirit prices are better than in a liquor store but are still high compared to overseas duty free prices but for reasons unknown to me you cannot carry duty free spirits on to a flight to Australia.
    Overall duty free shops at Australian airports are nuisance as you have to wend your way through the an "Ikea" type maze to get past them.
    Tanker
    7th Mar 2020
    11:37am
    There is not a genuine duty free shop in any Australian airport. Since there is no duty on Australian wine at all so buy at a liquor outlet and pack it well in your check in luggage you will save a heap. Tobacco prices at the airport are a rip off as are electrical goods. Spirit prices are better than in a liquor store but are still high compared to overseas duty free prices but for reasons unknown to me you cannot carry duty free spirits on to a flight to Australia.
    Overall duty free shops at Australian airports are nuisance as you have to wend your way through the an "Ikea" type maze to get past them.
    Yorkie
    7th Mar 2020
    1:37pm
    It is best to look in your local shops for the goods you wish to purchase before you travel, so you can compare prices, as the duty free goods are not always a bargain. On a trip we took from London to Perth my husband bought two bottles of a very expensive single malt whisky and packed them in our suitcases. They were in boxes and very well wrapped in towels in the centre of the cases. Despite this, on arrival we were summoned to the Customs desk as the X-ray showed that one of the bottles had smashed. The suitcase reeked of whisky and all our clothes were soaked. Imagine the look on my husbands face when the Customs officer pulled out my underwear which was soaked in whisky! I had to restrain him from ringing them out! It was funny looking back on it, but a lesson learned. Never pack fragile items in your luggage especially when baggage handlers throw things around and there's a high chance of breakages. We were just lucky we didn't get pulled over for a RBT on the way back home....imagine the smell inside the car and explaining that!
    Eddy
    7th Mar 2020
    9:48pm
    I think 'duty free' is a misnomer, it is more likely GST free and maybe excise free. Most customs duties were abolished with the proliferation of free trade agreements. I have found that the savings buying in 'duty free' stores is hardly worth the trouble.
    Mariner
    9th Mar 2020
    12:57pm
    Beg to differ. Got a quarter bottle of OP Bundaberg for $27.50, Dan Murphy sells it for $89.
    mike
    4th Apr 2020
    3:30pm
    Whilst in Canada, we bought several containers of Canadian pure maple syrup to give as gifts. Found we could bu Canadian pure maple syrup much cheaper at Australian supermarkets


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