When you’re in another city and see something you like in a store, your first impulse is likely just to buy it and move on with your vacay. However, there are often many instances where you could have gotten that product cheaper or received some money back on it. To find out how to save as much money on your purchases as possible, check out our list of 6 money-saving tips for shopping on vacation below.
1. BUY THINGS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO THE AREA
There’s nothing worse than purchasing an item from a store like H&M on vacation, only to see it hanging on the sale rack back home. Which is why shopping at places that are unique to the area (like boutiques that carry brands you can’t get in Canada or flea markets) is a much better decision. You’ll also end up coming home with more one-of-a-kind pieces to remember your vacation by!
2. COMPARE PRICES & PRODUCT ASSORTMENT
If you do end up shopping at a store we have at home (or purchasing a brand you know is also sold in Canada) when out of the country, it’s worth looking your potential purchases up online first to see if the Canadian prices are cheaper.
It’s also worth noting that the same store (i.e. Zara) can have different product assortment depending on the country; so if you don’t see the product you want listed on the Canadian site, then go for it!
3. GET YOUR TAX BACK
Did you know that when shopping in an EU country you could likely get a portion of your money back? If you spend a certain amount at a store (the exact amount differs between store), they will be able to grant you a VAT (value-added tax) form. You can then bring this form to the VAT desk the airport and they will refund you the added tax on your purchases back!
4. PAY IN CASH
While credit cards are a super convenient way to pay for and track your purchases when travelling, it’s important to remember that most Canadian credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. So unless you have a credit card for the country you are travelling to (i.e. a US card for when you shop in the US), then cash is the way to go!
In terms of getting your cash, make sure to convert your money before you travel so that you can look for the best possible exchange rate. Also, check with your bank about their policies regarding the use of foreign ATMs, as there is often a fee involved. If you do need to take out money while you’re away, keep in mind that making one large withdrawal will save you more than making lots of smaller withdrawals.
5. LOOK FOR COUPONS
Before you leave for your trip, it’s always a good idea to visit the websites of the stores you plan on visiting, as they will sometimes feature coupons that allow you to get an additional discount on an in-store purchase. You can also often times get an additional discount just by signing up for a store’s emails or downloading their app (which they don’t always tell you about in-store!)
It’s also worth checking out other coupon sites (i.e. Groupon) to see if the stores you’ll be shopping at have any in-store coupons listed there too.
6. SHOP AT TAX-FREE AIRPORT STORES
As any frequent flier knows, making a pit stop into Duty-Free at the airport is a great way to score premium liquor, chocolate, cosmetics and fragrances at great prices.
In terms of fashion, ones of the best airports in the world to shop tax-free is London’s Heathrow Airport, specifically Terminal 3. Here you can find a ton of high-end stores like Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton.
A designer handbag minus the tax? Yes, please!
Do you have any money-saving tips for shopping on vacation? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image: Instagram/@bloomingdales
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