Duty Free at the Airport: A Good Deal?

Duty Free at the Airport: A Good Deal?

Joelle Alcaidinho
Jan 12, 2010

Traveling recently, we killed some time in a duty free shop while waiting for our flight to board. We noticed among the many bottles of champagne and fragrance, there were quite a few electronics for sale, which got us thinking about whether buying electronics duty free at the airport was a good deal.

Always on the lookout for great tech bargains, have we been missing out on an awesome source by not shopping duty free at the airport? The most popular items at the duty free shops tend to be alcohol, cigarettes, and fragrance, but since there are electronics for sale, it must mean that someone is buying them.

With the markup on the items for sale at the airport, is duty free really a savings? Avid travelers suggest that in order to get the real duty free bargains you buy in Europe, Asia and Australia within 30 days of departure, and then receive a check for the tax at the airport.

Do people still buy electronics duty free at the airport? Or are these shops relics of an earlier time prior to the advent of online shopping? We would love to hear about your experiences with duty free shopping. Do you shop duty free at the airport? Have you ever purchased electronics at a duty free shop? What do you think is the best way to shop duty free?

(airport image: Flickr user Jpowers65 under license from Creative Commons.)

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