Savvy Travel Decisions

The World's Preferred Source for Unique and Helpful Free Travel Information...The Best Time to Travel - Weather or Not!


  • Keep up to date on new travel information! Sign up for our monthly newsletter!
     
  • Savvy Travel Decisions respects your privacy and, as such, will only use your e-mail address to inform you of new travel updates monthly. We will never rent, sell, or lease your personal information (name, e-mail) to any third party.


 

  • Should be Empty:

A SHOPPING WE WILL GO: WINDOW SHOPPING!  

                                     
 Copyright by ToonClipart.com

Some travelers find pleasure and often times great reward in shopping in unfamiliar locales. Whether you pay the advertised price or haggle for your newly acquired treasure, you should consider the authenticity of the product purchased, reasonableness of price, taxation consequences, custom restrictions, shipping requirements, and a myriad of other important consumer considerations, not the least of which is being confronted by the unfriendly U.S. Customs officials at your hometown airport. Did your exceed your permissible import limit? It seems somewhat contradictory that you can purchase a German camera, a Swiss watch, French perfume, and two tons of Chinese toys in a single day at home with no hassle, BUT WATCH OUT TRYING TO TAKE THE SAME ITEMS THROUGH CUSTOMS!  Its import duty time!! Get out your purses and wallets! Did you bring back any original art, antiquities, fruits or vegetables? Oh, Oh.

If you covet junk on a vacation, you’ll no doubt find it. Tourist souvenirs are seldom in short supply. You simply MUST purchase gifts for Hazel, your housekeeper back home, granddaughter Millie, and your brother Harry. Some people waste half their vacation time worrying about acquiring the right gift to take home to their friends. With rare exception, the same items you waste time looking for are probably available at home, on E-Bay or are obtainable via the Internet. 

 

In the market for a custom tailored suit?  Hong Kong may be your best choice. By all means avoid shops on Nathan Road that promise one-day turn-around service.  That said, Sam’s Tailor on 90 Nathan Road is reputable for men, Linva, on 38 Cochrane, for women.  Anything costing under $700 and you’ll probably receive inferior materials and tailoring.  Be sure to specify details as to lapel width, shoulder pads, size of buttons, etc.

 

The better tailors tend to be along Hong King’s Tsim Sha Tsui area or Central.  

 

 

 

If you are visiting South Africa, you may wish to search for a good buy on diamonds.   Seven million carats of diamonds are mined annually in South Africa.  It's buyer beware:  You should consider the five C’s:  color, clarity, cut, carat weight and a certificate issued either by the European Gemological Laboratory or the Gemological Institute of America, when diamond searching and deliberating whether or not to purchase.  Choose your diamond outlet carefully or you may not get the gem you were hoping for.  Diamond brokers in Capetown tend to demand higher prices than those in Johannesburg or Franschhoek. 

 

 

The Murano district in Venice is hard to beat for its detailed handmade glassware.  Look for vases, chandeliers, wine glasses. Be sure that the label reads "Vetro Artistico Murano."  Avoid trinket shops that also sell glassware.

 

 

Buddhist statuary is currently the rage.  Bali is a great place to buy it.  Avoid the high priced galleries around Kuta and Seminyak.  Look for statuary made of Yogyakarta white stone.  Pricing for a small stone figure or carving should be around $30 - 35.

 

 

Another currently hot item are metallic lanterns.   Marrakech is the place:  prices are as low as $70 compared to $525 back home!  Check out Place des Ferblantiers in the Melliah Quarter of Marrakech.  Mustapha Blaoul is one of the better shops. 

 

 Avoid purchasing ivory, coral and tortoiseshells - more often than not, these items will be seized by customs inspectors. 

 

 

Shopping can be an art.  It also can be a disaster.  Be cautious flashing large wads of cash in public.  Exercise caution where you choose to use your credit cards.  To avoid unpleasant post-purchase surprises, demand paid receipts listing the total purchased price.  If you intend to use credit cards for payment of goods in foreign countries, ascertain before you leave on vacation, the current exchange rate assessment and fees by your credit card issuer in each visited nation on your itinerary, as well as the merchant, hotel, or restaurant where you are likely to utilize credit.  Too much effort?  It’s your money to burn.  Spend it as you wish.

 

 

DUTY FREE?  FACT OR FICTION?  UNTANGLING THE MYSTERY: 

 

When traveling you spot a shop offering “Duty Free Merchandise.”  A good deal? 

 

It depends.  If it's an item heavily taxed at home, like liquor, tobacco, perfumes, watches, designer bags, then yes. 

 

On the other hand, is there a limit on how much you can bring back home?  To save, however, how much effort are you willing to endure, like lugging heavy liquor bottles through airports?

 

Most "Duty Free Shops" are in airports.  Most will allow you to order online two - four weeks prior to your departure flight and to pick up the items the date of your flight.

 

In most instances, the following criteria apply to Duty Free purchases:

*     Must have been out of the country a minimum of 48 hours. 

 

*  .  You are permitted  to bring back $800 (per person) in “Duty Free” Merchandise.

 

*     You can ship $200 of the $800 limit merchandise home.

 

 

DO NOT TRY TO CARRY LIQUIDS (INCLUDING LIQUOR) ON BOARD THE PLANE-IT WILL BE CONFISCATED !

(REMEMBER THE LIQUID RESTRICTIONS!!!)

 

 

Copyright by ToonClipart.com 

 

 

*      Try not to exceed $800, otherwise you will be paying  duty on the excess over $800!

 

*      Duty free items must be available for inspection along with Purchase Receipts.

 

 Further details: www.chp.gov

 

If you are visiting South Africa, you may wish to search for a good buy on diamonds.  Seven million carats of diamonds are mined annually in South Africa.  It's buyer beware:  You should consider the five C’s: color, clarity, cut, carat weight and a certificate issued either by the European Gemological Laboratory or the Gemological Institute of America, when diamond searching and deliberating whether or not to purchase.  Choose your diamond outlet carefully or you may not get the gem you were bargaining for. Diamond brokers in Capetown tend to demand higher prices than those in Johannesburg or Franschhoek. 

 

The Murano district in Venice is hard to beat for its detailed handmade glassware.  Look for vases, chandeliers, wine glasses.  Be sure that the label reads "Vetro Artistico Murano."  Avoid trinket shops that also sell glassware. 

 

 

Buddhist statuary is currently the rage.  Bali is a great place to buy it.  Avoid the high priced galleries around Kuta and Seminyak.  Look for statuary made of Yogyakarta white stone.  Pricing for a small stone figure or carving should be around $30-35. 

 

 

Another currently hot item are metallic lanterns.  Marrakech is the place:  prices as low as $70 compared to $525 back home!  Check out Place des Ferblantiers in the Melliah Quarter of Marrakech.  Mustapha Blaoul is one of the better shops. 

 

 

Avoid purchasing ivory, coral and tortoiseshells.  More often than not, these items will be seized by customs inspectors.  These items are very protected. 

 

Shopping can be an art.  It also can be a disaster.  Be cautious flashing large wads of cash in public.  Exercise caution where you choose to use your credit cards.  To avoid unpleasant post-purchase surprises, demand paid receipts listing the total purchase price.  If you intend to use credit cards for payment of goods in foreign countries, ascertain before you leave on vacation, the current exchange rate assessment and fees by your credit card issuer in each visited nation on your itinerary, as well as the merchant, hotel, or restaurant where you are likely to utilize credit.  Too much effort?  It’s your money to burn.  Spend it as you wish.