Well there’s perhaps a lot more depth to the saying that travelling opens up one’s mind and exposes you to a whole lot of different things from different perspectives, but one of these little insights only has something to do with the seemingly little-known world of duty-free shopping. Sure, if you’ve flown internationally you’ll know something about those duty-free malls strategically located between the boarding gates and the customs check-points, but who have you ever heard talking about them, including you? Nobody talks about these duty-free malls, perhaps as some sort of honour amongst bargain hunters or something, but yeah, you can get some really good deals to look really good with for less.

It perhaps would have been really nice if you were allowed into that section of the airport housing the duty-free mall if you were stuck at the terminal due to a flight delay, but I suppose it comes with the territory of having access to this little shopping secret only international travellers are seemingly in on. I mean there has to be a catch, right? You can’t just look good with all the international brands and styles for less without there being some sort of catch…

That’s pretty much it with regards to duty-free shopping at the airport — you never quite get the time to spend browsing that you’d really like, resigned to feeling like some yummy carrots are being dangled over your face yet you can’t quite grab a proper hold of them to your heart’s content. One would swear that this is by design, but we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt…

Shop when you depart, not when you return

This is a little secret fashionistas looking to pick up some nice pieces duty-free learn once you’ve travelled quite a bit, that being the fact that it is indeed better to shop when you depart as opposed to when you arrive at your destination, particularly at your round-trip destination. In some airports the duty-free mall is only accessible when you depart, so you might be disappointed to return home and find that you can’t quite get in that last-minute duty-free shopping you were planning for. Shopping when you depart could also mean shopping at the destination you’re heading to, but never leave it for when you return.

Duty-free shopping online

Duty-free shopping online is perhaps the best way to enjoy access to duty-free products like perfumes and fashion items because you can then really take the time to pick what you like out properly. This is a service often made available by airlines as an extension of the duty-free round they have in the aircraft since the products you order online (after purchasing your ticket) are delivered to your seat in the aircraft.

If you have a friend who’s travelling abroad, you can perhaps get them to buy some of the duty-free goods on offer so that you can still look good for less and not have to be the one travelling yourself. Otherwise arrive early at the airport for your flight and check-in early as well through customs so that you’ll have a good period of time before boarding your flight to pick out some good duty-free items.