15 Things to Buy From Duty-Free

If you’ve ever flown abroad or even passed through an international terminal, you’ve probably passed through the brightly-lit consumer paradise of duty-free shops! For those of you who wonder what a duty-free shop is, it’s that store that sells all kinds of stuff for which a local import tax or fee placed on goods by the government won’t be included.

Naturally, buying products in a duty-free shop allows customers to save money on tobacco, fragrances, cosmetics, luxury items, or many other amazing gifts. That sounds like a deal, right? Are you curious to know how much money you could save if you buy duty-free? Well, you’ll find out now!

…Keep reading to see our favorite 15 items!

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How much can I save if I buy from a duty-free shop?

Well, how much you can save when buying duty-free products at the airport depends a lot on the country you’re in, currency exchange rate, and even the products you buy. In Europe, duty-free shops are not only duty-free but also tax-free!

So good news: this can save you up to 25% on any duty-free purchase! All you have to do is make sure you use a currency converter, to be 100% sure you’re getting the best possible deal. Also, use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

And if you can choose, always opt for paying in the local currency, because you will probably get a better currency exchange rate through your own credit card company than you would get through the duty-free shop. Next, find out what items you should look for next time you’re in a duty-free shop:

Cadbury chocolates

We got the idea from Alexis Kelly, a travel editor at “Fodors”, and Paul Eisenberg, the editor from “TravelingDad.com”. We instantly agreed on this matter: that Cadbury chocolates are the next best thing you could possibly buy from a duty-free shop.

Of course, this can happen when you travel internationally because it’s not always available in the U.S., but it’s more delicious than any other American chocolate! Cadbury in the U.S. has been extremely different from the one in the United Kingdom, so it’s worth trying it the next time you go abroad!

Longchamp bags

If you travel back from Paris, don’t forget to visit those Longchamp bags at Charles de Gaulle airport. There’s an abundance of buying options there, and you will find them much cheaper at the source!


If you like good liquor, then you already know by now that it’s mandatory to buy some from duty-free liquor stores when you fly internationally. For example, those who are extremely passionate about scotch often times come away with a bottle or even two at far lower prices than back at home. Even more, you might find these bottles on sale at a duty-free shop, not to mention the wide variety of choices!

Last-minute gifts

I think we can all remember that at some point we forgot to buy a little gift for a beloved but distant aunt or for our best friend. That’s why duty-free shops are great for scooping up last-minute gifts! You might find a super-cheap but quality-rich perfume, or a delicious box of chocolates. Whatever it is, rest assured it will be a great gift!

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Things not available at home

Just like when we can’t find Cadbury chocolate in its European form in the U.S., there are many other things we might like to buy that aren’t available at home. To be more specific, I’m talking about the foreign candy aisle of duty-free, which has crunchie bars, strange flavor varieties of candy brands we already love, and curious shapes and packaging sizes, like a massive Tic Tac box that’s filled with dozens of mini-Tic Tac boxes.


Oh, and it gets better! What if you’re traveling to a more exotic destination? First of all, good for you! Second of all, don’t forget to buy some local products. For example, if you’re going to South America or in the Caribbean, you’ll find coffee that’s more aromatic, delicious, and cheaper than what you can find at home. Who knows what other tasty and unique items you find along your travels!

Swiss chocolate

Given the fact that you might find better prices than the ones you know at home, shopping duty-free is a great opportunity to buy better chocolate than you usually would. If you visit Geneva or Zurich, you’ll find excellent prices on Swiss chocolate. That’s because if you find Swiss chocolate outside Switzerland, you’ll find it in the extra-tax version.

Grey Goose

According to “Duty-Free Addict”, which is a free travel club that helps any duty-free shopper find the best possible deals for any kind of products, from liquor to jewelry, Grey Goose is cheaper in Japan than it is in Australia. Also, it’s more expensive at the Singapore Changi Airport duty-free than at the Dubai Airport duty-free!

Country-specific beauty products

This is something that the ladies have known already for a long time now: buying foreign beauty products from duty-free shops is not only fun but extremely affordable! According to Maya Kachroo-Levine, writer at “Travel & Leisure”, there are specific products you might want to look for, depending on the country you’re in.

For example, if you go to Paris, make sure you look for French micellar water. Or, if you went to Fiji, you definitely have to try the Fijian coconut oil!

Cigarettes and cigars

While there’s a limit to how many cigarettes you are allowed to bring to America, you can still come with 1,000 cigarettes, or 100 cigars from most foreign countries, at a much better price than you would’ve paid here!

Photo by Nataliya Pylayeva from Shutterstock

Local honey and sea salt

Chicago-based traveler and writer, Vera Holyrod, has become a frequent guest in Slovenia. Every time she comes home, she never gets on the plane without first getting through a duty-free shop and buying some local honey and sea salt. According to her, the prices are better and the quality is better than you could imagine!

Brand name cosmetics and fragrances

The best things you could possibly buy when you go shopping at a duty-free store are cosmetics and fragrances. For example, in Terminal 8 of JFK Airport, there are always fully stocked duty-free shops with top-notch brands:

  • Estée Lauder
  • MAC
  • Chanel

So, next time you fly, make sure you first look for your favorite scents, smells, and looks! Not only will you stock up on your favorite products, but you’ll also save a few dollars you’re at it!

Exclusive products and sizes

Alongside finding incredible deals, one of the perks of buying duty-free products at the airport is that you find unusual packaging of products you’re very familiar with.

Nadine Heubel, the CEO of Heinemann Americas, which is a company with duty-free shops in 74 airports across 28 countries, gave us a little trick to remember.

According to what she says, we should look for duty-free-exclusive versions of our favorite products, that are larger than usual. Also, it’s possible to find also travel exclusives of popular brands, or products that you have never seen sold at a store near to your home!

Bath and body works soaps and sanitizers

If you like having a creamy luxe hand soap in your bathroom, then you should go shopping at duty-free Bath and Body Works! While not all duty-free shops will sell these products, if they do, then you’re lucky! So make some extra room in your carry-on bag and make sure you try those varieties or scents you won’t find in any other regular stores!


Whether you’ve been on a cruise ship or you’re just passing by through a duty-free store in an airport, it’s very possible that those shiny metal designer watches will charm you to come and look closer!

Even so, before you decide on buying anything, make sure that you first check online to see if the prices at the stores back home are the same or more.

Also, check for the prices of online discount retailers, as you might find a better deal elsewhere! And last, consult a currency converter just to double-check that there really is a duty-free “deal” to take advantage of.

If you enjoyed reading this article, we also recommend reading: Get Cheaper Flights This Year With These 10 Hacks


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