It’s no secret that the price of a Rolex, an iPad, or the latest fashion accessories in the US, for example, may be considerably cheaper than in the UK.
I can purchase this item abroad and enjoy a free holiday with the money I have saved, the thinking goes – but does this kind of conclusion have its basis in fact, or fiction?
Well, one answer is – it used to be true. The reason it is less true today is because the rise of ecommerce has standardised the prices of goods more so than any time in history. We can all discover the price of pretty much anything, anywhere, online, and purchase it straight away. The only question to answer is: how much are the shipping costs?
That said, certain boutique brands may not be available for shipping overseas. In the world of fashion, for example; many exclusive, niche brands not available to buy online retail at considerably higher prices in the UK than they do elsewhere, with savings made by buying abroad running into the hundreds of pounds.
And what about jewellery? Is it cheaper to travel overseas to pick up the perfect engagement ring, for example?
This time, the answer is it can be, but there are certain caveats. First, you must check the tax implications of buying expensive items overseas. Never, never try to “smuggle” items back into the UK without declaring them. But now that flights to places like Dubai are relatively inexpensive, and with jewellery there available to buy tax free, if it’s a once in a lifetime purchase you are making, this could be a great option. Plus, it’s a great story to tell the grandkids.
The best answer to the question can I buy cheaper abroad? It can be, but make sure your do your homework before you try it. Don’t jump to conclusions – South Africa is a great place to buy a diamond, for instance, or perfume is cheaper in Sharm-el-Sheikh – but remember, if you are thinking it, others are too, and that means that “sharks” will be at the ready to take advantage of naïve, bargain hunting tourists.
If you do decide to shop abroad – take our advice and make sure you are getting the best rates when you are exchanging your pounds for local currency. Fail to prepare, as they say, and prepare to fail!