How to Avoid Overpaying at Airport Duty-Free Shops

A new study explores where the bargains are — and aren’t

Vienna Airport
A new study points air travelers in the direction of bargains at duty-free shops.
MyName/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / September 7, 2019 8:15 am

For air travelers, the sight of a duty-free shop at the airport can abound with temptation — especially if you’re in an airport where you need to walk through what seems like a full-size showroom full of liquor, sweets and skincare products to reach your gate. But there’s a not insignificant question that can come to mind when browsing the items for sale there: namely, is this actually a good deal?

A new study by Finder took a deep dive into the prices of different things for sale at duty-free shops — analyzing where the deals are, and where you might be better off waiting to make a purchase until you’re at a shop outside of the airport. 

The most value for your money, Finder reports, comes when buying spirits, cigarettes and watches — the prices of each average 17 to 18% lower than in stores.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking of buying perfume, skincare products or chocolate, these findings might give you pause: all three show markups on average from most retailers. 

The whole study provides an in-depth look at a space that’s ubiquitous for travelers —and goes into some very useful specifics in terms of bargains to be found at different airports. In the end, it might have an influence on what you buy (or don’t buy) the next time you’re flying. 

Editor’s Note: RealClearLife, a news and lifestyle publisher, is now a part of InsideHook. Together, we’ll be covering current events, pop culture, sports, travel, health and the world. Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

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