You can cut down on baggage when traveling out, by buying clothes and toiletries for your trip on arrival, especially if you travel to a low-cost destination with good shopping opportunities. You can save weight on your way home by giving used clothes to a local charity.
With any possibility of a major purchase, before you begin your trip learn what prices might apply at home, in stores, and by Internet-based sellers. At first arrival in a foreign country, you can only guess whether an offer is cheap or expensive by local standards. In tourist areas, such as airports, hotel shops, and cultural attractions, prices tend to be inflated. As you pass by several stores elsewhere, you might learn the commonly accepted price for regular items. Remember the selection and prices at the airport or hotel, so you know what purchases can wait until you return there.
Use a rough rule of thumb to compare prices. Let’s say you live in the United States and visit Japan, while the yen is 88 to a dollar. Since 88 is nearly 100, the rule of thumb would be deleting two zeros from the price (those used to math’s could additionally adjust with 7/8 when needed). This is a good method for quickly finding out whether you would pay ¥290 for a takeaway pastry. However, if buying a camera for ¥35,000, you should know that it costs about $310 at home and use a calculator.
Beware of incompatible electrical systems, region-coded media, and incompatible video formats when importing electronics; likewise, if you mean to bring a vehicle back, be sure it can register for use in your home country. The beautiful thing about standards is that there are so many from which to choose.
Also be aware of warranty issues. For example, a manufacturer’s warranty on a camera or electronic goods generally applies only to equipment sold by an authorized dealer in that country. A buyer from a western country may save quite a bit by buying in a duty-free port. But if the equipment goes wrong, he won’t get free warranty service locally. Indeed, some manufacturers refuse to repair items they make that are sold on the “grey market” even to the point that they will not sell necessary parts to independent repair facilities.
There are several reasons to save shopping until the end of your stay: