How you can shop internationally and save

Whether through the Internet or travelling, shopping in other countries is a great way to find unique items. Here are some tips that will help you take advantage of some of the great sales around the world.

How you can shop internationally and save

Where to find bargains

  • Hong Kong Fashion prices can be less than half those in Canada, and fine jewelry is cheaper as well. For cheap clothes, try Stanley Market. More discounted clothing and footwear is for sale in central Hong Kong at The Lanes (Li Yuen Streets, East and West).
  • In New York, hunt for bargains in the Garment District in lower Manhattan. Try looking around for discounted designer clothes from the big names.
  • Visit Athens in August and February for the best bargains on leather goods. Try Ermou Street, off Syntagma Square, Eolou Street and Agiou Marou for clothing bargains and Kolonáki for designer clothes and accessories.
  • Italy is especially good for shoes and other leather goods. If you're in Florence, try bigger malls, which can offer designer bargains at up to 60 percent off.
  • Paris is renowned as the world's fashion capital. Visit during the January or July sales for bargains at the big department stores.

Shop across the border

  • Many Canadians who live close to the U.S. border drive south to take advantage of lower prices at chain stores and deep discounts at factory outlets to fill their closets.
  • Designer and name-brand outlets have dozens of outlets in many northern U.S. states, and prices are often reduced by 70 per cent.
  • Discount department stores carry designer and name-brand clothes, accessories and houseware for up to 60 per cent off.

Beware: duty and taxes

  • When shopping in the United States, don't assume the product was manufactured there. If it was, make sure you have documentation to prove the origin of the goods if the customs inspector questions you.
  • Any duty you owe is usually based on the type and value of your goods, converted to Canadian dollars, including any foreign taxes you paid.
  • You also have to pay the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and, in some provinces, provincial tax.
  • You can claim a personal exemption if the goods you are purchasing are not for resale. The amount depends on long your trip has been.
  • For more information, go to the Canada Border Services Agency website at www.cbsa.gc.ca).

Hidden costs of Internet bargains

  • Duties and taxes apply also to goods bought on the Internet. When calculating the price of items ordered from outside Canada, remember to add them to the cost of postage and packing.

Whether you're travelling the world or surfing the Internet from home, international shopping is a great way to find unique and inexpensive items. Just make sure you know exactly what you're getting and paying so there are no unwelcome surprises. Happy shopping!

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