Okay, this is definitely a weird Thrifty Thursday post because it involves traveling to country with a weak economy to buy things with a strong American dollar. I know, it's super douchey, but you're also injecting money into a country's consumer sector, so that's worth something right? Right? I mean, these poor Slavic countries benefit from my consumer whoredom, right?
Douchery and guilt aside, there are a lot of countries in Europe right now where your money goes REALLY far.
Even the Euro is weak, coming in at a value of $1.06 USD. Throw in duty-free shopping and tax refunds, and you're looking at some really cheap clothes, even luxury brands like Hermes and Christian Louboutin, both of which came home with me tax-free with a hefty discount that I would not have received in the US.
Granted, this is only a "thrifty" tip if you can afford to travel in the first place. If you're truly on a budget, you're probably rolling your eyes at me, and I deserve it.
But even outside of the airport, there are stores in the central parts of the city (what we would probably call "downtown") that advertise that they are duty-free or tax-free. Note that not every store is. But if they are, they usually advertise it, to entice bourgeois tourists like myself to hemorrhage money there. It totally works. *hangs head in shame*
Make sure they give you the type of receipt and documentation you need to take to the airport for your tax refund because yes, that's where it's done. It can take up to 3 weeks for it to appear in your bank account (unless you take cash, but the cash is usually offered in that country's local currency), but it is worth the hassle. Make sure you arrive to the airport early, and that you physically have the item(s) with you to show them if they ask for it. (If you put it in your checked bags that you then hand off to the airline clerk prior to doing the tax refund, you might be denied. They are mostly picky only about the high-ticket items, not so much for cheaper things, so keep that Louis Vuitton bag in your carry on just in case). To not annoy the person working there, make sure you fill out the form (that the store clerk gives you with the receipt) ahead of time before getting in line. All airport employees hate their jobs and wish you would spontaneously combust, so keep that in mind when interacting with them. Their job sucks and so do you for existing.