VAT FreeFree: All time

Many countries, mostly those of the EU area, offer tax-free (VAT-free) shopping for foreign tourists. VAT (Value-Added Tax) is the tax that residents have to pay for goods and services. As of now, roughly 320,000 stores in 40 countries worldwide participate in the tax-free campaign (check the Wikipedia link below for the list of countries.) These are usually stores targeted for tourists. Now, if you’re going to get charged more for those souvenirs at a tourist shop, you may as well make sure you get a tax refund for them. The steps roughly go like this: Bring your passport when you shop at the participating stores, get the merchant to give you a refund document or “cheque”, arrive early at the airport, get the documents stamped at customs, then head to the refund service offices (Global Blue or Premier Tax Free) to collect your money. Done and done.


Photo credit: Global Blue