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With the kids off school and the temperatures soaring, many families in the UAE jet off to cooler climes and fantastic holiday destinations. However, the desire to bring a little piece of your trip home with you can lead to bigger credit card bills. The trick is not to shop less, but to shop smart.
Firstly, do your research. Find out what your holiday destination is known for. With the Internet never more than an arm’s length away, you can even research as you travel. If you’re going on a cruise as opposed to a single destination, make sure to stock up on duty free products such as perfumes as there will usually be some great deals. For more expensive items such as jewelry, it’s a good idea to look up reviews of local hot spots.
Secondly, be prepared to haggle, something that should be second nature to us in the Middle East. Prepare to barter by having plenty of small bills in the local currency. If you show up with only large bills, the vendor is going to think you have all the money in the world. If you know how much the item is actually worth from having done your research, don’t aim for a price significantly lower; the vendor won’t take you seriously.
Finally, remember to claim the tax back on your purchases before you fly home. Many countries give tax refunds on items you’ve bought. You can collect or download the relevant forms and get your refund at the airport when you leave. It may seem like a hassle but it is worth it.
• Be prepared to haggle and bring smaller bills
• Duty free shops offer good deals for travelers
• Get a tax refund on items you have purchased
Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Classifieds
The writer is a freelancer