For many a jet-setter, one of the greatest pleasures of heading to a new airport is indulging in retail therapy. Airports are among the best places for travellers to shop because they offer a lot of items at duty-free prices. This means that shoppers can purchase products without having to pay for import duties or value-added taxes. Additionally, airport stores often have a good assortment of items that represent the airport’s country or culture.
Some airports, however, are more famous than others for their retail offerings. There are even awards dedicated to airports that are considered international shopping havens, such as Skytrax’s long-running World Airline Awards. The airports on these lists, as well as the ones that constantly come up via word of mouth, are worth visiting in a traveller’s lifetime for their world-class shopping experiences.
In this context, “world-class” shopping experiences are characterised by uniqueness, variety, value, convenience, and/or the presence of additional perks and rewards to shoppers. To embark on the ultimate retail adventure, here’s a list of seven airports that you’ll definitely want to visit:
Singapore’s Changi Airport
Changi Airport (Changi), the eleven-time winner of Skytrax’s “Best Airport in the World” distinction, would not have racked up its sterling reputation without its strong retail front. There are more than 400 shopping outlets in total within Changi’s airport complex, including the largest Nike store in all of Southeast Asia.
If you’re bound for Changi soon, you can expect a favourable selection of fashion goods, cosmetics, speciality food items, and more. Cap off a day at the airport complex by shopping, going on a Changi Airport dining food trip, exploring one of Changi’s many entertainment options, and ducking into a Singapore Changi Airport hotel to rest.
The Hong Kong International Airport
Not to be excluded from this list is the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). Hong Kong is already known as a shopper’s paradise for luxury goods enthusiasts and bargain buyers alike. Shoppers can either start or end their HK travel experience by venturing into one of HKIA’s two shopping malls for clothes, leather products, electronics, and souvenirs.
The best part is that many of the retail establishments in HKIA are open 24/7. This means that you can beat either jet lag or boredom with a round-the-clock shopping experience, all without feeling like you’re missing out.
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Yet another famous shopping destination in Southeast Asia is Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK Suvarnabhumi). The selections for both mainstream and niche brands in BKK Suvarnabhumi are excellent, and you’ll have no dearth of shopping options for cosmetics, perfume, tobacco, fashion, aromatherapy products, and handicrafts.
One retail establishment that you should visit if you’re headed to BKK Suvarnabhumi is King Power, or the “King of Duty-Free” shopping outlets. Fill your basket and your appetite for retail experiences when you’re at King Power’s huge shopping space.
The Dubai International Airport
The Dubai International Airport (DXB) is the Middle East’s premier shopping destination for luxury and designer items. The City of Gold’s airport lives up to its reputation with offerings like solid gold bars, diamonds, jewellery, and fine writing instruments, among others. But of equal value are your options for consumer electronics, such as laptops, smartphones, cameras, and audio equipment. So, make sure you head to DXB with a full wallet so that you can truly score on one-of-a-kind shopping deals.
Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
In the Oceania region, your best bet for excellent retail deals is at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (Sydney Airport) in Australia. This major airport in the Land Down Under offers great duty-free bargains on makeup, hard liquor, and one of Australia’s best-known exports: quality wine.
Aside from the shopping selection, visitors to Sydney Airport will also enjoy conveniences like the airport’s holding services. This is perfect for shoppers who want to start their trip by buying items at the airport without having to spend the rest of their trip lugging their haul around. Instead, shoppers can simply deposit their purchases at the airport and then collect them upon their departure.
London’s Heathrow International Airport
Arguably the biggest name in Europe for airport shopping is London’s chic and metropolitan Heathrow International Airport (Heathrow). Among Heathrow’s retail selections are well-loved British brands like Harrods department store and Glorious Britain. On top of items from trendy brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton, shoppers can get deals on merchandise from the iconic Harry Potter franchise, too.
Heathrow also boasts a complimentary personal shopping service, which allows shoppers to get in contact with stylist-trained personal shopping assistants. For bespoke shopping adventures, there are few airports comparable to Heathrow.
Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport
Last but not least among the top airport shopping contenders is Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). CDG is a traveller’s gateway to all the finer things about French life, including alcohol, fragrances, gourmet confectionery, and fashion and beauty products. The wise shopper, however, knows to hunt for CDG-exclusive releases such as bespoke perfumes from brands like Guerlain and Clarins.
A shopping trip around CDG is sure to get a traveller sufficiently excited about their Paris trip, as there’s nothing quite like having the opportunity to return home with the most exceptional souvenirs in hand.
Your retail experiences in another country will be sensational if you’re headed to any of these seven airports. Which of these airports are you visiting soon, and what’s on your shopping list?