When you enjoy shopping, it will be a logical part of any overseas trip to go to a local mall or store. You’ll love to explore the offerings, wonder at how many (or how few) shops are the same as home shops, and search for shops or unique things like long skirts, gowns, etc.
And if shopping isn’t your idea of the perfect way to spend your vacation, you might need a short trip to the shops — maybe your traveling companion just needs your business on a shopping trip, whether the baggage doesn’t come, or you’ll notice the clothes you’ve packed just won’t go away. Look at the retail points below as you travel around the world.
1. Prepare space in your luggage
If you know that during your trip you’ll be shopping, make sure there’s room in your luggage to bring home your purchases! Serious shoppers could pack a small suitcase and then insert it into a larger suitcase. For suitcase sets, this trick works well!
Just one suitcase will be lugged to your destination this way, but you can bring back two entire suitcases. Only make sure that your return flight allows you to take two bags to make sure the size of the smaller bag is carried-on.
Another option to clear your luggage space is to use clothes that are close to the end of their natural life that you are considering throwing away. Pack these clothes, wear them again while you’re on your journey, and then throw them into the bin. Voila— room for luggage! Also, to think about less laundry.
You may need to consider a one-in – one-out policy if you’re a long-term traveler, so every time you buy a new shirt, an old one hits the dust. Whether it is not in decent shape, send it home or give it to a charity shop (please after washing!).
2. Have a plan
Usually it’s a good idea to have a general list of what you’d like to purchase before going out, although you might want to sanction one or two “impulse buys” if you see something spectacular that’s not on the list. You can keep your list items general (for example, two t-shirts) or be very specific (for example, a particular dress or a certain shoe brand). If you have limited luggage space, you may need to be more vigilant about keeping to the list with yourself.
3. Know your size before you go
Although similar patterns and numbers are used, clothing sizes vary wildly around the world. Until we have a universal sizing system (oh, how I want it), it can save you time in the shops to understand your size. Check out this website for a comprehensive sizing guide. Or, you can do the trick — pick up two sizes on either side of the one that looks right and try them all until you hit the one that works.
If nothing else, know your shoe size in the country you’re headed to, since attendants often have to head to a storage area to pick up shoes in different sizes.
4. Explore different shopping options
Many, many countries have malls or shopping centers packed with shops, and many of these stores are global chains that you’ll see everywhere. By all means stop in and see if they have any deals or local items, but you may end up having a similar experience as you would if shopping at home.
Also, be prepared to try shopping in a different way. In the UK, for example, many people buy good-quality second-hand clothes at charity shops — I found a couple of great pairs of trousers at one recently. In Asia, tailors produce custom suits and other clothes at a fraction of the price of the same item ready-made in other countries. Markets can also be a great place to find clothes in a lot of countries. Jump in and shop the way locals do!
5. Think about whether the new purchase will work at home (and whether you care)
When shopping abroad, you may come across a wonderful piece of clothing that you absolutely love. Perhaps it’s a common local item, or is perfect for the climate or local style. Before you buy, consider: is this something you’ll wear back home?
Travel with carry-on-sized luggage, you might sometimes find yourself in climates that you don’t have enough clothes for. In that case, pick up a cheap jacket or extra pair of shorts, to wear in that destination. Considering when and how you’re likely to use your purchases can help you decide how much to spend, as well as whether you really want to buy them at all.