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Beat the VAT – Fly and Buy

VAT

Having access to international travel on a regular basis does have some advantages. One of these is bringing back tasty treats (as well as useful household items) from overseas. This is one way you can beat the VAT recently introduced to Dubai. Remember, hold on to your receipts, just in case. Alcohol and cigarette limits are detailed here.

The following is a list compiled from my experience, along with the advice of other pilot wives. If you have something to add, please email it through!

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA

Protein powder, cheap homewares (Kmart/Target), Australian wine, Heighs Chocolates, Nippies Iced Coffee, PawPawCream, Wine (Mclaren Vale, specifically the Sparkling Pinot), Frochocs (chocolate covered apricots) and Smoked Almonds (Mclaren Vale)

Main stores: Kmart, Target and Woolworths within walking distance

 

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

Dairy products, particularly cheeses and chocolate, vegetables, CALVÉ peanut butter

Main stores: Albert Heijn, HEMA and Etos (pharmacy/drugstore) – all located at the airport

 

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Whittakers chocolate, NZ wine

Main stores: Countdown Auckland Metro 

 

BARCELONA, SPAIN

Groceries, fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat products, pasta, organic products, alcohol/beer.

Main stores: Carrefour Market, La Boqueria Market

 

BELGIUM, BRUSSELS

Côte d’Or chocolate, Speculoos, Brussels sprouts (end Sept – Dec season), white asparagus (mid April – end June), Belgian Endive (Oct – April, full ground cultivated), grey North Sea shrimps, baking supplies (particularly sugars), mustard, and Belgian beer.

Main stores: Carrefour, Delhaeze

 

BIRMINGHAM, UK

Cheap basics (toiletries, household goods), allergen free foods, organic foods

Main stores: Tesco (in city, via train) 

 

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

Protein powder, Australian wine

Main stores: Woolworths within walking distance

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

Assorted fruit and vegetables, Italian meats and cheeses – Prosciutto crudo, Bresaola, Mortadella etc.

Main stores: Lidl (one is located very close to hotel)

FORT LAUDERDALE, USA

Ribs, BBQ food, seasonings, cheap toiletries, sugar free/allergen free foods. Northridge Shopping Centre also has a Petco, Dollar Store and Party Supplies store.

Main stores: Publix Supermarket

 

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

Vacuum packed meat and fish of all types and wine, rooibos, rusks.

Main stores: Woolworths (located adjacent to hotel)

 

LYON, FRANCE

Cheeses, wine.

Main stores: Various Carrefour Markets located throughout the city

 

MADRID, SPAIN

Olive oil, beers and wines, pork, Nescafé coffee cups/pods, toiletries, violet candies

Main stores: Mercadona – Plenilunio mall is a 5-10mins drive by taxi and you have Mercadona there, candies from La Violeta

 

MOSCOW, RUSSIA

Delicious MyMy jersey caramels! Also, if you are into crafts, blank wooden nesting dolls are super cheap from Izmailovsky Market, slightly out of the city. More variety in the weekends. Art supplies are incredibly cheap compared to Dubai, the store with the best selection is in the Central Children’s Store at Lubyanka.

Main stores: MyMy restaurants throughout Moscow, Izmailovsky Market, Central Childrens Store 

 

MUNICH, GERMANY

Groceries, fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat products, pasta, organic products, alcohol/beer.

Main stores: Hofer

 

OSLO, NORWAY

Fish/seafood

Main stores: REMA 1000

 

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

Beer and general grocery shopping (dairy, meats, consumer goods etc)

 

SEATTLE, USA

Salmon and prawns (icebox packed!)

 

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

Vodka! Also, if you are looking for a cheap place to eat during the week, go for the business lunch at Dve Palochki (Две палочки) – really cheap and they have an English menu.

Main stores: Auchan

 

VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Vacuum packed meat, cheap European wine, cheeses, organic foods and foods (drogeriemarkt/DM)

Main stores: Lidl (one is located very close to hotel), Drogeriemarkt/DM

 

WARSAW, POLAND

Vacuum packed meat/salamis, cheap beer, cheap stationary/household items, toiletries

Main stores: Carrefour Market, Flying Tiger 

 

ANY AMERICAN DESTINATION:

Use Amazon lockers. Order your goods (note, they usually have to be a smaller size) to an Amazon locker near the hotel, and you can pick up within a specified timeframe. If you don’t pick up, you will be automatically refunded. Also works in the UK, but delivery times are longer, so plan ahead.

 

Last updated: February 4th, 2018

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The 58th Floor is the travel and lifestyle blog of Belinda Birchall, based in Dubai. It provides advice and information on travel throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as useful information for living in Dubai - and anything else of interest!

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