Tourism and shopping: an American trend

If you fear paperwork, rest assured, shopaholics don’t need a visa to travel to the USA.

As the exchange rates are currently favourable, more and more Brits are making purchases in large American cities. Visit the USA and grab yourself a bargain! 

In the UK, shopping fans are getting ready to rummage through the stores at the end of the month. However, the smart ones have discovered a little trick: across the pond, the panorama is more or less the same, but much lighter on the wallet.

This summer, as well as going on your well-earned holidays, take the opportunity to fill your drawers with exclusive models from the most respected American brands.

The dates of the sales in the USA are not really regulated, so you can find sale items throughout the year in the form of price reductions, special promos, etc. So look out for signs that say ‘SALE’, ‘SAVE” and ‘% OFF’ which can be seen all over the high street.

Also be aware that department stores like Macy’s, Barney’s and Bloomingdales have seasonal sales at the end of summer, for Thanksgiving and after Christmas, for example. You won’t find the same kinds of discounts in all shops, but be ready to be submerged in a sea of products, as the range of products is larger than in Europe. So, you won’t just find one model of your dream dress, they’ll be dozens. And, with the exception of certain brands, you’ll see a lot more ‘XL’ sizes than in the UK.

With regards to size conversions, the majority of shops show the equivalent sizes for the UK.

As well as highly convenient exchange rates for Brits, the other big advantage for those who love local brands, is that you can pick up items that can’t be found anywhere in the UK at extraordinary prices. Cult brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel have sale items at less than £20. Great classics like Levi’s offer unique models for around £55. What else needs to be said?

The practical side - it’s easy:

If you fear paperwork, rest assured, shopaholics don’t need a visa to travel to the USA. To travel to the United States, you just need an ESTA authorisation, which you can get easily online in less than 24 hours.

As for cash, there are ATMs on every corner, and the majority of bankcards are accepted. You can also use travellers’ cheques in dollars. Nevertheless, it’s best not to bring Euros, as the exchange rate is less favourable once you’re there.

And what about VAT? In the USA, value added tax isn’t collected by central government, but are fixed by each state and are not reimbursed. Sometimes taxes are paid above a set amount. So, if you’re in the Big Apple, you’ll pay different local taxes, bringing prices to a little over 8% more than the marked price. And no, the price labelled in the shop does not include tax.

If maths isn’t your strong point, don’t forget your calculator! But above all be informed about tax laws in your destination. You can find more information on the customs and border patrol website.

Happy shopping! 

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.

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