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How to Buy Duty-Free

Duty-free stores are retail outlets that don't apply local or national taxes on store merchandise. They're typically found in international airports or seaports. Learn how to find duty-free bargains.


  • Step 1: Visit a favorite retailer's website Visit the website of a favorite retailer. Many sell merchandise at duty-free stores. Make an itemized list for price-comparison shopping at a duty-free store.
  • TIP: You may not be getting a bargain because some retail merchandise is made specifically for sale at duty-free stores.
  • Step 2: Locate a duty-free shop Locate a duty-free shop. They're typically found at international airports, cruise ports, ferry stations, and border stops.
  • TIP: Australia has age-specific duty-free rules. Travelers older than 18 years are allowed to purchase $900 in duty-free items. Under-18 travelers have a $450 spending limit.
  • Step 3: Know the dollar limit for duty-free items Know the dollar limit for duty-free items if you're bringing them into the U.S. You can buy up to $800 worth of most goods duty-free.
  • Step 4: Go to the U.S. TTB website Go to the website for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, for your destination state's Alcohol Beverage Control Board's duty-free rules on alcohol.
  • TIP: U.S. Customs only allows importing up to 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars even if they're bought at a duty-free store.
  • Step 5: Check the TSA website for duty-free restrictions Check the Travel Security Administration ,or TSA, website for restrictions on liquids, particularly duty-free alcohol bought at duty-free stores.
  • FACT: Revenue from the U.S. Customs Service, established in 1787, financed the purchase of the Louisiana and Oregon territories, Florida, and Alaska.

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • List
  • Duty-free shop

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