How to avoid impulse buying at the airport
Research costs before hand, and set a budget. (Wikimedia Commons)
At airports, many sophisticated travellers seem to turn as impulsive as a five-year-old at a dessert bar once they walk into the duty-free zone.
It is probably more than just the glamour of the products and the stores that drives their impulsive shopping spree. Being captive in a relatively limited space with what appears to be an exclusive shopping experience can derail anyone’s best judgement. In a few minutes, what these people have worked hard to save on their flights and accommodation may be spent on anything from oversized, overpriced chocolate boxes to designer purses and perfumes.
If you’ve been there, you may think of what you can do to control your duty-free spending next time. There are several steps that can help you get the best of the duty-free experience without splurging on items that you would probably regret as soon as you reach your destination — or get your bank statement.
Here are a few points to keep in mind.
Set a budget
Many people research carefully the costs for their flights, hotels, transportation, etc. They may even set a small budget for souvenirs from their destination. What’s typically forgotten is the type of impulsive shopping that goes around their travel experience. If you know, however, that you won’t be able to resist the duty-free temptation, you should just account for it by setting aside a specific amount of money — be it Dh100 or Dh1,000. When you walk in with a certain budget in mind, you probably will be making better decisions and be able to curtail your desire to buy a more-than-budgeted item.
In addition, this budget hopefully will be based on research of your desired items in the local market. This mean when you see them again at the duty-free stores, you will be able to immediately determine whether the price is right or not.
Manage your time
You don’t want to miss your flight, but arriving at the airport well ahead of your flight can leave you a captive audience for retailers and your own boredom. Plan your time to ensure that your wait isn’t too long. In addition, plan some activities to do while you’re waiting, which can be as easy as bringing a book, a computer or a tablet to help you kill time rather than your bank account.
At the other end, don’t make rush decisions under pressure. If you don’t have enough time to think about a particular product as your flight is boarding or you’re running late for getting to your gate, you must err on the not-purchasing side. Buying an item under time pressure — especially if it is an expensive item — could be a big source of disappointment either on the price level or the overall selection and taste.
To avoid this, try to check online for options before you buy. Getting an idea for what is being offered at your destination or home can be an eye opener in terms of whether you’re getting a bargain or not at the duty free.
Get what you need
If you’re hitting the duty-free stores, you should be really getting the exclusive items that you really need from these stores. That is why the better you pack, the more money you should have for getting one or two special items. In short, don’t get to the duty free and shop for tooth paste and deodorant, which you will get at a fraction of the price in your local store. Pack your needs and even a little snack that you can have while you’re waiting, to save for some special item.
You always can come across an item that you didn’t think about or that seems to be a great deal for the price. In these cases, take a moment to research the price, availability and make a decision based on your budget and needs.
By Rania Oteify