It is rare that any holidaymaker returns without a souvenir or two, but serious shoppers take off for trips with half-empty bags and are happy to spend days in a spending frenzy.
The US, with its recognisable and aspirational brands, often available at lower prices than in the UK, has long been the number one choice for spending sprees, which is why we have chosen to profile some great US shopping cities for you. However, not everyone wants to take a transatlantic flight to go shopping, so there are some short-haul suggestions too.
New York’s shops have a special place in our hearts, and some are as iconic as the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Department stores including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys are on many must-shops lists, so you should make the most of their offers. Visitors can get 10% off at Macy’s by downloading the Welcome International Savings Card from Macys.com or enquiring in store, and Bloomingdale’s offers a signature gift when a shopper produces a same-day receipt for purchases totalling $300 or more.
Madison Avenue and The Shops at Columbus Circle are great for high end shopping, with West 34th and Fifth Avenue for high street. The Woodbury Common Premium Outlets mall is a popular day trip with regular coach transfers departing from Manhattan.
Boston may not have New York’s reputation, but it does offer real bargains, with no sales tax on clothing under $175 and only 6.25% on everything else. Most shops are open seven days a week and the majority of the shopping areas are within walking distance of each other.
You may be in Orlando because the children want to see Mickey, but once mum finds out about the shops in Orlando, you won’t see her for dust. Orlando has been named by ‘Forbes Magazine’ as the number one bargain shopping destination in the US. There is enough retail space to fill 900 American football fields! Orlando has not one but two Premium Outlet centres, one on International Drive, with the world’s only Baccarat/Lalique outlet and another down the road on Vineland Avenue boasting one of the few Dior outlets in the world.
The famous slots and shows are not the only way to spend a dollar or two in Sin City – it has grown into a spectacular shopping destination too. You have the choice between huge outlet malls and exclusive boutiques in casino resorts.
Important point to remember, each state has its own sales tax and rates differ from state to state.
There is a definite mall culture in Dubai, which are air-conditioned havens and a place to meet, eat and mingle, and above all shop! Many open until 10 pm and, unsurprisingly, the city is home to the world’s largest mall. Prices are set in the malls, but you can haggle to your heart’s content in the souks.
Just a Eurostar train ride away – thus solving the tricky excess baggage problem that shoppers who fly have. Paris suits a range of buyers. There are all the city’s sights for those who don’t want to spend, and even families have access to a Chic Outlet Shopping Village conveniently located near Disneyland Paris.
Travellers from across the globe come to London to shop so don’t forget the treasures on our doorstep! London’s theatres are always popular, so why not build a weekend break around shopping and a show?
NEW YORK Direct flights from Manchester 4 October 2012 4 Nights lead in Three star hotel (central location)Prices from £1033 per person
ORLANDO3* Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside12 September 2012 – 7 Nights from ManchesterRoom only prices from £949 per person
PARIS Standard Eurostar from London, St Pancras (up-grades available)19 June 2012 3 Nights at the 4 * Clarion Collection Opera PavillionDouble room with Continental Breakfast from £453 per personPlease note all prices will be subject to change and availability.