With our very own travelling shopaholic at Worldcare, we’ve asked our marketing manager Zoe to provide an insight into the best shopping holidays around the world.
For many travellers a journey to a new country is an opportunity to learn about a new culture, or delve into the region’s history; for the shopping connoisseur these are often still a part of the trip but an extra retail element gets their heart beating that much faster. Shopping tours, or specialised buses to outlets, are on the rise and offer a new and exciting way to explore a city. The promise of a bargain, packaged with cultural gems, scenic vistas and local cuisine create an alluring holiday and many destinations around the world can include a shopping element.
Here are some key Holy Grail destinations for a shopping holiday.
There’s no denying that Melbourne is a great short-haul opportunity to land a bargain with its narrow laneways, great outlet pricing and the fun of the local markets. Together these create an attractive mini-break for that retail fix. You can choose to explore on your own or use Outlet Shopping Tours if you are short on time or want a variety of stores in one day. Whatever you do, make sure DFO is on your agenda as it’s the best place for a bargain.
Heading further afield options are endless – the USA offers fantastic value, Asia does markets like nowhere else in the world and Europe is where high fashion reigns supreme.
Head to Hong Kong during the summer sales (July and August each year) and expect up to 70% off designer stores and high street honeys. The malls have many big brand designers but it’s getting lost around Central that can net the more interesting artifacts such as home wares, boutique fashion or local trinkets.
If you’re in the region and have organised a Chinese visa then a short train trip to Shenzhen from Hong Kong could see you get lost in a maze of market stalls at Lo Wu. With over 700 shops over five floors, there are bargains to be had but be prepared to haggle to get the best price. I usually start from one third of their quoted price and move up to half. A slow walk away assists in getting what you feel the value is and you’ll find the stallholders quickly calling you back to close the sale.
It’s not just a stopover destination but also one for some air-conditioned retail therapy. For the self-respecting shopaholic then the Dubai Mall is to you what the Louvre is to an art aficionado. The world’s largest mall has theme parks, a waterfall, an ice rink and more but what you’ll want to see is the plethora of stores, including the first Bloomingdale’s outside the US. Consider that the Dubai Shopping Festival is January and February if you want the biggest deals.
Hightail to Europe and explore the decadence of Milan, fashion capital of the world. Check out Gucci, Prada and Cartier on Via Montenapoleone, stop by the monument to shopping at Rinascente and don’t miss the Saturday flea market at Fiera di Senigallia. Get up to 70% off designer goods at the Serravalle outlets – there is a daily shuttle bus to get you there from Milan or Turin.
For me, New York has it all and it’s one of my favourite places to both explore the sites and combine it with shopping. There’s designer wear at bargain-basement prices, distinct districts to express every kind of fashion sense and two main outlets to choose from – Woodbury Common or Jersey Gardens. Whilst the latter is less flash to look at, fewer tourists there tend to net me better bargains. Also, don’t miss a visit to Century 21 in lower Manhattan – it’s all discounted goods over five floors but get there early (they open at 7:45am!) to avoid long changing room lines and a fight over that really hot Zac Posen bag.
HERE’S MY CHECKLIST TO MAKE THE FLAWLESS SHOPPING HOLIDAY:
- Find balance: from a glamorous mall to a dusty antique store; from a bustling market to a small boutique, checking out a range of options can provide a taste of everything the destination has on offer, as well as give you some local insights.
- Go native: use local transport, find out where the locals like to shop and give a cultural spin to retail therapy.
- Great Mall of China: don’t forget to include the sites that make that destination a tourist hot spot in the first place, it’s not all about shopping!