How to shop abroad and bring it home...

I will be talking about issues of shopping in USA and other countries, and what items to buy, as well as other such issues.

Here are a few pointers:

- know what you want, and check the prices.
Is it worth the trouble to lug them back?
Will it run locally - 110 or 220V or universal
- understand the risks of internet shopping, and that you may not be able to claim warranty
- weight limits
check with your airlines for the baggage allowances - most major airlines allow 2 bags weight 22.5 or 23 kg each - that means a total of up to 46 kilos of goodies!
- Tax and GST
- fragility
can you check the item in? IF you remove the boxes, it can be less bulky but you may end up damaging the items
- how long are you in USA
shipping can take a while and it is best to give some allowance
- do you have an address
 most hotels will keep an item for you before you arrive, but check first
- begin shopping early
there is no reason to wait til you are in USA, start placing items in the shopping cart first, and monitor the prices. Often they will go up and down.
Then check the stock, if the item is out of stock, you may miss your shipment or hold up the rest of the items and end up missing them at your hotel
- when you are all set, choose the shipping method that suits you
check the estimated shipping time, and make sure you have enough allowance - don't get it too tight, or a slight delay will mean you miss the items
if you want to be sure avoid the free shipping which can be fast, but there are no guarantees and you can end up missing the item. Choose option this if you have lots of time.
You can choose standard shipping and it should come to you within a week.
Remember to account for weekends and the time difference. For example, the 3-5 day shipping time is for working days, so if you order on the weekend, it could be delayed.

- keep all receipts and invoices in case you need to claim or return an item.

- find out the local price
that saving you see in USA may melt away with tax, baggage overweight costs, warranty issues

- warranty
see point 1, I can stomach the risks, can you. Even so, consider trying the equipment out in your hotel room

- bargaining
actually you can bargain, and do a "Price Match" and many of the brick and mortar shops will do so, although you can't use online prices. Bring a slip or ask them to check.

Haggling is best done at the end of the month when they need to meet quotas. A little less profit is acceptable for them

- open box items

these are returned items not because they are spoilt, but usually because of external defects or simply because the owner didn't like it, you can save up to 50% on them

- manager specials
these are items which they want to get rid of, some are open but many are new and are unique to the shop you go to, the prices can be phenomenal

- don't fall for the "would you like some Monster cables to go with your new amp" line :)
they make a lot from the peripherals... give the $$ to me,

-  you can also order to your hotel from Amazon, but check that your hotel accepts them...

- actually USA offers lots of bargains, but check your prices first

- shipping
most airlines have cut their baggage allowance from 32kg to 23 kg, 2 bags, so you still have 46kg of load you can use esp if you have no clothes.... you can try and hand carry some of the items eg DVD players.

Some items worth considering - certain brands of amps which are popular will have slashed prices as the competition is high, eg run outs on the Onkyos etc

- transformers
note the power requirements and most are NOT universal so be careful

Best Buys, Circuit city and even Target offers deals to be had, so enjoy.

Finally, do consider that it may only be slightly more expensive to get them to ship it home directly, and save the hassle of carrying big packages home.
Also Amazon USA also offers free shipping on many items now, so do your homework first and happy shopping!

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.


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