Christmas shopping… London Vs New York and more

Christmas shopping in London and New York

London goes head to head with New York in the Christmas shopping guide 2014… find out which metropolis is rendered red-faced with shame. We’ve also got Europe and the cheapest Xmas markets covered, too…

Thinking about heading out of Heathrow Airport to grab some Christmas shopping? Then read on to find out where you can get the best deals – and save up to around 75% on UK prices. We’ve also got a festive guide to help find the cheapest destinations for Christmas markets in Europe.

Big Apple for big savings

For the biggest savings of Xmas 2014, make sure your jet’s pointing to New York. With results just in from the annual Post Office Christmas Shopping Guide, the Big Apple offers shoppers savings of up to 73% on designer fashion items compared with London.

London Vs New York… a sale of two cities

Here’s how the two cities compete at the cash till, with a full rundown of prices from the Post Office 2014 Christmas Shopping Guide. Get a flavour of things to come by checking out this small selection of price comparisons between London and New York, then read on for the full list of great savings…

Fashion the cash
The Post Office survey reveals prices for almost one-in-five items were more than 50% cheaper in New York. The best bargains are on designers jeans, with True Religion Stella super skinny woman’s jeans coming in at the equivalent of £107.00 – a whopping 62% less than the £280.00 price tag to be found hanging from the waistband in London. However, the biggest savings come on Hollister men’s slim straight jeans at just £16.00, which undercuts the London price of £59.00 by 73%.

Along with its hip sister brand Abercrombie and Fitch (A&F), Hollister gives fly-and-buy shoppers the best deals in New York, offering savings of more than 50% in more than half of the items sampled. Examples such as a pair of ladies’ jogger sweatpants at A&F costing 57% less at £25.00 in New York and £58.00 in London. Men can also feel the A&F benefit by saving 61% on an Adams Mountain hoodie at £35.00 for transatlantic shoppers while Londoners pay £88.00.

Aside from A&F and Hollister, other designer brands – such as J Crew, J Brand, True Religion and Polo Ralph Lauren – are also offering big discounts on London prices with savings of around 30%.

Going undercover
Anyone looking to spice up the festive season, will make big savings on stripped-down prices from America’s biggest lingerie store, Victoria’s Secret. A demi bra costs 28% less in New York (£28) than in London (£40), while one of its latest range of lace corsets is 25% cheaper – around £56 compared with £75 in London.

You’ll be made up
Shoppers heading to New York will also find some big savings on Elizabeth Arden and Clinique make-up, with prices 40-51% lower than those in London. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream skin protectant 50ml costs just £14.69 in the Big Apple – 51% less than the price tag of £30.00 in London.

Head to New York for great Xmas shopping deals

Head to New York for great Xmas shopping deals

Grab-a-gadget time
The latest gadgets are also cheaper in New York: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition is 30% cheaper (£140 compared with £199 in London) and, although the savings are smaller, the new Apple iPad Air 2 costs 13% less over the pond (£349.00 compared with £399.00).

Toys R Less, too
It’s not just fashionistas swapping their shopping in London for the streets of New York, parents can secure the latest must-have toys at prices that undercut those in the capital by nearly 50%.

The survey compared costs from this year’s ‘Dream Toys’ list issued by the Toy Retailer’s Association, and revealed bargains such as a Transformers Stomp and Chomp Grimlock costs less than £49.00 in New York, compared with its Brit counterpart at a shameful £90.00. Disney’s Frozen fans will also benefit from having pond-hopping parents, with a Snow Glow Elsa Doll costing around £24.00 in the Big Apple while stay-at-home shoppers will be rewarded by paying 30% more at £35.00.

Buy before you fly…
Despite offering big discounts for most items, the Post Office Christmas Shopping Guide does reveal that London comes up smelling of roses in the perfume category. New York prices for My Burberry Eau de Parfum (50ml) are 2% more at £66.00, compared with £65.00 in London. However, one exception was Marc Jacobs’ new Daisy Dream Eau de Toilette (100ml) costs 24 per cent less in New York (£53) than in London (£70).

The full price comparison…

London vs New York... prices and savings compared

London vs New York… prices and savings compared

Know your tax

Keep on top of duty and tax rules here

Keep on top of duty and tax rules here

Hopping the pond and buying 150 pairs of designer jeans at knock-down prices then selling them here might cover the price of your flight and hotel, but it’s also likely to result in a conviction for tax evasion. You must be aware of the following limits.

Arriving in the UK from a non-EU country entitles you to bring goods worth up to £390.00 without paying customs duty or VAT. The figure is £270.00 if arriving by other means, such as private plane or boat for pleasure purposes. The goods must also be personal use or to be given as a gift.

If you bring in any single item worth more than the £390.00 goods allowance, you must pay duty and/or tax on the full item value, not just the value above the allowance. You also cannot group individual allowances together to bring in an item worth more than the limit.

You don’t pay duty or tax on goods you bring in from EU countries as long as you:

  • Transport them yourself
  • Will use them yourself or give them away as a gift
  • Have paid duty and tax in the country where you bought them

London Vs Riga, Latvia

If you want to bag some bargains closer to home, the Latvian capital Riga is one of the cheapest shopping centres in Europe. Here are some examples of cash-saving deals.

Riga takes on London

Riga takes on London

Now save more cash

Get more shopping for your dollars

Get more shopping for your dollars

Heading abroad to do your shopping can save huge amounts of cash and offer the added bonus of a Christmas city break at the same time – but don’t just restrict your money-saving antics to the shops, here’s our guide ensuring you get to keep even more of your cash while shopping abroad…

Convert your cash now

Convert your cash now: Don’t wait until you get to the airport to convert your cash into foreign shopping currency, the rates can be very poor. Organise it a few days in advance and you could get an extra $10.00usd per £100.00 you convert.
Find the best deals here

Cash passport

Cash passport: Don’t just think that hitting the shops with your debit card will always be the best idea when shopping abroad. Using your debit card to make non-sterling purchases could see your bank charging you a sterling-transaction fee. A cash passport will help avoid this charge on each transaction.
Where: Get your cash passport here

Be wary of debit cards

Be wary of debit cards: How would you feel about being fined for using your debit card while abroad? A little miffed, we’d suspect. Money Saving Expert has collected a list of ‘eight debit cards from hell’ that you need to read before flying and buying.
The debit cards from hell revealed


ATMs: If you need to use an ATM, you could be charged a big fee for withdrawing the cash – around 2.5% is common. Head to your bank’s website before you leave to find foreign banks that are allied with yours to cut or reduce fees.

Use a credit card

Use a credit card: Get a new credit card before your trip and you could pick up plenty of incentives, while also avoiding charges in foreign stores. Make sure you check the details to ensure that you won’t be charged a foreign transaction or usage fee when you use it abroad. These can be around 3% or £9.00 added to a £300.00 bill.
If you’re over 50, have a look at the Saga Platinum, with 0% fees for Euro or non-Euro use.
Compare credit cards here

Pay in the local currency

Pay in the local currency: When using a credit card or cash passport in a foreign store, be sure to demand that the retailer charges you in the local currency and does not use ‘dynamic currency conversion’ which switches the deal into sterling. This will help you get a more realistic view of the price, but the dynamic conversion is often charged at high-rates. This could cost you a lot of cash, so always ensure you’re billed in local currency.

Cashback site

Cashback site: Book your flight and accommodation through a cashback site and save extra cash. Current deals offer around £40.00 for flight and hotel bookings to New York.
Top cashback sites revealed

What about duty free…

Research your duty free purchases before you buy

Research your duty free purchases before you buy

Starting a holiday is synonymous with heading to duty free and buying designer sunglasses, a bottle of spirits and an unfeasibly large bar of Toblerone… but is this Mecca of the departure lounge really any cheaper than the high street?

Research reveals that one in four Brits spend at least £100 on themselves in duty free shops at airports such as Heathrow. It was also found that 42% of us make on-the-spot decisions when it comes to buying these goods – such as expensive electronic devices and gadgets.

Top impulse buys
These are the items that travellers are most likely to buy when making impulse purchases in duty free shops at airports.
1. Perfume
2. Clothing
3. Alcohol
4. Camera
5. Handbag
6. Tablet
7. Mobile phone
8. Make-up
9. Top of the range headphones
10. Luxury chocolate

Appy shopping
Many duty free items have great discounts, but don’t think all goods are cheaper than on the high street or online. Make sure you get the best deal by downloading this Idealo price comparison app with integral barcode scanner. It’ll compare 131.6 million offers from more than 22,700 online shops.
Download the free app here for iPad or iPhone
Download the PriceSpy app for Android here

Good shopping and may the discount be with you…

Christmas markets for less

Heading off for some festive fun at one of Europe’s legendary Christmas markets? Then here’s a guide to the best and how much they’ll cost you to get there and stay there – along with glugging mulled wine and chomping down on gingerbread.


Here’s how the Christmas market figures are broken down in to an essential Xmas basket…

Revealed... the cost of Christmas markets

Revealed… the cost of Christmas markets

Join the Atlantic commute to the shops..

Heading to the shops in New York, or flying back home, check out this time-lapse video of the skies over the Atlantic during rush hour. It’s a sight of beauty, we’re sure you’ll agree. This visulisation shows Transatlantic traffic over a 24-hour period in August, with 2,524 flights crossing the North Atlantic.


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