It’s not just VAT where retailers are hitting travellers

It’s not just airport VAT where hard-pressed Brits are hit in the pocket… high street outlets are also hiking prices for travel-sized products that passengers need to comply with for strict security measures.

Read on to see how much you’re being charged and how to dodge the costs and save cash…

Paying the price for staying legal

With passengers banned from taking more than 100ml of liquid or gels, retailers have produced mini products – with big mark-ups. APH research found one travel-sized item was the equivalent of 700% more expensive than its standard counterpart.

How much more are you paying for travel-sized products
Scouring high street retailers, we’ve found these shocking prices hikes on just a small sample of travel-sized products.

Travel packs revealed

Travel packs revealed

Prices correct at time of creating infographic. Prices taken from stores’ websites.

What is the VAT scandal?

Passengers spend around £40 while waiting to fly

Passengers spend around £40 while waiting to fly

Retailers are using the fact that sales items going to destinations beyond the EU are exempt from 20% VAT.

The shops can reclaim this 20% if they can show the goods were taken outside the EU. Boarding passes contain information that can be entered at the cash desk – providing this proof and allowing the retailer to claim back the VAT that YOU have paid.

Figures from a Daily Mail report show that for every bottle of Nivea Sunspray Boots sells it can reclaim £1.60 on the £8 purchase price. Dixons Travel can make £10.60 on each £53 Kindle sold to passengers leaving the EU.

Remember, you are under no legal obligation to show your boarding card and not doing so could force retailers to play fair and share some of the spoils with those paying the bills!

How to beat the airport price hikes

Don't pay retailers more than you have to

Don’t pay retailers more than you have to

Here are some tips to help travellers save cash as retailers assult your wallet…

Pack your own travel-sized bottles: Most products sold in travel-sized packs with huge mark-ups can be bought for much less in standard packs and decanted into special travel-friendly bottles.

Buy a pack of bottles and clear plastic bag to save large amounts of cash.

Get your travel pack here

Don’t buy before you fly: Why pay more for your goods to comply with security regulations and take up space in your luggage when you can buy the same essentials once you arrive. Simply locate your closest supermarket and do all your holiday shopping when you arrive – at discount prices.

Use our European supermarket finder to locate the closest discount superstore to you…


Austria: Billa


Bulgaria: Kaufland


Cyprus: Carrefour


France: Carrefour


Germany: Kaufland


Greece: Carrefour


Ireland: Tesco Ireland


Italy: Auchan


Malta: GS Superstore


Netherlands: Albert Heijn



Spain: Carrefour


Turkey: Bim

Know the rules…
Don’t buy travel-sized goods for products that aren’t covered by the 100ml rule. Here’s our guide to airport security restrictions on liquids and gels.

How much liquid can I carry in my hand luggage:

How much liquid can I carry in my hand luggage: Any container of liquid must not hold more than 100ml. If at all possible, you should pack permitted liquids in your hold luggage. Don’t worry about going thirsty, airlines will provide passengers with free water when on the plane.

What liquids are included:

What liquids are included: The following are covered by restrictions on liquid.

All drinks, including water
Liquid or semi-liquid foods, such as soup, jam, honey and syrups
Cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
Sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
Pastes, including toothpaste
Gels, including hair and shower gel
Contact lens solution
Any other solutions and items of similar consistency

How to carry liquids:

How to carry liquids: If you need to take liquids in your hand luggage, you’ll need to make sure you comply with the following restrictions…

Liquids must be in container that holds no more than 100ml
Containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag that’s approx 20cm x 20cm
Containers must fit easily within the bag so that it can be sealed
Bags must not be knotted or tied up
Each passenger is limited to one plastic bag
Your bag must be available for inspection at the security point

Liquids exempt from 100ml rule:

Liquids exempt from 100ml rule: Some liquids can be carried in quantities of more than 100ml. These can include the follow

Liquids essential for medical purposes within the duration of the flight
Liquids that are for special dietary requirements
Liquid containers that hold baby milk or baby food
Liquids of more than 100ml if bought after security:

You can take liquids of more than 100ml bought in duty free if:

You can take liquids of more than 100ml bought in duty free if:

The items are sealed inside a security bag when you buy them
The receipt for the items is sealed within the security bag and visible
You must not open the bag until you pass through security at your final destination

Beat the airport parking price hikes with APH

Leaving your car at an airport’s official car park is also likely to cost you more than you should be paying. Comparing a week at Gatwick’s own Long Stay South car park with the APH Park and Ride facility serving the airport, drivers can save more than £12 on a week’s parking. Just another way to save cash and beat the airport price hike.

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