Travel Tip: Travel Gift Cards and Tax Free Shopping
If you’re like me and not the world’s best gift wrapper, then gift cards are a go-to gift. But this year, skip the iTunes and the Starbucks cards and give your loved ones something they really can use…the gift of travel.
American Airlines, for example, let’s you purchase gift cards from $50- $1,500 online that can be mailed or emailed.
Continental Airlines not only offers gift cards from $25 to $10,000, but it also lets you set up a gift registry where you can deposit money into a travel bank. This money can then be used to pay for any ticket to anywhere in the world.
And if you want to put money toward accommodations the Four Seasons, Marriot and other hotel chains all offer gift cards that are redeemable for anything from a spa treatment to the penthouse suite with no blackout dates.
Last, but not least, there’s an online tool called myTab. It uses PayPal so you can deposit money specifically for that trip. If you’re traveling with a group, you can all put funds into the same account, and others can help you out.
Travel Tip: Tax Free Shopping
If you’re planning to shop when you travel, remember that where you buy is almost as important as what you buy.
In the US Virgin Islands, U.S. residents can take home $1,600 worth of duty-free items. That’s why the cruise ship ports are filled with shops selling jewelry, perfume, liquor, and other goods.
Then there are the U.S. states that have no sales tax at all, like Oregon and Delaware. However, doesn’t mean you won’t pay tax on other things, like car rentals and hotels.
And in Louisiana, if you purchase an original work of art in a designated Cultural District, the sales tax is waived.
EU countries have a Value Added Tax that tacks on anywhere from 9 to 20 percent, but there is a way to get that back.
If you spend enough money in a store that participates in the VAT refund scheme, you may be eligible for a refund. Minimums vary by country–in France, it’s 175 Euros.
Of course, collecting that money is another issue: it usually requires paperwork from the merchant, showing the items at customs, and waiting in line at the refund desk.
Peter Greenberg is America's most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. We provide the most recent travel news, reviews and expert travel tips.
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PeterGreenberg.com is the travel website of well known travel guru Peter Greenberg, we provides the most recent travel news, reviews and expert travel tips. Looking for more advice? Visit www.petergreenberg.com.
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