Duty Free – Is it really cheap?

At airports, after migration and customs control, dozens of tourists rushed to the Duty Free shops for alcohol and perfume. They do it in full confidence that they will buy it all much cheaper.

But cheaper Lie? In this article, we’ll figure out how really the Duty Free shops are. May not go to them?

What is the store Duty Free

These are duty-free shops, where taxes, excise taxes and duties are not paid from the goods. Mostly, Duty Free shops are located in the border areas of airports and other locations in the border crossing, are located in buffer zones between states.

Shops are quite ordinary. The range mainly consists of perfume, alcohol, sweets, cigarettes. Photo of such a store in Sheremetyevo Look nearby, click on the photo to enlarge.

Theoretically, prices here should be ultra-low, because there are no taxes, no excise taxes, no duties. For example, in the price of a bottle of strong alcohol in Russia now (2021) 113.2 rubles only excise, and more VAT and duty, if imported drink.

But in fact, prices are far from always lower than in ordinary supermarkets.

And let’s compare

We consider such a situation. You fly to another country and want to bring alcoholic beverages with you.

First option – buy alcohol in the usual supermarket.

Second option – Buy alcohol in the Duty Free airport, after customs control.

Recall that you can take out of Russia up to 5 liters of alcohol, which is clearly more versions of the importation of other countries. From the point of view of the permitted number of Duty Free, no advantages gives. Details in our article "What can not and can be taken out of Russia".

Compare prices are not as easy as it may seem. Prices in supermarkets are open, these prices can be viewed on the Internet. But prices in Duty Free Moscow airports are not published anywhere. And it’s not enough so. Fortunately, our chief editor made several photos in Sheremetyevo during the last business trip.

Photo Not much as I would like. Protection promptly approached and drove out of the store. Prices in the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge.

We went to the usual Moscow "Crossroads" and looked at prices there. Below comparative table. Note that the volume in the table does not always coincide. Prices from rubles to dollars are translated at the course of January 2021.

Drink Price Duty Free Perekrestok price
Whiskey Johnnie Walker, Black Label 29.5 USD for 0.7l 2350 rub (31.9 USD) for 0.7l
Whiskey grants 14 USD for 0.5l 980 rub (13.3 USD) for 0.7l
Promotion goods
Sparkling Wine Mondoro, 0,75l 25 USD 1230 rub (16.7 USD)
Teacher Teacher`s 13.5 USD for 0.5 liters 1400 rub (19 USD) for 0.7l
Becherovka 19 USD for 1l 1200 rub (16.3 USD) for 0.7l
Tequila Sanza * 21 USD for 0.7l 1150 rub (15.6 USD) for 0.5l
White Horse whites 27.5 USD for 1l 800 rubles (10.8 USD) for 0.7l
Promotion goods
Bacardi Rum (White) 18.5 USD for 1l 800 rubles (10.8 USD) for 0.5l
Promotion goods
Whiskey Jack Daniels 7 29 USD for 1l 3000 rub (40.8 USD) for 1l
Vodka Russian standard 13.5 USD for 1l 850 rub (11.5 USD) for 1l
Vodka Russian Standard Platinum 28 USD for 1l 1000 rub (13.5 USD) for 0.7l
Promotion goods

* – In the case of Sanza, the price of gold and silver tequila in the intersection is the same, but in Duty Free, and we took gold to compare.

What we see are?

First. There is no obvious winner. The idea that in the stores Duty Free is always cheaper – this is just a myth. Not "Flight" for this!

Second. It is not by chance that the Duty Free stores at Russian airports do not publish their prices openly. They are accustomed to sell alcohol without taxes, but at prices of ordinary stores.

Third. If the goods are in the usual store on the stock, it is always much more profitable.

Where to buy alcohol on vacation?

Our advice is simple and obvious. No need to hope for Duty Free. If you want to take high-quality alcohol with you, then go to the nearest supermarkets and hypermarkets. See what is on current promotions. It is stock prices that will be the most interesting.

Moreover, the catalogs of shares and discounts from all networks of supermarkets can now look in advance on the Internet. In practice, good options are most often from O`key, intersection, Selgros, Metro. In the stores Auchan, Ribbon, Pyaterochka, Billa less.

Duty Free - Is it really cheap

Duty Free has one plus

In Duty Free Almost all drinks available in bottles 1 liter. In all countries of the world, the norm of importation of alcohol is multiple liters. For example, in Dubai now you can enter up to 4 liters of alcohol. Accordingly, just buy 4 bottles of 1 liter. It’s comfortable.

But this plus is obvious only to travelers who "badly friendly" with mathematics. And who knows how to count well, may be folded in his mind: 5 bottles of 0.7 liters + 1 bottle of 0.5 liters = 4 liters.

Ordinary stores have its own plus

Chances to get counterfeit minimal. On each bottle in the store there is an excise mark that can be scanned by the Alco Anti-Contraphak application. There are no excise marks on the bottles on the bottles, and make sure the drink does not work out.

There are useful Duty Free

The rules for the work of the stores Duty Free differ in different countries. There are countries where duty-free shops are really cheaper by 30% and even more. From the country to the country the rules and the situation are different.

For example, in Egypt, Duty Free shops are already under customs control (in the country). That is, you can buy alcohol in addition to what brought with you. We talked in detail about it in the article "Alcohol in Egypt".

In Tunisia, it is very difficult when you repletely change back Tunisian dinars on dollars or euros. Duty Free shops at airports allow you to spend the remaining dinars. And prices for the entire range in Tunisian duty-free stores are valid below.

In Tunisia, generally an interesting situation. Alcohol can only be bought in GENERAL stores, which at some resorts simply do not. Buy Tunisian Strong Drinks In this case, you can only in the Duty Free upon departure. Drinks are interesting and colorful, we spoke about them in the article "What to bring from Tunisa".

From the country to the country the situation is different. But in Russia, the situation is unpleasant – Duty Free shops offer prices as in conventional supermarkets.

Good trips, and read our interesting articles for tourists and tourism (List of articles below).

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