Travel Insurance

Save £££ Buying These 4 Popular Holiday Items from Duty Free

Get even more excited about your summer holiday by picking up these popular holiday products at the airport before you fly—and saving money by doing so.

Need (or want) a new pair of sunglasses, some on-trend jeweled strappy sandals or a fresh beach tote? Here are popular summer holiday products to buy from duty free that will cost you less than you'd pay on the high street or online.

While not everything is cheaper at duty free, many products cost 17% less than the high street price when you shop at duty free because you don't pay VAT. By not paying the 20% VAT, you essentially save 17% off the VAT inclusive price. And while it may seem early to talk about Christmas when you're headed to a summer holiday, it's not—the money you save at duty free can be added to your Christmas savings to help you have a debt-free Christmas.


Given the high ticket price of many popular brands there are definite savings to be found by purchasing sunglasses from a duty free shop. With a high-end pair easily costing over £100, you can save £20 to £40 or more shopping at the airport.

picture of Ray-Ban Aviator Flash Lenses
Ray-Ban Aviator Flash Lenses

For example, Ray-Ban's violet Aviators cost £120.83 from duty free, a savings of £24.17 from the high street price.

BrandTrendStyleHigh Street PriceDuty Free PriceSavings
Dolce & GabanaBold cat eye0DG4349£287£238.21£48.79
Kate SpadeTranslucentkate spade kiyah/s sunglasses£130£108.33£21.67
OakleyShield0OO7050 FLIGHT DECK£175£145.25£29.75
Ray-BanPhantos sunglasses with pink lenses0RB3647N£154£128.33£25.67
Ray-BanRound0RB4277 EMMA£163£135.83£27.17
Ray-BanWayfarer0RB2140 WAYFARER£127£105.83£21.17
Ray-BanViolet Aviator0RB3025 AVIATOR LARGE METAL£145£120.83£24.17
TiffanySquare with a pop of colour0TF4076£205£170.83£34.17
Tom FordClear0TR000423 FT008 JENNIFER£257£214.16£42.84
VersaceBold Aviator0VE2161£202£168.33£33.67


A new pair of summer sandals can quickly and easily update your holiday dresses and—best of all—doesn't take up much room in your suitcase.

picture of Carvela Wedge Sandals
Carvela Wedge Sandals

For example, when you buy a pair of Sybil Carvela wedge sandals from Kurt Geiger you can save £14.83 from duty free—more than enough to pay for a beautiful, tropical cocktail on your first night on holiday.

TrendBrandStyleHigh Street/ OnlineDuty FreeSavings
Strappy jeweled sandalsAccessorizeCaitlin Crystal Flower Sandals£35.00£29.16£5.84
Leopard and raffia wedgeCarvela ComfortSybil£89.00£74.17£14.83
Tan leather slidersKurt GeigerOdina£99.00£82.50£16.50
Floral strappy sandalsTed BakerRozie£129.00£107.50£21.50


A bright pink lip is just the thing for a holiday abroad. With many lip products costing around £20, you can expect to save around £3.50 buying from duty free, give or take a bit.

Nars Audacious Lipstick
Nars Audacious Lipstick

For example, you can save £4.35 on Nars Audacious lipstick when you buy from duty free. Similarly, Clinique Pop™ Lip Colour + Primer Punch Pop and Clarins Joli Rouge Brillant Lipstick will each cost around 3 quid less from duty free.

BrandProductHigh Street/OnlineSavings
ClarinsJoli Rouge Brillant Lipstick 25 Bright Rose£22£18.30£3.70
CliniquePop™ Lip Colour + Primer Punch Pop£17£14.15£2.85
NarsAudacious Lipstick Annabella£26£21.65£4.35

Holiday Bags

Depending on your budget, a new holiday tote to carry your things to the beach can cost anywhere from £20 to £250. The more expensive the bag, the more you would save buying from duty free.

picture of Kate Spade Sam Stripe Tote
Kate Spade Sam Stripe Tote

For example, if you're in the market for a Kate Spade stripe straw tote or rose cylinder cross-body bag to brighten up your summer wardrobe, you can save around £50 buying from duty free. A tote from Cath Kidston costs a lot less—but you can still save up to £10 when buying from duty free.

BrandProductHigh StreetDuty FreeSavings
AccessorizeLe Soleil Beach Tote Bag£25£20.41£4.59
AccessorizeHarpreet Tote Bag£32.50£27.25£5.25
AccessorizeSamta Handheld Bag£39£32.50£6.50
Cath KidstonButton Spot Foldaway Double Decker Travel Bag£55£45.83£9.17
Kate SpadeKate Spade Sam stripe straw large tote£295£245.83£49.17
Kate SpadeKate Spade rose cylinder crossbody£350£291.67£58.33
Ted BakerKezia£59£49.17£9.83

Some Products are More Expensive from Duty Free

It's always a good idea to compare prices on items before you buy from duty free, because sometimes a better deal can be found online before you travel.

picture of Lancaster_Sun_Lotion
Lancaster Sun Lotion

For example, Lancaster Sun Beauty Velvet Milk SPF 30 costs £27.85 from Heathrow duty free, but you can save nearly £6 if you get it ahead of time—a bottle costs only £21.95 from (with free Royal Mail Tracked 2-3 business day shipping). You'll just need to plan ahead and leave enough time for it to arrive before you travel.

BrandProductOnlineDuty FreeDuty Free More Expensive by...
ClarinsSunscreen Care Milk-Lotion Spray Very High Protection UVB / UVA 50+£16.95£18.50£1.55
LancasterSun Beauty Velvet Milk SPF 30£21.95£27.85£5.90
ShisheidoExpert Sun Protection Lotion£24.50£27.45£2.95

One other thing to buy ahead of your trip is travel insurance, which costs as little as £5 and can really save you a bundle if you have a travel mishap.


We researched prices of popular holiday items from the Heathrow Boutique in order to understand how much a consumer can save buying from duty free vs. the high street or online. We compared duty free prices to the cheapest of the estimated high street price (as listed at Heathrow Boutique) and the online price we found through Internet searches.

chart showing savings on holiday items from duty free
Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.


Travel Insurance

Get Quotes

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars**
  • Quotes from 20 providers