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24 Nov Christmas shopping abroad

Despite news that the Irish economy has experienced unforeseen growth this year, a voracious appetite for across-the-border and overseas Christmas shopping trips still exists among consumers. In one of our previous online surveys which you may have participated in revealed that almost 24% of Irish motorists planned a trip to Northern Ireland to do their Christmas shopping.

Some Irish consumers are also venturing further afield in an attempt to stretch their pennies.  Whether it’s to shop till they drop in some of New York’s most iconic department stores, or to experience the enchanting Christmas markets dotted across Europe, Irish shoppers are leaving a consumer shaped seasonal footprint in international markets.

But is it worth it?

International shopping does have its pitfalls, however. Coming up against fluctuating exchange rates, harsh weather conditions, and unfamiliar surroundings can make Christmas shopping more of a challenge than a luxury at times.

And while we all love a good bargain, getting value for our money should be at the top of everyone’s list this Christmas. The gifts may be cheaper to purchase, but just how much will it cost to get there in the first place? In addition to flights, accommodation, and spending money consumers – particularly those travelling outside the EU – should check how much they can purchase before Customs Duty or import VAT is applied upon re-entering the State.

Travel insurance & your rights

Overseas Christmas shoppers and holiday makers alike should also protect themselves against the risks of shifting weather conditions. Whether you’re travelling across the pond or traipsing through Europe, winters can be much harsher than on our little island, so flight delays and cancellations may be a regular occurrence. Consumers should make themselves aware of their rights regarding these events and ensure that they have proper travel insurance coverage in place.  For more on this topic you can read one of our past blog postings which goes into more detail here.

Knowledge truly is power when venturing abroad, particularly when it comes to knowing where the best places to bag a bargain are. It also pays to know your way around and with a bit of research ahead of time you can ensure you and your companions don’t end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Familiarize yourself with the country’s high street and exercise caution when lugging around shopping bags and storing your valuables. If you are the unlucky recipient of a theft or mugging whilst abroad, AA Travel Insurance can cover you for up to €500.

So whether you’re set to experience the snow-swept streets of New York or explore the glittering markets across Europe, remember it pays to research your destination in advance. Happy shopping!

To get an AA Travel Insurance quote today click here.

Image: Pixabay

Linda Pototzki
Linda.Pototzki@TheAA.ie