India is the irresistible bargain basement: a $1 pen with rhinestones? $4 embroidered umbrella? 50c hand made paper? Cotton clothes for as little as $3? Herbal soaps and creams? Gems and pearls?   

Morocco is a close second with fringed tribal rugs, silver, ceramics, leather and metal lamps. Bargaining is critical but if you love it buy it. If you purchase a carpet, get the vendor to pack it so you can put it on the plane. if leather goods, smell them for proper tanning.  If you buy argan oil, pack it well or purchase it at Trader Joe’s!

England with the low Pound has deals. Oxford Street’s Primark: you will want everything in the store. Boots Drugstores sells own brand and Simple products, grab them for 1/4 of the US prices. In Scotland, definitely treat yourself to a hand-knit sweater.

Greece is your place for olive oil and olive oil products, herbs (without seeds not allowed into US), and again rugs. If you buy olive oil, pack it. Or buy it in the duty-free area. The more detailed the location of the olive oil mill, the better the oil.

Mexico is not just for pottery, but seed pearls, semi-precious stones, beads that pass with your best business suit, and chocolate. Vegetable-dyed rugs from Oaxaca are an art in themselves. Silver jewelry if unique is a buy.


—Inspect everything well. 

—If shipping, have the merchant include insurance + shipping to your home not to a warehouse. 

—Photo your purchase with the invoice placed on it. 

—Ask for the merchant’s card.  

—If carrying, get it wrapped in front of you; ask for packaging to put on the plane as luggage. 

—Never buy antiquities or fraudulent designer goods. 

—Buy locally made and Fair Trade goods. 

—Make it a cultural exchange and thank the merchant.

Travel tips from The Women’s Travel Group: 646 309 5607 for information on our many small group trips for women all year around.

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