How does one get purchases home?

Reply

Aug 16th, 2007, 09:34 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 65
How does one get purchases home?

Hi all! Please--recommendations on getting purchases sent home, so as to not have more stuff to haul around! Is there a good/better/best way? Or should we just have extra suitcases/bags? We haven't gone on the trip yet, but I would anticipate some items will be acquired...so, any help is a big help! This could include artwork, furniture, who knows?!
As always, many thanks, and
Happy trails!
ramalama is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 09:43 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 62,582
Assuming you mean from somewhere in the EU w/ its VAT - I often just have the merchants ship my purchases. They take the VAT off the top since the item is being exported, and the reduction pays all or a major portion of the shipping/insurance.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:23 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 184
janisJ, do the stores voluntarily tell you about the VAT, and produce the paperwork? And is there a mininmum amount you must pay at one store before you qualify for the rebate? I am thinking of shipping some Venetian glass home while there.Then do you pay duty on it when it arrives in your country...although I think I remember seeing something on customs forms when returning to Canada, about goods purchased and being shipped separately, but I never paid much attention to it before. Any info you can give me is much appreciated.
tropicalkerry is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:24 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 184
Oh, I can tell I'm tired...mininmum, but I'm sure your brain read it correctly!
tropicalkerry is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:31 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2
You either have the shop ship it, mail it or take it home on the plane. Alternatives to taking it home on the plane are quite expensive.
yentakahn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:51 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
First, confirm how much luggage you can check on your return flight. Most airlines allow 2 checked bags in economy, up to 50 pounds each and 62 inches. That is a huge suitcase, and 50 pounds is a lot of weight. Business class generally allows 3 checked bags. So assuming things you purchase are not too breakable, you can bring quite a bit back with you. (You have to assume that you will be allowed very little in terms of carry on items these days, again check your airline. It is generally one bag per person.)

If you only need one suitcase for the trip, one thing you can do is pack an empty canvas duffle bag or Le Sportsac in your suitcase. Whatever you buy can go in the suitcase, and clothes go into the canvas bag. Then check two bags in for the return flight.

After the 2-3 checked bags, there is shipping. Shipping can be expensive. For really fragile things that you donít want to check and canít carry on, however, that is the best way to go, IMO. Use surface shipping (rather than air) which is cheapest, although slowest. When possible, have the store do the shipping (and wrapping) for you so you can contact them if it does not show up. Places like the glass factories in Venice and the pottery shops in the Amalfi cost ship routinely and know how to do this. Use a credit card for the entire purchase, again so the credit card company can get involved if necessary if it does not show up. Always insure the item. As for furniture, unless the piece is really a bargain or a small piece, I think you will find that the cost of shipping is almost the same as the price of the piece itself. You should do some comparison shopping at home for large items you may be interested in to make sure you are really getting a bargain when it comes to furniture.

I have seen a poster here who has a policy of mailing her dirty laundry home by surface mail and taking her purchases home in her checked luggage. She doesnít care when the dirty laundry arrives, and it is cheap to mail a big box of unbreakable clothes using the local post office. Also, used personal effects are not subject to duty by US Customs (see below). Itís not a bad idea. I donít know that I would use the Italian mail service for this, but Swiss mail, German mail or French mail would be perfectly fine, IMO. Swiss Mail will even sell you the box right in the post office. You can use DHL, etc but that could get pretty pricey. You could also pack it yourself and use Mail Boxes, etc, for a list of locations in Europe, go to mbe.com.

With regard to the VAT comment above, note that as a non-resident, you will be able to get VAT refunded regardless of whether you take the item with you or have it shipped. VAT is payable only on items consumed in country (like hotel rooms), also some countries like Switzerland have a minimum amount which must be spent to qualify for a refund.

However, remember that goods you SHIP to yourself in the US are NOT included in the ďduty-freeĒ exemption with the US gives to all returning US citizens on items purchased abroad. When you return home from a trip, you are allowed to bring up to $800 worth of goods into the US ($1600 for a couple), plus your liquor allowance. Take a look at the guide put together by the US Customs Services at customs.ustreas.gov/travel. However, anything you ship into the US is NOT included, so you may have to pay duty on the shipped items when they arrive. This will depend on how alert the post office is when it arrives and the method of shipping. If you ship a big piece of furniture port to port for example, there is a good chance you will end up paying duty on it. A small parcel sent by mail is most likely not going to attract customs duty.

Finally, I also saw your other post on proving ownership of electronic goods for customs purposes. The only customs people who are going to be concerned with this are US Customs (assuming you are a US citizen/resident) when you return to the US. They will want you to pay duty on any items you buy overseas in excess of your allowance. If you feel you may have an issue when returning, you can actually register your items before your trip. Take a look at the guide put together by the US Customs Services at customs.ustreas.gov. Click on "Travel" on the main page and then "Know Before you Go" .

Cicerone is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:52 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,201
Buy jewelry--there's always room for it in your suitcase.
abram is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:00 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Here's some basic Rick Steve's info on the rates of VAT in various countries in Europe and the minimum purchase requried for a refund. http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/vat.htm
Cicerone is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:02 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Yes, I TOTALLY agree on the jewlery. (But you have to come to Asia for that.) And then mail all the invoices to yourself so they are not on you when you go through customs. The US Customs people cannot tell old jewelry from new....
Cicerone is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:35 PM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 65
Thanks everyone! Some good tips as always, especially the dirty clothes and receipts. We already did the Customs paper drill. I got the feeling not too many people ever showed up for the camera registration. Still, I'm glad we did it. Thanks also for all the VAT info...somemthing I've never really paid much attention to.
Be well...so you can travel more!
ramalama is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 17th, 2007, 04:41 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,201
"And then mail all the invoices to yourself so they are not on you when you go through customs. The US Customs people cannot tell old jewelry from new...."

Isn't that dishonest?
Nonconformist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 17th, 2007, 04:46 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Yes. It is also illegal. Really does not bother me. I figure I pay enough in taxes without having to pay duty on some items.
Cicerone is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 17th, 2007, 05:08 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
"The US Customs people cannot tell old jewelry from new...."


Oh, yes they can in many instances...believe me, I know this one.
Dukey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 17th, 2007, 08:32 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 184
thank you for all the info, Cicerone!
tropicalkerry is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:37 AM.