Duty Free: Need to buy a Digital Camera and possibly laptop.

8 replies


Member since 13 Aug 2013

Total posts 92

Duty Free:

Need to buy a Digital Camera and possibly laptop. I will have the opportunity to buy duty free at Tullamarine Airport, Bangkok, or Milan, en route to a permanent move to London. Where would I find the best savings/range?


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 07 May 2012

Total posts 299

Just remember the duty free limit is $900 per person.  If you exceed that tax is payable on the whole amount.

Phil Young


Member since 22 Oct 2012

Total posts 250

That's half-correct.  So long as the item has been used, even simply opened from its packaging, Customs will reduce its value by 20%.  Additionally, the don't charge the first $50 of duty, the result being that you can bring in considerably more than $900 worth. 

Even better, I've had the experience twice of claming the GST refund at the SYD TRS office for items worth around $2,500, and then declaring them on my return, and the response was simply: "Thank you for your honesty.  Keep moving".


Member since 13 Aug 2013

Total posts 92

If all I get is 10% back then I won't bother as prices here are nearly double that of overseas.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 23 Mar 2012

Total posts 67

I wouldn't bother much with duty free at aus airports, have seen very few things that are cheaper than regular shops.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 17 Aug 2012

Total posts 1,285

Hmm. In all honesty, you're probably best off buying them in the UK!


Member since 24 Oct 2010

Total posts 1,016

You can also buy in Melbourne well before you fly and then claim the GST rebate at the airport - the good side of this is that you can hunt around for the best deal at street prices, bargain down to get some accessories thrown in (eg lens or carry case for the camera), because you're in a stronger position to do this compared to at the airport.

My main concern would be ensuring you're covered by a global warranty, which may not be the case with the laptop, depending on the brand and model (you'd need to look into this before you start shopping). Also of course if you buy your laptop in a country other than the UK you may then need to also cary around an AC convertor plug to adapt the laptop's AC power cord to a UK plug.

You could thus be better off buying them in the UK, but the caveat there is you'll be paying 20% VAT. So one possibility would be to buy the camera in Melbourne but at the very best bargain rate you can get, then take off the 10% GST at the airport.

But before all that: I suggest selecting the camera and laptop you want, doing some research to compare best prices in AU vs London/Europe (might be tricky to find Bangkok prices) and then bear in mind that you can get 10% off the AU price. In most EU countries I think the VAT is also 20%, same as UK, but you might not get all of that refunded - unlike Australia, where the Govt does the refunding and gives you all 10% back, in some countries the refund is managed by a third party company which charges a commission for their services, so for example of your 20% VAT you may get only 15% or less back.

Bottom line: it's a bit complex because there are so many factors to consider, so some extra research is needed if you really want to nail the best deal.


Member since 13 Aug 2013

Total posts 92

Yeh I think buying in the  UK/Europe makes sense. From what I've seen on amazon, the prices seem to be a lot cheaper than Aussie prices, even after factoring in the 10%GST rebate. Plus as you've correctly pointed out, I'd then have to buy power convertors etc.


Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,058

Jay, if you're going to be in the UK wouldn't you want a laptop with a UK keyboard?

If you bought a digital camera in bangkok and used it, how in the world would UK customs know it's "imported"?

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