Posted on June 20 2018
When presenting someone with a gift from your ventures abroad, there is nothing more endearing than a wearable memento. After all, what communicates style or feeling better than a delicate bracelet or a high-end watch? Selecting beautiful pieces for souvenirs has always been an essential part of the travel experience, and the savings you can find across international borders are merely the cherry on top.
We imagine you've seen the classic duty-free sales banners at international airports, inside in-flight magazines and within cruise ship boutiques. However, these are not the only ways to find duty-free bargains. Among the various locations for buying jewelry duty-free, shops in the Caribbean islands offer the most fruitful and enticing experience for every kind of shopper, guaranteeing a luxurious adventure you'll never forget.
What Does Duty-Free Mean, and What Makes It Special?
Duty-free jewelry does not mean the same thing as tax-free, although both terms can characterize shopping for jewelry and other valuable goods in the Caribbean. Duty-free refers to the customs fees countries impose on exported and imported goods. Since local governments place customs duties on imported goods, that often means designer brands that aren't manufactured in the United States have much higher costs if you try to purchase them at home.
Tax-free sales allow you to buy without paying country-specific added costs like sales tax. Any locally imposed taxes from the country where you're making your purchase would not apply (or if they do in most cases are reimbursable), and you won't have to worry about incurring the extra tax-related costs you would face if you bought the same piece at a store in the United States. When purchasing duty-free, you'll find tax-free benefits as well as duty-free ones, making for substantial savings you get to enjoy while on vacation.
Thanks to the parts of the world where duty-free shopping is available, these extra fees no longer have to weigh down your wallet, and you can finally go after those luxury items you've always dreamed of having or giving to a loved one.
While you won't have to worry about paying duties and taxes upon purchasing your new items, when you cross international borders to return home, you will have to claim those purchases and may be subject to a fee. However, don't let the potential for small tariffs on the return home drive you away from the duty-free shopping experience. In the end, these costs amount to much less than they would without the perks of duty-free shopping.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, travelers can expect to have an $800 per person exemption on duty-free purchases. In other words, if you bring in less than $800 worth of Caribbean purchases across the border, you won't be subject to additional taxing at all. This exemption jumps to a whopping $1,600 per person if you're returning from the U.S. Virgin Islands, allowing for extra indulgence without owing a cent.
After that exemption limit is reached, the next $1,000 worth is subject to be taxed at a flat 3 percent rate, and above that, will receive a duty that varies depending on tariff rates for types of imported items. There are additional regulations on alcohol and tobacco products coming into the U.S.
Do these tariffs upon your return home mean duty-free shopping is the same as buying your items at home with regular customs fees and taxation? Absolutely not! Especially with the initial allowances, not to mention the competitive pricing on goods in duty-free shopping districts, you will find yourself saving 10, 20, 30 percent and more on high-end accessories than if you went to your local department store, even after these tariffs are applied.
A variety of product types are available to those who opt to buy duty-free. Alcohol and tobacco products are especially popular because in the U.S. they carry very high taxes duty-free shoppers don't have to worry about. However, designer jewelry and watches offer incredible advantages as well. If you begin browsing options for purchasing duty-free in the Caribbean, keep the following characteristics of the duty-free jewelry market in mind, and you can guarantee you'll make an excellent decision.
1. The out-of-this-world bargains
Unique savings characterize duty-free shopping everywhere, and the jewelry options along the Caribbean are a prime example. The Department of Tourism at the United States Virgin Islands, for instance, reports that in St. Thomas and St. John, jewelry and other luxury products sell at 15 to 60 percent off regular U.S. prices. Both these islands are homes to Little Switzerland retail locations where we proudly offer the best brands in jewelry and watches for our customers at the lowest prices available, guaranteed!
2. The opportunity of a lifetime
Some people spend years yearning for the chance to purchase a specific diamond and gold ring, a Breitling watch or a classic Roberto Coin diamond necklace for themselves. They've always been drawn to this product, but are intimidated by its full price. This is where duty-free shopping can make a huge difference in people's lives. Saving 15 to 60 percent on a luxury brand accessory that will last years and years can be life-changing for those eager to make their dreams come true.
3. The variety to fit every taste and style
Duty-free jewelry purchases are not only smart for financial reasons, but you'll also benefit from the variety that ensures you'll find fitting gifts for everyone on your list. Who doesn't appreciate receiving the gift of a beautiful luxury item discovered at a great price? The savings left and right mean no one will get left out, and you'll be able to discover select items for even the pickiest of jewel enthusiasts.
Even if you only plan to find items for yourself, rather than give them away, duty-free Little Switzerland shops in the Caribbean may be calling your name for you to find your next statement piece. Rather than flip through your in-flight magazine for the best purchases, browse the stores of the islands. We know there's no way you'll regret it!
While duty-free opportunities exist in most major international airports, the shops lining Caribbean island avenues offer the best shopping experience for all kinds of bargain and beauty hunters. Whether you are staying at a luxury resort in the Bahamas or partaking in a Caribbean cruise, you won't regret strolling through the streets and popping into boutiques along the way to check out their sales items.
Here are some of the reasons the Caribbean offers a unique duty-free jewelry shopping experience — perhaps even the most advantageous one of them all.
1. Treasures you won't find elsewhere
You may be familiar with many luxury brands and products you see in duty-free shops throughout popular travel locations, but the Caribbean islands have special opportunities you won't find anywhere else. If you were shopping within the United States, it would be difficult to find certain exclusive pieces and limited editions that watch and jewelry brands create specifically for the Caribbean.
2. Relaxed timing and flexibility
As opposed to rushing through the airport shops to find a gift before your gate closes, the shopping districts in the Caribbean offer substantial flexibility for customers to do their research and have time to make up their minds. With our 30 locations, we at Little Switzerland see customers browsing one day who aren't ready to purchase until the next, and even if they have to do so on a different island, the Caribbean makes that more relaxed and laid-back approach possible.
3. Top quality and guarantees
Those who do their research will tell you there is no questioning the bargains you can find on designer items in the Caribbean. But it isn't just the pricing that makes the experience so valuable. Top brands offer the best quality and selections imaginable, and at Little Switzerland, we strive to perform at the highest level of customer service and satisfaction. We stand behind our products and our price guarantees, perhaps even more so than your traditional stateside retailer.
4. Beautiful surroundings for a memorable trip
We would be remiss without mentioning one of the most delightful aspects of a Caribbean vacation. Let's face it, a significant part of the islands' appeal are the gorgeous blue waters you can't find in other duty-free shopping centers. Strolling in a leisurely way along the beach while cruising through elegant shops and boutiques is an absolute dream where you're bound to make new memories you'll cherish for years. Leave it to the Caribbean to turn frantic shopping into utter peacefulness.
Come to the Caribbean, and the shopper in you will thrive. Part of what we are proud to represent here at Little Switzerland is the industry expertise in providing unmatched values on everything from diamond jewelry to watch repair. Only in the Caribbean will you find such intentional service and customer care throughout the most popular local shopping areas. We help make sure you're bringing home only the highest-quality items, and we can guarantee you will discover them at a price you won't find anywhere else.
In fact, let's take a closer look at exactly what these prices can look like and what kind of savings you can expect to find when buying duty-free jewelry in the Caribbean.
As an example of some of the enormous savings duty-free shopping can offer, let's imagine you're at home and you run across a bold Movado watch for $2,000 you simply can't live without. But since you're about to take a Caribbean cruise, you consider waiting until you can hit the duty-free shops to compare prices. There are three ways you'll be able to realize your savings throughout your journey.
- Duty-free savings: Compared to U.S. retail prices on imported brands, duty-free prices can offer initial savings anywhere from 10 percent, like with Lagos or Roberto Coin jewelry, to 20 percent with Movado or Tissot watches. So, upon your arrival at your first island stop, you discover the same watch you've been eyeing for a mere $1,600 instead of $2,000. This $400 savings is all thanks to duty-free shopping.
- Tax-free savings: Secondly, you realize making your purchase in the duty-free realm of the Caribbean also that you won't have to worry about additional sales taxes you might experience at home. Take the 8.8 percent sales tax you might find in New York City. Applied to a $2,000 watch, your final total comes to $2,176. Without sales tax and with your duty-free savings, $1,600 looks very refreshing next to that number. That amounts to total savings of $576, a full 26.5 percent from U.S. retail costs!
This example is just one of many ways duty-free shopping is truly worthwhile, providing you with fun and luxury at competitive pricing. Little Switzerland store locations can help you extend your savings on large purchases as well by offering financing plans with zero interest, allowing you to completely relax during the rest of your trip.
Visit Little Switzerland for the Best Deals on Duty-Free Jewelry in the Caribbean
On your next visit to the Caribbean and Key West, Little Switzerland retail locations will welcome you with open arms and offer you our exceptional service and price-match guarantee. We are proud to offer the best-preferred financing options for up to 24 months. Just ask one of our knowledgeable sales professionals to get you started!
Give us a call for more information about special pricing opportunities for top luxury brands. Your well-deserved holiday reward is right around the corner, and we can't wait to help you find it.