Tag Archives: uk

If you’re a tourist – demand a tax refund!

Stop Paying Taxes

Travellers can often claim back local sales tax on high-value goods you’ll be ‘exporting’. Whenever you make a purchase overseas it’s worth asking whether you can seek a refund of sales tax – it is possible throughout most of Europe but not for GST paid in New Zealand, for instance. Local regulations vary but this often involves having the goods and reciept stamped by customs before you depart. You may be paid on the spot, but more frequently you need to mail the stamped form back to the place of purchase for a refund check or electronic credit.

Global Refund - Tax Free ShoppingTwo services Global Tax Refund Tax Free Shopping and Premier Tax Free promise to simplify the process of reimbursement in many (overwealmingly European) countries, although whether you’re interested in the services or not the websites are useful for a guide to European sales tax rates and restrictions (e.g. time limit for export or refund claims).

Both services are designed to simplify and streamline the process and allow you to be reimbursed immediately at their airport kiosk for purchases previously mPremier Tax Freeade at participating merchants who display relevant logo. If you forget or don’t have a chance to claim at the airport you will often be able to access the refund by mailing the documents from home, but check this in advance. Global Tax Free is the larger with some 230,000 participating merchants in 35 countries, Premier claims around of 75,000 ‘retail partners’ across 15 countries. Both websites offer shopping guides containing a list of participating merchants and specific details of the claims process for each country.

Both of these systems charge a percentage commission (around 4%) for the service, which may or may not be a fair price for avoiding dealings with the local beuracracy.

For a good guide to tax refunds for travellers in Europe see Rick Steves’ guide.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Image by Jahat]

Advertisements

Free! Travel Information Delivered To Your Door!

The internet is an incredible free source of destination information, but it can’t quite match the thrill of receiving a whole envelope full of free glossy brochures of beautiful people streched out before vistas of azure oceans. Here are two great sources of free travel information delivered to your door; one defintely useful, the perhaps somewhat other less so.

Travel BrochuresLet’s start with the best. Tourism authorities are a fantastic and often-overlooked source of travel information – particularly for decent free maps and basic info with lots of glossy pictures. ANTOR’s* represents 48 official tourism authorities (including the Australian State authorities) and the destination info page provides (along side some basic travel info) the URL, email address and contact details for all of them. If you’re interested in any major destination for Australian travellers it will be listed. Simply email the relevant authority with your address, rough dates of travel and as far as possible the specific regions or cities you’re interested in and wait for the postie everyday for a week or so! No substitute for a good guidebook or your own research but generally there will be at least a couple of genuinely useful items in the material sent.

TravelBrochures.com.au and TravelBrochures.SMH.com.au are another clearing house for free travel information, although arguably of a must less useful nature. These sites allow to order free tour company brochures, some of which are available in digital (tree-saving) format. All the majors are available as well as a few smaller operators – useful if you wish to compare tours from a number of companies or can’t get to a travel agent. Of course some major operators now send out (often unintenionally comical) DVDs as as a bonus! Be warned, however, apart from ending up on a tour (which may or may not be a bad thing in itself…), you are likely to end up on a mailing list of the tour companies from which it may be difficult to extract yourself!

*(Association of National Tourist Office Representatives in Australasia)

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Image by Classroom III]

Extra! Extra! London more expensive than Warsaw

 Warsaw Royal Castle A survey by the UK Post Office Travel Service has found Warsaw to be the cheapest of ten ‘cultural captials’, with London shockingly rated as the most expensive:

For around £75 price tag tourists can enjoy a trip including visits to Warsaw’s historic art galleries, museums and heritage sites, together with nights at the renowned Polish National Opera, ballet and a symphony concert. The experience cost less than 25 per cent of the equivalent London cost. (TravelWeekly)

The survey measured the cost of admission to three top museums or galleries and three heritage sites, and tickets to an orchestral performance, opera and ballet. Prague, Lisbon and Amsterdam also fared well in the economy stakes, compared to Rome, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and New York.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Image via Kevin’s Gadgets]

Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (13th of May)

Travel Tips of the Week

John Flinn, SF Gate: Travel Light Means Fewer Clothes, Wash Your Own

A great guide to washing clothes quickly with only a sink.

General

For everyone determined to make the most of their holiday time Bootsnall has five destinations where the summer sun just don’t set (literally).

Bravenewtraveler has some suggestions for avoiding getting lost in a new city.

Wired’s How To Wiki has an excellent guide to buying a digital camera.

Matador has some tips for visiting indigenous peoples.

The Americas

Intelligent Travel has some tips for finding the authentic Flushing in Queens, New York. The Guardian has some tips for free things to do in New York.

SFGate has a guide to LCC’s in Mexico.

Europe

Eurocheapo has some cheap places to see Michelangelo’s work in Florence, including the sadly overlooked Bargello. In Krakow they suggest five free things to do and for good measure they have five great places for a picnic in Paris.

Coach travel in Europe can be a more economical alternatives to the fabled Eurorail pass. itravelnet rounds up the low coast bus services in Europe and surveys European bus passes.

The Guardian has a guide to the Isle of Man. Ask a Local on High Culture on a Low Budget features Mike from London.

Nick Trend in The Telegraph claims to list Venice’s top ten budget (well less than £130 a night) hotels.

With the Champions League final around the corner The Guardian has some suggestions for Moscow.

Rick Steves has a very entertaining audio discussions about Rome and Istanbul.

Asia

9000 Hours in Saigon has a guide to Vietnamese titles

Frommers has an audio guide to South Korea with Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee, author of Frommer’s South Korea.

MSNBC has some tips for first time visitors to India.

Thailand is pretty cheap to begin with, but Budgettravelguide has some tips for making it even cheaper.

Travel Blogging – is that thing still around? has some tips for dealing with Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Stuff.co.nz has some tips for seeing Singapore with children.

Africa

Frommers.com Podcast discusses Namibia.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Sunset in Iceland by Deivis, Coach image by orisfrancesco.com, NAIA image via alexyra]

AirAsia to Commence Flights to London in March – KL to London for A$400

AirAsiaAccording to a report in Malaysian newspaper The Star AirAsia X will commence flights from Kuala Lumpur to London from March next year. According to the article AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes ‘estimated that the average cost of a return fare to London would be about RM1,200 [around A$400] while the higher-class flatbed seats would cost about RM8,000 [around $2,5000] return’. Presuming these figures are accurate (which is a big presumption) a return fare from the Gold Coast to London would be in the ball park of A$1,100. Very tasty.

The flights are likely to operate out of Stanstead with AirAsia X starting with five flights a week using aLondon leased Airbus A340 (with Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 aircraft in the future) but “we will build it up to eventually two flights on a daily basis.”

On-board amenities sound better than one would expect “Our on-board entertainment system will be a state-of-the-art touch screen unit. You can watch movies, listen to music and even order your food from the unit.” Ordering food from the on-board entertainment system does, however, suggest that even what little cabin service one can otherwise expect from an LCC may be stripped away.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Image credit Dimitry B]