Some people travel the world seeking out thrills; climbing the tallest mountain, running a marathon through a tundra, or searching for the perfect wave to ride – while some people love a different kind of thrill; the thrill of a great shopping deal!
The best shopping cities in the world have got it all.
Whether you’re into weekly flea markets and farmers markets, local goods from artists and craftsmen, or luxury goods from Gucci and Louis Vuitton, traveling the globe puts amazing deals at your fingertips.
Whether you’re planning your next vacation around sun and sand or local cultural sites, you can blend top shopping destinations into the mix too.
While you might not be a die-hard bargain shopper, everyone wants to take advantage of wholesale prices and cheap shopping that’s duty-free.
Check out our list of the best shopping destinations worldwide, and make sure to leave some extra room in your luggage for all the amazingly good deals you’ll find!
Table of Contents
- What is the best country for shopping?
- Other countries that earn high marks for amazing shopping and high fashion items.
- What country is the cheapest for shopping?
- 1. Hong Kong
- 2. Spain
- 3. Mexico
- 4. Thailand
- 5. Czech Republic
- 6. Vietnam
- What country has the cheapest luxury shopping?
- What is the world’s fashion capital?
- New York City
- What is the shopping capital of Europe?
- In which country is Adidas cheapest?
- In which country is Gucci cheapest?
- What are the best affordable shopping destinations in the United States?
- Shopping Staycations
What is the best country for shopping?
New York City in the USA consistently earns top marks for being among the best shopping destinations in the world.
From bargain shopping to pop-up shops to giant department stores, New York City is all things to all shoppers.
On the face of it, New York City might not seem like a budget shopper’s paradise, but it can be.
- You can find Prada, Gucci, and Dior in thrift shops and consignment stores. Only in the Big Apple are there people rich enough, and busy enough, to donate $10,000 designer clothes to charities!
- There are really high-quality knock-off purses and luxury goods that are almost indistinguishable from the real brand at street markets…not that I’m recommending this at all *cough*.
- You can shop sample sales for local designers.
- Pay a visit to the garment district in Midtown Manhattan to scout for bargains.
- Explore the city’s many flea markets like Nolita Flea Market, Chelsea Flea, Annex Markets, Brooklyn Flea, or Grand Bazaar NYC.
- Shop for designer labels at factory outlets just outside of the city. There are bus lines that shuffle tourists to and from all day long.
Other countries that earn high marks for amazing shopping and high fashion items.
Among these are Japan (Tokyo offers amazing, dream-like department stores), England (London prices can destroy you, so beware, but the flea markets and ye olde shoppes full of curiosities are amazing – other large cities like Birmingham and Coventry are also great hubs for great deals), and Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, houses 3 of the world’s 10 largest shopping malls.
Among them is Utama, a giant shopping mecca that contains nearly 700 shops (and all the high end brands), a massive rooftop garden with over 500 species of exotic plants, an indoor rainforest, and Asia’s largest indoor rock-climbing facility.
See Related: Epic Tips for Stress-Free Travel
What country is the cheapest for shopping?
There are many countries that offer cheap, budget shopping. When it comes to the cheapest shopping destinations in the world, we have a tie between Hong Kong, Spain, Mexico, and Thailand.
Other countries that earn high marks on our list of cheapest shopping destinations include Greece, the Czech Republic, and Vietnam.
1. Hong Kong
While you may see dollar signs when you think of Hong Kong, believe it or not you can find fantastic consumer deals there making it an amazing cheap shopping destination.
Find world-class bargains in Hong Kong. Haggle with shop clerks (who can stalk you around their store) to save big. Let clerks know what you want and what you want to pay; they’ll see if they can make it happen.
See Related: Best Credit Cards for Travel Perks
Spain, especially Madrid, is perhaps the best shopping destination for those seeking variety: Old World charm and New World flair.
The city boasts over 50,000 boutiques, giant department stores, and huge weekly flea markets you can visit in market squares over 1,000 years old. El Rastro is Spain’s largest and most famous flea market.
Find just about anything here; vendors selling clothing, jewelry, purses, watches, handmade products, and artisan goods.
See Related: Reasons Why Traveling is Important
Mexico is America’s manufacturing hub and one of the world’s most amazing, and cheapest, shopping destinations.
Mexico is a great place to find cheap designer goods from designer labels that manufacture locally. Find these brands at cheap, wholesale prices.
You can also find amazing deals at local markets and shops on pottery, jewelry, blankets, baskets, dolls, toys, and traditional handicrafts.
See Related: Best Archaeological Sites in Mexico
Apart from being a major travel destination for its beaches and scenery, Thailand is also an incredibly cheap travel destination.
In Bangkok, the capital city, find huge open-air markets that sell everything you could think of, from cheap clothing to cutting-edge electronic gadgets, to artisan-made goods and more than a few watches. You’ll also find a thriving jade market in Thailand.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Thailand
5. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic’s capital city Prague is known for its beautiful architecture and fascinating history, and as a lure for shoppers in Europe seeking great deals.
Prague offers amazing deals on clothing, shoes, artisan-made goods, artwork, traditional wooden toys, and just about anything a shopper might want. Try some of the honey here while you’re at it; it’s bee-autiful stuff!
Prague offers fantastic price tags on both domestic and imported products, making the city a magnet for Western Europeans looking to score low prices on everyday items and luxury goods.
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Czech, Republic
Vietnam is one of the world’s cheapest shopping destinations and offers quite possibly the best bargain-seeking adventure you could ever hope for. You can find anything and everything in Vietnam; you just need to search for it.
Travelers on a tight budget especially love Vietnam. It’s loaded with history and culture, and some of the world’s cheapest prices for lodging, food, and goods of every kind.
Most items can be bought at one-third the cost of what you would pay anywhere else, and you can find wholesale prices on popular and designer brands that are manufactured there.
It’s also one of the world’s fake watch Meccas. Sure, it might not be a real Rolex or Omega, but many of these “replicas” are top notch in terms of style and build quality…and it’s not like you can buy 3 Seamasters for $50 anywhere else!
See Related: Best Travel Movies to Inspire You
What country has the cheapest luxury shopping?
It all depends on the brands and labels you’re looking for. When analyzing the globe shopper city index for what prestige or couture designer labels will sell around the globe, (if you’re curious, you can read the full Globe Shopper City Index), the countries that offer the cheapest luxury shopping are Italy and France tied for the number one spot, and the UK at number two.
France, Italy, and the United Kingdom have a high number of luxury labels that you can buy without having to pay import taxes and other fees.
A Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag, for example, is 30% to 40% cheaper if you purchase it in France instead of the United States. You can get this Louis Vuitton bag at a little over $1,060 in France vs the average US price of $1,513.
China, with its burgeoning wealthy consumer class, is the most expensive place to indulge.
China sells luxury goods at the highest global prices on average, which is why a lot of China’s wealthiest do their luxury shopping in London or Paris.
See Related: Best Roadtrip Books for Kids
What is the world’s fashion capital?
Depending on who you ask, the world’s fashion capital is Milan, Paris, London, or New York City.
They are known as the “Big Four” fashion capitals of the 21st century, (and earlier if we’re being honest) as there’s a history of amazing culture and design in each of these cities, therefore each one has a legitimate boast to this claim.
See Related: Best Travel Shorts
Milan is a city full of designers and design inspiration. Since the 16th Century, Milan, Italy has been considered one of the world’s major fashion capitals.
Today, it hosts fashion events that can rival the largest shows in Paris, London, Rome, and New York.
See Related: Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Milan
Since the times of Louis XIV, Paris has held a reputation as the main center of fashion, if not the fashion epicenter of the world.
France is home to a vast array of prestige fashion and beauty brands, including Chanel, Chloé, Givenchy, Alexandre Vauthier, and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
See Related: Best Paris Night Tours
Under the influence of the Royal Court, London became a major city for European fashion starting in the 16th century.
This reputation waned as Spain and France’s fashion dominance reigned over Europe but saw a grand resurgence in the 19th Century during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Her choice of a white gown for her wedding has become the norm for weddings worldwide. Nothing says “bride” better than a white wedding gown. She’s also the reason why we associate blue with boys and pink with girls (before her time it was the reverse!)
Noteworthy brands and designers from London Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Victoria Beckham, Philip Treacy, Ted Baker, Stella McCartney, and anything out of Saville Row.
New York City
New York joined the pack of mega, global fashion centers a few centuries later.
New York City rose to prominence in the fashion world throughout the 20th century, with an explosion of growth during the 1940’s and 1950’s following World War II.
Part of New York’s rise was its development and popularization of sportswear and casual wear, countering the extravagant and stuffy couture styles of Europe.
New York is home to a huge list of iconic and globally renowned designers.
What is the shopping capital of Europe?
Paris, France tops the list for most fashion aficionados. The City of Light delights travel shoppers from all over Europe and throughout the rest of the entire world.
From elegant, gilded department stores, to hole-in-the-wall boutiques and thrift stores, and everything in-between, Paris is a can’t-miss destination for travel-lovers and fashion-lovers.
Other major shopping cities in Europe that travel-shoppers love include Milan, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Istanbul, Munich, Vienna, and Brussels.
See Related: Best Party Cities in Europe
In which country is Adidas cheapest?
According to a study conducted by Deutsche Bank, the United States is the cheapest developed country where you can buy a pair of Adidas and Australia is the most expensive. Deutsche Bank conducted a study looking at the purchasing power across countries, using a methodology similar to The Economist’s Big Mac Index.
Among all countries, including developing countries where Adidas is manufactured, India is the cheapest country to buy a pair of Adidas shoes, followed by Indonesia, Russia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
This is still good news for the US shopper. Unless you’re headed for Jakarta sometime soon, you can relax knowing you’re still getting a pretty good price for Adidas – and with an Adidas promo code, you can save even more money yet. There is no other country on earth that has more coupons, coupon codes, promo codes, cash back rebates, and sales events than the United States!
See Related: Best Travel Sandals for Beach Destinations
In which country is Gucci cheapest?
While this may come as a surprise, the United Kingdom (and not Italy) is the cheapest nation to buy Gucci. That said, most of Britain’s neighbors on the European continent have pricing that comes pretty close.
Gucci, like many luxury brands, is manufactured in Europe. Europe is the cheapest place to buy Gucci, and for now, the UK is still the cheapest country in Europe to buy it, in spite of Brexit.
See Related: Best Castles in London You Need to See
What are the best affordable shopping destinations in the United States?
The United States is home to a number of amazing and affordable shopping destinations.
- New York City
- Union Square, San Francisco
- Pike Place Market
- Downtown Boston
- The Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue), Chicago
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Orlando, Florida
- Houston, Texas
- The Forum Shops, Las Vegas
- Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles
Orlando, Houston, and Minneapolis may seem like less obvious selections. Believe it or not, Orlando is one of the most frequented shopping destinations worldwide.
Tourists come for Walt Disney World, and while they’re here, they take advantage of discount prices at the more than 500 outlet stores located in Orlando.
Additionally, the city’s high-end Winter Park features nearly 300 luxury and high-end boutiques.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the shopping centers are no exception. Houston is considered the fashion capital of the South, and is the country’s fourth most populous city.
It has over 50 shopping centers housing over 16,000 retail stores. Houston’s 2.4 million sq ft Houston Galleria is haute couture heaven. It’s like Rodeo Drive, only larger and dotted with more boutiques.
Minneapolis, Minnesota may be the most surprising, but Minneapolis is home to Target and Best Buy, two retail mega-giants. And it hosts the nation’s largest shopping mall, the 5 million sq ft Mall of America (MOA).
The MOA is large enough to fit seven New York Yankee stadiums. It hosts an indoor amusement park with a roller coaster, an underground aquarium, dine-in rainforest, a four-story LEGO park, and over 500 shops, featuring many of the top brands.
Best of all, in the state of Minnesota, there is no sales tax on clothing or shoes. This means a $7,100 Chanel tweed jacket will cost $630.13 less in Minnesota than in New York City!
Considering roundtrip airfare from NYC to MSP starts at just $127, the travel bargain and no-sales tax make a shopping trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes more than worth your while.
See Related: Best Unknown Places to Visit in the U.S.
With staycations becoming a common thing, people are incorporating rest, relaxing, local sightseeing, and shopping into their staycations.
For some, this may mean hitting up local shopping centers and boutiques or even spending some time discovering new brands online, like Quincy Mae baby and Jamie Kay baby clothing, twirly dresses from Alice and Ames, or timeless looks from ModCloth and Vetta Capsule.
There’s a whole, stylish world to discover from your smartphone! If you shop with deals sites, there are loads of coupons and cashback rebates right at your fingertips.
A shopping staycation can be a great time to explore online fashion magazines, new designers, fashion lookbooks, and fashion blogs, and support local fashion houses.
You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.