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17 Cheapest Shopping Destinations in the World

17 Cheapest Shopping Destinations in the World

Some people travel the world seeking thrills like climbing the tallest mountain or running a marathon through a tundra. Others 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, funky neighborhood boutiques with items from artists and craftsmen, or luxury goods, traveling the globe puts fantastic deals at your fingertips.

Whether planning your next vacation around sun and sand or local cultural sites, you can blend top shopping destinations into the mix. The variety of interesting shops you’ll find on your travels are enough to bring out even the most die-hard window shopping enthusiast to whip out their travel card and get shopping.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle

Check out our list of the best shopping destinations worldwide, and leave some extra room in your luggage for all the amazingly good deals you’ll find!

What is the best country for shopping overall?

Woman Shopping

The USA is generally seen as one of the best countries for shopping overall. With seemingly endless shopping malls and generally higher quality goods on offer for the consumer, it’s easy to see why.

Many super popular brands that have global fame call the US their home, like Disney, GAP, Apple, Patagonia, and New Balance. The country also boasts well-known retail giants like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Its retail scene is vast and varied, catering to every taste possible. You can easily pick up great deals at outlet and department stores or empty your wallet clean at high-end designer shops galore.

See Related: Cheapest Places to Fly Around the World

Best Affordable Shopping Destinations in the United States

1. New York City

New York City buildings and night lights
Phil Dolby / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

On the face of it, New York City might not seem like a budget shopper’s paradise; after all, fifth Avenue is considered one of the most expensive retail streets in the whole world. But this city can provide great bargains too.

If designer labels are what you’re after, brands like Prada, Gucci, and Dior can all be found when sifting through local thrift stores. Moreover, high-quality knock-off luxury goods, almost indistinguishable from the real deal, can be found at street markets.

New York City also boasts many great flea markets, like Nolita Flea Market, Chelsea Flea, Annex Markets, Brooklyn Flea, or Grand Bazaar NYC, to pick up a unique bargain.

See Related: New York Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting

2. Orlando

Aerial view of Downtown Orlando, Florida
Kevin Ruck / Adobe Stock

While Orlando is home to the incredibly popular tourist hot spot, Walt Disney World, it’s also home to over 500 outlet stores, making it a great destination for bargain shopping.

Additionally, just north of the city is the high-end Winter Park. Renowned for beautiful outdoor spaces, Winter Park also features nearly 300 luxury and high-end boutiques. So, if you’re looking to splash the cash, Winter Park makes a great shopping spree day trip from Orlando.

See Related: How to Get Discount Disney Tickets in Orlando, Florida

3. Texas

Sunset Over the Houston, Texas Skyline
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the shopping centers are no exception. Houston is considered the South’s fashion and shopping capital and the country’s fourth most populous city.

A suitable addition to popular shopping cities in the US, Houston has over 50 shopping centers housing over 16,000 retail stores. Most notable is the Galleria, with over 375 stores and an Ice Rink for extra pizzazz.

The Galleria is heaven for haute couture fanatics. Think Rodeo Drive, only larger and dotted with more designer boutiques.

4. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Aerial of Cars on Busy Highway 94 with Minneapolis Skyline
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Minneapolis, Minnesota, might be a surprising addition to this list of cheap shopping destinations in the US. Still, Minneapolis is home to Target’s flagship store 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, an underground aquarium, a dine-in indoor rainforest, a four-story LEGO park, and over 500 shops featuring many top brands.

Best of all, in 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!

See Related: Best Hotels Near Mall of America

Cheapest Countries for Shopping

1. Hong Kong

Hongkong

Hong Kong sure does enjoy many glamorous malls filled with luxury brands. But you can actually find some fantastic consumer deals in this top-tier shopping city.

To find world-class bargains in Hong Kong, haggle with shop clerks to save big. Let them know what you want and what you want to pay; they’ll see if they can make it happen.

Make your way to the lively Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong’s hub for bargain shopping. Alternatively, turn to Citygate Outlets for big brands at big discounts or Ladies Market for some exciting haggling in a fashion-filled, open-air market.

See Related: Asia Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting

2. Spain

Madrid, Spain

Spain, especially Madrid, is the best shopping destination for those seeking variety: Old World charm and New World flair.

Madrid boasts over 50,000 boutiques, giant department stores, pop-up shops, 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 about anything here: vendors selling clothing, jewelry, purses, watches, handmade products, and artisan goods.

See Related: Spain Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting

3. Mexico

Shops in Mexico

Mexico is North America’s manufacturing hub and one of the world’s cheapest shopping destinations. This exciting country is a great place to find cheap designer goods from labels that manufacture locally. Find these brands at affordable wholesale prices.

Big brands that manufacture in Mexico include Nike, Patagonia, Land’s End, LL Bean, Mancandy, Lorena Saravia, CIHUAH, Philips, Siemens, Nokia, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and many more. You can also find fantastic deals at local markets and shops on pottery, jewelry, blankets, baskets, dolls, toys, and traditional handicrafts.

See Related: Travel Tips for Visiting Mexico on a Budget

4. Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Apart from being a major travel destination for its beaches and scenery, Thailand is also an incredibly cheap travel destination for shopping.

In Bangkok, the capital city, find huge open-air markets that sell everything you could think of. Fill your suitcase with cheap clothing, electronic gadgets, artisan-made goods, and more than a few watches.

Spend your weekend exploring the 8,000 stalls of Chatuchak Weekend Market spread across a maze of 35 acres with a little bit of everything on sale. The Union Mall is another hot spot for bargains, not too far from Chatuchak, with prices generally lower than other malls in the city.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Thailand

5. Czech Republic

The Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague is known for its beautiful architecture and fascinating history and as a lure for European shoppers seeking outstanding deals.

Prague offers terrific deals on clothing, shoes, artisan-made goods, artwork, traditional wooden toys, and anything a shopper wants. Try some honey here while you’re at it; it’s beautiful!

Prague offers fantastic price tags on 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: 3 Days in Prague Itinerary: How to Spend a Weekend

6. Vietnam

Shops in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the world’s cheapest shopping destinations, and travelers on a tight budget especially love Vietnam. 

Most items can be bought at one-third the cost you would pay anywhere else. You can find wholesale prices on popular designer brands manufactured in the country.

H&M, Uniqlo, Gap, J. Crew, MANGO, Columbia, Lacoste, Patagonia, The North Face, Under Armour, and Levi’s are popular brands manufactured in Vietnam, making it a clothes shopping magnet.

It’s also one of the world’s fake watch Meccas. Sure, you won’t walk away with a genuine Rolex or Omega, but many of these “replicas” are top-notch in style and quality.

Cheapest Countries For Luxury Shopping

1. France

Young Traveler looking at Eiffel Tower in Paris
zigres / Adobe Stock

Many of the world’s popular luxury brands originate from France, so it makes sense that buying them from their home soil makes for less of a hit to the wallet. Moreover, a lack of sales tax and exchange rates favoring the US dollar helps create a deals-friendly shopping environment for tourists.

For example, a Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag 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.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in France & Things to Do

2. Italy

Milan Shoppers in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
chaoss / Adobe Stock

Much like France, Italy offers VAT refunds on your shopping of between 13% and 15%, which helps massively when looking to splurge. You’ll just need to show your passport on purchase and then show your purchases (unused) at airport customs for your refund.

When in Italy, head to Milan for some of the best luxury shopping you’ll find in the country. Once there, make for the designer outlets and find Italian brands like Armani and Versace, sometimes for as much as 70% off!

Rome is also a fine choice for cheaper designer label hunting. Some of the city’s best designer outlets to visit include Castel Romano, Gente Roma, and Valmontone. Moreover, go to Vestiti Usati Cinzia for pre-loved designer items that find themselves looking for a second home.

See Related: Italy vs France: Which is Better to Visit?

3. The United Kingdom

Regent Street in London, England
AnnaMoskvina / Adobe Stock

London is one of the world’s fashion capitals and hosts numerous flagship stores of beloved brands. Post Brexit, the VAT refund system was scrapped, so VAT-free shopping is better in France or Italy. But if you’re coming in from the US, you’ll notice comparatively cheaper prices.

Famous British designer labels like Burberry and Jimmy Choo will be great options to scope out while in the UK, with more inventory available and potentially more agreeable prices. In the UK, other brands worth looking into for cheaper prices are Mulberry, Ted Baker, and Kurt Geiger.

See Related: Interesting, Fun Facts About London

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 fantastic culture and design in each city. Therefore, each one has a legitimate boast to this claim.

1. Milan

Duomo di Milano in Milan
rudi1976 / Adobe Stock

Milan is a city full of designers and design inspiration. Since the 16th Century, Milan, Italy, has been considered one of the world’s foremost fashion capitals. Today, it hosts fashion events rivaling the largest shows in Paris, London, Rome, and New York.

If you get inspired from attending any shows and splurge on some high-value items for yourself, ensure you’ve got the right insurance backing you. Should your suitcase be lost en route home, you’ll have compensation for losing that new Gucci bag!

See Related: Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Milan

2. Paris

Galeries Lafayette, Paris Interior
agcreativelab / AdobeStock

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 many prestige fashion and beauty brands, including Chanel, Chloé, Givenchy, Alexandre Vauthier, and Jean-Paul Gaultier.

See Related: Best Paris Night Tours: See the City of Lights

3. London

Liberty London Department store at night
lexey Fedorenko / Adobe Stock

London became a significant city for European fashion in the 16th Century. After a slight hit in reputation as Spain and France entered the scene, the city’s relevance saw a major resurgence in the 19th Century.

Noteworthy brands and designers from the UK include Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Victoria Beckham, Philip Treacy, Ted Baker, Stella McCartney, and anything out of Saville Row.

See Related: Where to Stay in London: Best Areas & Neighborhoods

4. New York City

Time Square in New York
Mark / Adobe Stock

New York joined the pack of mega, global fashion centers throughout the 20th century. The city enjoyed an explosion of growth during the 1940s and 1950s following World War II.

Part of New York’s rise was its development and popularization of sportswear and casual wear. Its take on this style countered Europe’s extravagant and stuffy couture styles.

New York has a considerable list of iconic and globally renowned designers. To name a few, Isaac Mizrahi, Tory Burch, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren are just some of the hundreds of top-tier brands.

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