Make sure you arrive well in advance if you're flying from any of these duty-free paradises
1. Changi Airport, : With over 300 shopping and retail outlets, you are always spoilt for choice irrespective of which of the three terminals your flight takes off from. Once you are done exploring all the gadgets and fragrances on offer you can shop for her at the only Chloe or Miu Miu stores at any airport worldwide or check out local fashion brands like Charles & Keith or Chomel. And if you are lucky enough to be there on a weekend checkout a whole range of ‘Fabulous Friday Deals’ for random people on your shopping list or pick up some exotic fresh flowers at TOP Orchids and surprise her when you land.
2. Frankfurt International Airport, Germany: If you are flying to the US or back, there’s a good chance you will touch down at continental Europe’s largest airport which is also a shopper’s paradise. Terminal 1 has the largest spread of brands from Etro and Hermès to Germany’s very own SØR that houses premium brands like Gant. Look out for the Porsche Design store for a range of high-octane accessories and if you need to refuel head to Marché that offers crispy salads and fresh hand-squeezed juices in a market like environment. Don’t fret if you don’t have much time at the airport just order your Duty free goodies from Heinemann’s online, flash your boarding pass and pick it all up in a jiffy
3. Dubai International Airport, UAE: The words Dubai and Duty free are almost inseparable, it’s not surprising given the sheer size and shopping buzz at the world’s largest duty free operation. Best known for its high-stakes raffle draws where you can win luxury automobiles (Like the Maybach 62S Landaulet last year) or $2 million in cash, Dubai Duty Free's 200,000 plus sq ft is every shopaholic’s dream come true. There are fabulous deals on jewellery, a wide selection of fragrances at prices lower than Dubai’s glitzy malls and an eclectic selection of French wines at Le Clos.
4. Heathrow London, UK: With about 200,000 passengers passing through its gates every single day, the world’s third busiest airport might be too chaotic for your liking. That is until you focus on your priorities. The crowds suddenly become a blur and you can indulge in retail therapy. Look for special deals on British designer brands like Mulberry and Ted Baker that comfortably rub shoulders with International favourites like Jimmy Choo and Mont Blanc. And if you are a whisky connoisseur, you will feel at home at World of Whiskies that boasts of a range of nearly 350 malts.
5. Hong Kong International Airport: The Skytrax International airport of the year (2011) enjoys the advantage of being one of the world’s newest and one of the best designed. Terminal 1 with over 160 shops is a shoppers hub and one of the first airports to feature exclusive outlets for brands like Prada, Kiehl’s and Giorgio Armani Cosmetics. And if you want to escape the brood you can either pack them off to the 4D theatre and shop for your gadgets in peace or let them shop for toys in Terminal 2 while you tee off at the 9-hole golf course.