Are there things that are so much cheaper in the US, that I could buy some to help offset the cost of my holiday?

The story goes that some Adobe software used to be so overpriced in Aus that you could fly to the US, buy it, and fly back for less than the cost to buy it in Aus.

I don't think it's true anymore, but it got me wondering:

Is there anything I should get while I'm there, for my own use - or, if it's cheap enough, to sell when I get back - to offset the cost of my holiday a bit?

I was thinking of getting a VR headset there, but lately they've been similarly priced here. Seems that way for a lot of electronics at the moment; once you convert, the US price isn't that much better.

Some home theatre tech - like projectors and subwoofers - are both still hundreds of dollars cheaper there, but they don't travel in suitcases too well (subs are big and heavy, projectors seem fragile).

A high-end CPU or GPU maybe?

Any ideas?

Comments

  • +11 votes

    Done a few trips to the USA.

    Technology used to be a lot cheaper over there but the margin seems to have reduced to GST on most things I look at. Ie, you are likely better off to buy here and get GST back through TRS.

    Clothes are way cheaper in the US compared to here.

    There might be high-end tech bargains to be had. I haven't found any.

    If you do find some bargain please let us know (I'm headed there next week).

      • +22 votes

        If you hit the outlet malls, especially during sale times in the US the brand clothing sales there demolish any of the sales you will find in Aus. Impossible to compete with the scale they have combined with cheap labour and retail space costs in their outlet malls.

      • +6 votes

        na no way, a mate of mine copped common projects for under $100 in the states. Good luck finding a pair here under $300. Volume and buying power in the states is far more powerful than Australia's

    • +11 votes

      I've already got one you see

      • +5 votes

        spent a bit more for the local stock with warranty? Or a grey import?

        In all seriousness though, PC gear is usually pretty cheap over there, just have to make sure customs don't catch on while you're coming back. Maybe brand name watches/accessories that might carry international warranty?

      • +6 votes

        I'd wouldn't mind a piece of Anne Marie if you don't mind sharing.

  • +12 votes

    The current exchange also stuffs things up. A few years ago it was parity or better so that helped

  • +3 votes

    I travel to the US every second month for work and the state sales tax (added into ticket price) and exchange rate mean there's pretty much nothing cheaper than you can get here on sale. Claiming GST via TRS is pretty good for bigger purchases.

  • +42 votes

    just enjoy your holiday, wasting your time and money trying to make a few $$, you worked hard all year for this holiday, now your turning it into a buying trip instead of enjoy the limited time you have over there.

    • +12 votes

      Exploring stores that you've heard of but never seen is part of the fun over there

      • +2 votes

        between dodging bullets.

        •  

          Last time I went I hardly ever got shot at.

          I did see Jerry Seinfeld, though.

        •  

          @ItsMeAgro:

          Was he driving a Porsche?

        • +1 vote

          If you're dodging bullets, you've got your gun pointed in the wrong direction..

        • +4 votes

          @Scrooge McDuck:

          Someone approached us on the street and said "Hey, want free tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld? He's on a talk show tonight but the audience is not full yet."

          We thought it was surely a scam - we were on the Hollywood "walk of fame" with all the costumed people seeking tips jump into your photos, and the dudes selling their CDs for ten bucks, and the overpriced tourist trap stuff. But we thought, why not.

          So we show up and sure enough, we're in the audience of Tonight with Spike Fereston, and Jerry is a guest. Got to see him in the flesh.

    • +1 vote

      We'll definitely be shopping a bit, anyway - that's one of the funnest things to see in the US.

  • +4 votes

    My brother used to bring back car parts but I have no idea with the current exchange rate. Might be worth looking into something a bit more specialised, and easier to transport.

    • +1 vote

      Some car parts and motorbike parts and a lot of farm machinary too are still worth bringing back as the local mark ups are insane (but they are bulky and you need to know what is actually worth it here). Generally most electronics, clothing etc simply aren't worth the effort, you might make a very small profit for what is a very large inconvenience. Personally I just use my regular trips their to visit the outlet malls and stock up on jeans etc for myself.

      •  

        Agree with you on the jeans. It is hard to get decent petite sized jeans in Australia so I go to the outlet stores and buy myself several pairs to last over the next few years. The outlet malls used to be much better value before we got a few decent ones over here - still not a lot of petite options though.

  • +13 votes

    Buy things on Amazon and ship to hotel?

    • +21 votes

      Sign up to Amazon prime, it's free for a month and gets you free delivery.

      The first hotel I stayed at wasn't thrilled when I got 10 packages sent there though!

      • +4 votes

        careful on this, got burnt once when the local courier failed to deliver on time and by the time it arrived at hotel (a week later) I was already gone. When doing this I try to order in advance and notify hotel some items may arrive for me before I arrive.

      •  

        This exactly.

        Amazon refurbished items can be massively cheaper and don't normally ship to australia.

    • +2 votes

      You'll still have to tip the hotel concierge/porter when you pick up the packages. Not an issue if just a couple small boxes, but if you have multiple including a large screen box, tips could add up pretty quickly. Some sellers refuse to ship to hotel addresses. And given it's an online order there is chance for wrong or missing items.

      I once ordered a bunch of gaming peripherals and guess what the courier company lost the package. Amazon promptly shipped another one but arrived missing the keyboard. Frustrating. Time wasted in checking with hotel concierge and chatting with Amazon meant any savings I've scored over buying in Australia were gone.

      • +3 votes

        Tips for signing for a box, give me a break, only thing I hate about America is everyone always has their had out. I wouldn't tip for picking up a box maybe if I had 5+ I would

        • +2 votes

          You don't understand the culture perhaps. Tipping isn't optional.

        •  

          The minimum wage in the US is criminally low. So tipping really is definitely not optional.

        • +3 votes

          @edy4eva: Yes, tipping is always optional… There are certain scenarios where if you don't tip you're screwing someone over (e.g. a waitress earning below minimum wage) - the concierge for signing for a small package isn't necessarily one of them.

          It would be polite to hand over a dollar, it isn't necessary to give out a large tip for each and every package.

          You could probably just use Amazon locker though - they deliver to a locker in a shopping centre etc and give you a code to access it.

        • +2 votes

          @edy4eva:

          Just buy a cheap pack of gum and give them a piece.

        • +1 vote

          @Scrooge McDuck: and watch out for the wet bandits

    • +1 vote

      Amazon shipping is cheap enough I'd rather get delivered here than the hassle of trying to bring back myself.

    •  

      Be careful, some hotels, certainly all of the casinos on the vegas strip charge like wounded bulls for you to collect mail there. they were literally charging me something like USD $7 a package to have stuff delivered there. Depending upon the item this may kill the deal.

    •  

      Done that in the past. Got kitchen ware and baby stuff.

  • +2 votes

    Magpul iPhone cases and other assorted items that are restricted under ITAR but shouldn't be. Niche market, but gun nuts will want one. Don't bring back firearms parts, bring back phone cases and miscellaneous items. Hell, if you bring one back and it's cheaper than $40AUD all up I'll gladly buy one off you!

    • +1 vote

      I agree on the Magpul cases also and have had one for nearly 2 years (6S). Strange this is that when I bought it, it fit perfectly. For some reason it is now a poor fit, especially at the corners where it seems to have expanded!!

      •  

        It seems to be a problem with all their field cases. I'm waiting for the bump case to come out, those ones don't stretch at all. On my iPhone 5s I went through 4 field cases before switching to a bump case and that is still going strong. I'm currently using a cygnett workmate pro case on my 7 but it doesn't feel as steady in my hand as the magpul ones.

        •  

          Interesting, I wasn't aware that it was a common problem with their field cases. I also would like a bump case, but after a new iPhone model is announced, Magpul take such a long time to bring out a bump case. When they do become available, I hesitate at buying because I am just about ready at that time to upgrade to the next iPhone which could use a different case size.

          Found this: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/magpul-executive-field-...

        • +1 vote

          @GOCAT9: I don't understand why magpul wouldn't just bring out the bump case and scrap the field case altogether. Having said that, my iPad Air field case has held up just fine after 3 years. My friends' nexus 5 field cases haven't stretched either.

        • +1 vote

          @niggard: agreed. Apparently, even now there is still no bump case available for the iPhone 7! Goodness knows how long we will have to wait for them when the iPhone 8 is released later this year. I don't see the point of the executive case either- it seems like a lite version of the field case. Also only available for the iPhone SE. Finally, the fact that they are export controlled is rediculous- they are only a phone case after all right!! I buy mine through eBay.

        •  

          @GOCAT9: I didn't get one this year, because paying $40 for a phone case just feels bad. I'll get a bump case when they get released, if they ever get released :(

  • +49 votes

    Petrol is cheaper. Bring back a few gallons

  • +6 votes

    Camping gear.

  • +4 votes

    Hamburgers?

  • +8 votes

    Outlet mall clothing

    • +1 vote

      Agree. Clothing is the one thing you can get cheaper and not just at the outlets. Strip mall stores are a win as well if you have the time to go through the racks.

  • +7 votes

    A car, but good luck bringing that back.

    For example, a brand new Porsche 911 cabriolet:
    Australia: $296,450
    US: $140,791

    A whopping saving of $155,659!!! You could go to America like 30 times + all expenses paid! But let's just forget about the seat being on the wrong side or the import costs for the time being :)

    • +7 votes

      most of that difference is actually tax. Australia has triple taxes on cars. import Tax, GST and luxury car tax. e.g. their is over 100k in Additional taxes to sell that car in Australia and you will still be paying them if you import it yourself :-)

    •  

      the seat being on the wrong side

      I think you mean the steering wheel guvna!

  • +2 votes

    Handbags are much cheaper, I mean branded or slightly more branded.
    Coach, Michael Korrs are some favorite. You can go more high end too.
    Shoes are also cheap. Got a few sketches.
    Also I like the household and kitchen stuff.bought a few huge platter with silver or gold trimming, handles. Lots more variety.

  • +3 votes

    Maybe you could buy a Brand new Jeep at $13,000 and remind yourself how lucky we are to pay three times as much for the same thing in Australia.

  • +1 vote

    Motor homes. Winnebagos and a raft of other unheard of models from transit vans up. For cars you need to buy before 1989 but not the case for motor homes. Unbelievable prices. Sydney/Melbourne house prices freaking you out: there's an idea.

  • +4 votes

    Unlikely you are, but if you're into books then I found secondhand book stores to have a lot of stuff we don't see here at unbelievable prices. When I discovered this in Manhattan before I went on a cross-country tour, I then made a list of secondhand book stores in each city stop on the tour so I could check them out.

    I also ordered a few books using the Abebooks website and got them all sent to my last hotel in LA to save on postage.

  • +1 vote

    OP is totally correct.
    It's not the Adobe pricing that will have changed so much as the movement in the exchange rate.
    You are now paying 50% more for anything priced in $USD

  • +8 votes

    Clothes and shoes are significantly cheaper in the USA as compared to here (comparing apples with apples, i.e. exactly same brands/styles). Unfortunately the Aussie dollar isn't so strong now, but when it was 90-95 cents I used to take trips to the USA and buy 6 months worth of clothes and shoes. The savings more than paid for my plane tickets and more each time. I got a nice holiday, nice clothes, and a ton of savings. I would stay with family, so had zero accommodation costs. I came out in front each time. I would take two large and virtually empty suitcases, a lot of stuff can be packed into those. For many years I would not buy a single piece of clothing or shoes in Australia. If you can go at the traditional sale times in the USA you can save a huge amount more (if you want to deal with the crowds).

    The outlet malls in the USA are like entire huge shopping centres themselves, much bigger than anything here, and the savings and range are far beyond what you get here. I did a lot of my shopping at those places. Outlet malls in Florida are great and you get a nice tropical holiday (and theme parks if you have kids or like that). Even a Hawaiian trip can be a ton cheaper if you need to buy a lot of things, by going to the Waikele outlet mall near Waikiki, it's great. Cheaper to fly to Hawaii than mainland USA too, about $6xx return with Jetstar if you don't fly at peak times. A little more expensive for accomodation though.

    I'm a bloke so I wasn't looking at things like handbags, jewellery etc, but I think they are significantly cheaper too.

    Watch for suff on "clearance" in the major dept stores, it's nuts how cheap they sell stuff for. I'm not kidding, shirts for $1 or $2, jeans for $10. And this is major brand stuff, not junk. They have such massive volume that they just need to clear it fast when it is end of season or the style is discontinued.

    I travelled to the USA doing this for about 10 years and although I didn't add up how much I saved, I know it was significant. I was paying around 30-50% or less of what the cost of a similar or identical item was in Sydney.

    •  

      I might add that the quality of the clothing is way and above anything you'll find in Australia. I went to the USA in 2008. I have Rockport shoes, and clothes that I am still wearing. And yes, they still look fantastic! They haven't worn, stretched, nor do I have holes in clothes after a single wear like I do, when purchasing clothes in Australia.

      The same goes for clothes when I travel to Europe.

  • +3 votes

    I purchased some SONOS gear a few years back it was much cheaper in the USA. I also got a ray marine tiller pilot for a yacht another time as well, saved a couple of hundred each time.

    Some medicines are cheaper too. I take a tablet a day that requires a prescription here. Was over the counter in the USA for half the price. I would buy a years supply and just declare it on the way in to be safe. Never had a hassle, save 50% plus the 2 doctors visits to get the scripts.

    •  

      Medication that was cheaper in the US? That's a new one for me! Thanks, I'll check prices on my son's asthma preventer…

      • +1 vote

        A simple example is antihistamine medication. I've tried virtually all the brands and found they all pretty much worked for me but the price ranged from ~50c a day through to $1+.

        When on the last visit to the US we picked up bulk packs of antihistamines which worked out to < 10c a day and they have a fairly long expiry (2+ years) and are in sealed packs anyway..

        It's a reasonable saving over 2 years ($150ish per year.. $300 over the 3 years)

        Had to have a chat to customs about why I had 700 small white pills (in containers) in my luggage but they were pretty cool about it once they had a look at a pack and it was pretty obviously it was still for personal consumption…

    • +1 vote

      If you take Cetirizine (Zyrtec) for allergies it's dirty cheap there in comparison.

    •  

      Do you mind saying what medication please Windale?

    • +1 vote

      My family in California buy a lot of their medicine over the counter in Tijuana, Mexico - real deal stuff at a fraction of the US price. There's a whole street of pharmacies there that basically supply Americans

  • +10 votes

    The other question to ask is, are there any things that you can buy here and sell in the US to help offset the cost of your holiday?

  • +2 votes

    Baby formula, and selling it to China will make you a millionaire

  • +4 votes

    Camping/outdoor gear, small electronics stuff from Amazon and of course clothes/shoes, especially from outlet malls.

    Outlet malls blew my mind, I bought fully waterproof hiking boots from Columbia for $30 AUD, I couldn't find a comparable pair in Australia for <$130 before I left and I even went to Birkenhead Point and other DFO's in Sydney.

    My missus bought 3 x Coach products for the same price as 1 here and that's from the discounted DFO store in Sydney not the flagship and the products in the Outlet malls were sometimes the current stock being sold here.

    I went to a big Macys sale on Superbowl weekend and after all the instore discounts + travelers discount I left with 4 massive bags full of brand name clothes including a down jacket for $350 AUD. $17 AUD for Nautica chinos that are better quality than anything I've bought locally.

    I must note that we did have a car for the entire trip and sometimes went out of our way to the Outlet malls but it was worth it.

    • +4 votes

      Don't forget that the bags they sell at Coach outlets in the states are actually made and sold for coach outlets. i.e they never appeared in the high street stores in the US.

      Granted they are still considerably cheaper than the items found at our DFO, but just wanted to point out something that most are not aware of

      •  

        That's right, and they have some marking on them so people can tell easily.

        •  

          Yep definitely true, I didn't believe my missus and had to google it at the time lol
          Coach stuff is easy to tell I think, something in the barcode.

          A lot of the Outlet stuff is junk, but in AU most if not all of the outlet stuff is junk.
          Genuine bargains are still to be had, I got a pair of SB Janoski Max's in a Nike outlet store for $50 in all black mesh which I have never seen heavily discounted in AU.

  • +9 votes

    The red "Make America great again" caps

  •  

    Most of their mobile handsets are virtually useless here only maybe 3 bands on 3G most of America on cdma still.

    Agree clothing is cheaper so are some sports shoes. Their name brand big clothing chains are just unbelievably cheap.clothing outlets are fantastic you need wheels.department stores like Macy's have excellent sales like name brand underwear business shirts business pants. Remember in department stores their no brands are names like Kenneth Cole, Perry Ellis etc as opposed to our department stores where no brands are granite stone and sauce pans.

    Food all come in huge servings so that's good value. Endless drinks refills too.

    You may be able to find some Nick nacks cheap like arm and hammer baking soda deodorant for 99 cents electronics not really unless on sale like laptop

    Pet foods and pet food toys not allowed into Australia so don't bother.

    Oh their mortgage interest is tax deductible under affordable home act brought about by bill Clinton during his presidency and they fix their rates for 30 years not like here only a few years.

    But don't fall sick a visit to doctor even GP can be thousand dollars

  • +2 votes

    Vitamins- > half the price

  • +4 votes

    I bought a Marshall Acton at Costco for $130USD-$171AUD. I see it for $300AUD on Ebay.

    I tell you what's cheap and good though compared to its counterparts in Australia though, an In and Out double double burger $3.45 for the delectable definition of a perfect burger exemplified. I regret not eating as many as I could have…

  • +1 vote

    You can make a decent amount of money selling Supreme brand items back here in Australia. There's a Supreme store in LA and NY, all their new releases are on a Thursday, if you can get there VERY early to lineup and manage to buy some of the mid range stuff before it sells out (things like jackets and pants around the $300-$500 range) you will easily double your money instantly. Even the tshirts that are available on normal days will net you a decent amount back here on eBay. The more obvious the Supreme logo the better it will sell.

  • +1 vote

    Sneakers, high end collectible ones.

  1. chumlee on 15/04/2017 - 19:56
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  3. 4sure on 16/04/2017 - 10:07
  4. gromit on 17/04/2017 - 09:58
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