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Florida Guide > Shopping

Even without the excellent exchange rate, shopping in the US can be a very worthwhile pastime. In December 2008, the duty free allowance is expected to rise, so you can make even better use of your luggage allowance.

I always start my shopping experience with the outlet stores. Premium outlets near SeaWorld and Prime 1 at the top of International Drive are the two largest in the Disney area. The outlets tend to have more offers, but don’t usually carry the latest stock. For both these shopping centres, sign up online for book of additional discount coupons which you collect at customer services.

Even when there are no sales on, most stores will have a reduced rail, or two, but these tend to be hidden away at the rear of the store.

Something we are not used to in the UK is the way you are greeted when you go into and out of a store, but this is normal in the US and the assistants will help you find items. When my kids have given me a list of ‘wants’, I usually just hand this to the assistant to let them do the search for me.

For the designer shops, try the Mall at Millenia. With Bloomingdales and Macys as anchor stores and names such as Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co and Louis Vuitton, you may feel prices could be a bit high. These stores however are mixed with mid range shops such as Pac sun, Forever 21, Guess and Abercrombie & Fitch. This is a beautiful mall to wander round and always looks stunning when decorated at Christmas.

Florida Mall is the largest in the area, with many store chains having their main store here. If you only have one shopping day, then it is probably the place to go. However, if you prefer to be away from the tourist trail, then Lakeland Square Mall is really the place to go. Just 20minutes from the I4/H27 junction towards Tampa, yet there are very few English accents, which is probably why there always seems to be more deals to had. Macy’s, JC Penney, Sears and Dillard’s are the anchor stores here. Surrounded by a great choice of restaurants and stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City, I can happily spend a day here!

If you are buying small electrical items such as cameras or MP3 players, make sure you do some internet research beforehand. It is not always cheaper in the US. Stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City allow you to order and reserve the item at your nearest store so you can make use of internet specials. Don’t forget to check the item can be charged at 110 to 240 voltage and that you may need an adaptor plug.

For those with small children who may wander round the shops in the parks wanting all the Disney wonders on the selves, a pre park visit to Walmart or Target may save you a fortune. These stores sell some of the same toys at discount prices. You will also get great priced cosmetics and toiletries here.

Happy shopping!

Author: Shirley Dugdale (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here

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Page added on: 19 July 2008
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