7 Tips on How to Duty Free Shop like a Boss at LAX


Are you a jet-setter traveling to or from Los Angeles? Do you like great deals? If so, heading into a LAX duty free shop is a no-brainer. The airport’s newly revamped Tom Bradley International Terminal is spectacular, as the City of Angels spent over a billion and a half dollars modernizing this international hub. But before your wheels drop down, here are seven tips to consider.

1. Target the items you plan on buying, and research what they cost ahead of time.

LAX features high-end stores offering the best in British tailoring and Italian design, so it’s best to have an idea of what specific products you want before slapping down a chunk of change. Since you don’t pay sales tax at a duty free shop, it makes sense to purchase big-ticket luxury items—like classic watches or chic shoulder bags—to save the most money. With a little planning, you can ensure you’re getting a better deal at the airport than in your own neck of the woods.

2. Know the rules about how much you’re allowed to buy.

Before diving into a deal for that pair of riding boots, make sure you know the rules of the specific country to which you’re traveling. You can find these online at the country’s border patrol or customs agency sites. You normally have to pay an additional tax on your purchases if you go above the country’s allowance. Also, each country has different rules regarding how much alcohol or tobacco you can bring back on your return.

3. Know your mandated length-of-stay requirements.

Most places require that you leave the country for at least 48 hours in order to take advantage of the duty free deals. Use this time to go out and see Los Angeles. Perhaps you’ve heard, they make a lot of movies there.

4. If you’re buying perfumes, colognes, or other cosmetics, know your country’s guidelines regarding liquids, gels, and aerosols.

You wouldn’t want to purchase your favorite fragrance only to have it confiscated when you arrive home.

5. Save all your receipts.

It’s important to have proof of all your purchases so they aren’t taken away when you go through customs. After spending all night on a redeye, getting held up at the airport is the last thing you want.

6. Take advantage of the Grand Hall’s expanded seating and peaceful atmosphere.

With its soaring ceilings and expansive windows bathing the area in natural light, this gate area is the perfect place to take a breather and recharge. Speaking of recharging, 50 percent of the seats are equipped with electrical outlets underneath for your devices. You may need to do some last-minute research before making a purchase, so this is vital.

7. Fuel up at one of the terminal’s many dining choices.

If you’re looking to pamper yourself, you can sip Champagne and nibble on caviar at Petrossian. For the hungrier foodies, there’s the gourmet sandwiches at chef Michael Voltaggio’s ink.sack. Because when you’re at LAX shopping for the finer things, it’s important to fuel up with the best before takeoff.

Tom Bradley International Terminal

1 World Way Los Angeles CA 90045

(310) 646-5252

Get Directions

Our writers' favorites

- Enter Your Location -
- or -