ExperiencePlus! - Bicycle Tours since 1972

Travel Tips

Shopping Tips

by ExperiencePlus! - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shopping Tips

“…a good argument for traveling light and trying out new adventures.” E.B. White

shopping in Italy

Whether it’s antiques from France, pottery from Italy, honey or rugs from Greece, gala Flamenco costumes from Spain or a genuine bodhran (say “bow-ron”) from Ireland, watch out what you pick up along the way as it can be heavy.

No, it’s not easy to ship some things home. Yes, you can complicate your life if you begin to buy things to ship or carry. Here’s our advice:

If you really want to buy a rug in Greece or pottery in Tuscany, think about carrying it home. If it is too cumbersome or you are doing too much traveling to carry it with you, then either:

  1. Buy it from a shop that has experience shipping to the U.S. or,
  2. before you buy, ask your ExperiencePlus! tour leaders how others have handled this in the past.

There are some Mail Boxes Etc. in Italy that we have used successfully in the past.

We’ve had people buy all manner of LARGE items that were successfully shipped home. Just be sure to verify that the shipper has experience!

Our role in any such transaction is purely advisory. We’re glad to suggest ideas to you but the ultimate deal is among you, the merchant and the shipper.

Easy things to bring home

  • Honey from Greece
  • Olive oil (maybe not easy, but a lot of fun to have)
  • Parmesan cheese from Italy
  • Music tapes and CDs
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Small quantities of wine (you have to carry it!)

Impossible things to bring home

  • Cases of wine. (Very difficult without involving a wine importer. If you can’t carry it, don’t buy it).

Problems with purchasing things overseas

We’ve had people buy things and have them shipped only to find that shipping costs were much higher than they had anticipated. Or, we’ve had people buy things with a promise of refunds on tax free goods at the airport. This doesn’t always work out. So we suggest you read the following and be guided by it.

ExperiencePlus! does not encourage or discourage customer purchases of delicate or expensive souvenirs. However, ExperiencePlus! suggests that all customers should be cautious of any claims to tax free or duty free purchases from any merchant and that customers should also be aware that in shipping ANYTHING, there may be unknown expenses that are not initially represented to the purchasers. (Including hidden or undisclosed packaging or shipping costs, customs costs, and the like).

Our suggestion is that if you really find something you wish to purchase and take home, then you carry it with you and, thus, at least avoid eventual shipping costs. (Even a bicycle can be taken home as checked luggage at little or no cost).

Commissions on Purchases by ExperiencePlus! Customers

ExperiencePlus! takes its customers to shops, artisans, wineries, olive presses and more while on tour as a part of the cultural enrichment of the tour. We do NOT have, nor do we encourage, arrangements whereby ExperiencePlus! or its tour leaders receive a commission on anything our customers purchase during these visits. That doesn’t mean that a ceramicist might not give a tour leader a bowl or piece of pottery at times. But we discourage regular kickbacks of this sort as a matter of policy.