The world’s best shopping travel: A shopaholic’s guide

Calling all globe-trotting shopaholics - it's time to start planning your major end-of-year and new-year shopping adventures abroad!


2min read

Published 16 February 2024


Calling all globe-trotting shopaholics - it's time to start planning your major end-of-year and new-year shopping adventures abroad!

Some of the world's best shopping festivals and sales are coming up and this is your chance to blend amazing shopping experiences with unbelievable travel deals.

The seasoned travel gurus at Flight Centre recommend timing your getaway during major international shopping festivals or end-of-year sales. This insider tip helps ensure you get the very best value, even when exchange rates are challenging.

Certain global hotspots also boast way better prices on products that are super expensive in South Africa. It's all about planning and knowing where to shop!


To help you find the perfect destinations for your shopping-focused holiday, here is Flight Centre's expert guide to some of the world's best shopping festivals and sales worth travelling for:

Experience Dubai's Blockbuster Shopping Festival

Beyond the glitzy skyscrapers and desert safaris, the next Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) runs from 15 December 2023 to 29 January 2024. This epic retail extravaganza has something for every visitor - from luxe indoor malls to open-air souks selling textiles, spices, handicrafts and more.

With over 3,500 brands participating, shoppers can expect major discounts of 25-75% on top labels in fashion, jewellery, perfumes, electronics and kids' items. We're talking savings on everything from Emirati products to global brands like Louis Vuitton and Cartier.

Add in nightly concerts, fashion shows, fireworks, and family-friendly activities at places like Global Village, and you'll see why Dubai is a shopaholic's paradise. Don't miss out on this bucket-list shopping festival in the desert.

London Calls with Epic Post-Christmas Sales

Many South Africans visit family and friends in the UK over the festive season. This makes London's magical winter charm coupled with post-Christmas sales, an unbeatable holiday combo!

Known for massive discounts, the London sales kick off on Boxing Day (26 December) on bustling high streets like Oxford Street, Regent Street and Westfield shopping malls. Then the January sales launch on the 27th, offering even bigger markdowns up to 70% off on unsold holiday items.

Iconic department stores like Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer also unveil major reductions on clothing, accessories, electronics, homewares and more. Despite the exchange rate, you're bound to find bargains in this exciting sale season bonanza.


Shop Till You Drop in Singapore

Beyond the luxury boutiques on Orchard Road, discover the hipster vibes of quirky boutiques in Haji Lane, vast tech gadget offerings at Sim Lim Square, Kampong Glam for fabrics and handicrafts, and much more.

Singapore seamlessly blends high-end Asian designer labels and traditional shops with global brands for diverse shopping wins. Add to your itinerary Chinatown wet markets, antique shops, independent bookstores and other local finds.

With savvy research beforehand, you can score way cheaper gadgets and tech than back home. And frequent Singapore Shopping Festival sales (usual June/July dates TBC for 2024) offer additional storewide discounts.

Bargains down under

It's a similar story Down Under, where post-Christmas and January sales lure visitors with discounted art, fashion, homewares and more at shops across Sydney and Melbourne.

Sydney's Pitt Street Mall lines up loads of high-end Australian and international clothing labels, while Melbourne's boutique-lined laneways are treasure troves of unique art, accessories and vintage finds.

Shoppers flock to Queen Victoria Market for fresh Aussie produce, arts, and crafts and global souvenirs. Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne often promises the biggest Boxing Day bonanzas.


Istanbul's Bazaars Beckon

Lose yourself in Istanbul's sprawling Grand Bazaar - one of the world's oldest covered markets dating back to 1461. Here, you can shop for carpets, ceramics, lanterns, textiles, spices, and gold jewellery as you practice your haggling skills.

Next, explore the more modern indoor malls like Istinye Park Shopping Mall and luxurious Zorlu Center. These house designer fashion brands alongside chic cafes and restaurants. 

The Spice Market near the iconic Galata Bridge is also a must for aromatic spices, dried fruits and Turkish Delight candies. Don't forget to pick up a traditional nazar amulet or handmade copperware item too!

South Africa Has Epic Sales Too

While international shopping sprees are a treat, South African residents can also cash in on amazing end-of-year sales right here at home.

Shopping hubs like Sandton City, Mall of Africa, and Pavillion Mall launch festive deals from late November. Expect crazy crowds and waiting lists for the choicest specials come Boxing Day and early January sales.


Nab Those Cyber Specials

Of course, online shopping opens up a world of deals too! Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales (24-28 Nov 2023) will help you score specials without leaving your couch.

From fashion and beauty to appliances and tech, thousands of e-stores launch major markdowns - just don't get so swept up you blow the travel budget!

Key shopping travel tips from the Flight Centre Experts

Ready to shop the world? The seasoned Flight Centre crew shares their insider tips:

  • Watch exchange rates and buy foreign currency when it's in your favour.
  • Set a strict predetermined budget and stick to it - it's easy to overspend when caught in a shopping frenzy.
  • Get a local SIM card to stay on top of the latest festival and sale announcements.
  • Thoroughly research destinations, shopping areas and etiquette before you go. When in Rome!
  • Keep all purchase receipts to claim VAT refunds when leaving participating countries.
  • Know each country's customs regulations to smoothly bring purchases home.
  • Book flights, hotels and packages early to save and get first pick of deals. 

With some savvy planning, you can craft lifelong memories and score huge deals on the ultimate Flight Centre global shopping adventure.

Chat with the Flight Centre Experts today to get expert tips and deals for your dream shopping-focused getaway in 2023/2024. Let's do this, shopaholics!

Flight Centre

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*Prices are in ZAR and subject to availability. Please refer to specific product’s terms and conditions.