Shop 'til you drop

Shop 'til you drop

Book a shopping break and boost your commission, says Joanna Booth

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It’s rare that any holidaymaker returns without a souvenir or two, but a real shopaholic would scoff at such measly, off-the-cuff purchases.

Serious shoppers take off for trips with half-empty bags and are happy to spend days in a spending frenzy. The US, with its recognisable and aspirational brands, often available at lower prices than in the UK, has long been our number one choice for spending sprees, which is why we profile some great US shopping cities below.

However, not everyone wants to take a transatlantic flight to go shopping, so there are some short-haul suggestions too. We’ve also listed shopping tours and malls that work with agents, so you can make your clients’ spending sprees pay you commission and maybe fund a few of your own purchases.


New York’s shops have a special place in our hearts, and some are as iconic as the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Clients can have their Audrey Hepburn moment at Tiffany & Co on Fifth Avenue or visit FAO Schwarz to enjoy the giant piano Tom Hanks played in the film Big.

Department stores including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys are on many must-shop lists, so encourage clients to make the most of offers. Visitors can get 10% off at Macy’s by downloading the Welcome International Savings Card from or enquiring in store, and Bloomingdale’s offers a signature gift when a shopper produces a same-day receipt for purchases totalling $300 or more.

Recommend Madison Avenue and The Shops at Columbus Circle for high end, and West 34th and Fifth Avenue for high street. The Woodbury Common Premium Outlets mall with its 220 stores is a popular day trip, with regular coach transfers departing Manhattan.


Another East Coast city making its mark as a shopping destination, Boston may not have New York’s reputation, but it does offer real bargains. With no sales tax on clothing under $175 and only 6.25% on everything else, it’s like there’s a sale every day. Most shops are open seven days a week and the majority of the shopping areas are within walking distance of each other.

There are the upscale boutiques of Newbury Street, Copley Place and The Shops at Prudential Center in the Back Bay; the outdoor kiosks of Faneuil Hall Marketplace; and across the Charles River, there’s Harvard Square and CambridgeSide Galleria; farther out, Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, and the high-end shops of the Natick Collection.


They may be there because the kids want to see Mickey, but once mum finds out about all the shops in Orlando, you won’t see her for dust. Named by Forbes Magazine as the number one bargain shopping destination in the US, there’s enough retail space to fill 900 American football fields.

For designer names, suggest The Mall at Millenia and The Florida Mall for the high end of the high street. Pointe Orlando has entertainment options as well as shops and is on International Drive, so isn’t far to drag the kids from the theme parks and has options to occupy them.

There’s not one but two Premium Outlets centres, one on International Drive, with 180 stores including the world’s only Baccarat/Lalique outlet, and another down the road on Vineland Avenue with 150 upscale shops including a new Marni outlet and one of only a few Dior outlets in the world.

Shop Til You Drop


The famous slots and shows aren’t the only way to spend a dollar or two in Sin City – it’s grown into a spectacular shopping destination too, with 65% of visitors shopping while in the city. It suits high-rollers and everyday punters too, with clients able to choose between huge outlet malls and exclusive boutiques in casino resorts.

Choices include Crystals at CityCenter, The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood and Las Vegas Premium Outlets North. This year, The Forum Shops at Caesars celebrate 20 years with the chance to win $1,000 shopping sprees – go to to find out how to enter.


There’s a mall culture in Dubai – these air-conditioned havens are places to meet, eat and mingle, and above all shop. Many open until 10pm and, unsurprisingly, the city is home to the world’s largest mall, The Dubai Mall. This crown will soon be stolen, but only by the Mall of Arabia, which will be part of Dubailand. The Dubai Mall has an aquarium, ice rink, Kidzania and Sega Republic while Mall of the Emirates has its own ski slope.

Prices are set in the malls, but clients can haggle to their heart’s content in the souks, which sell everything from electronics to traditional spices and silks. There’s even an annual month-long shopping festival with extra discounts and events including everything from fashion shows to fireworks. The destination is also noted for the duty-free shopping at its airport.


Just a Eurostar train ride away – thus solving the tricky excess baggage problem that shoppers who fly face – Paris suits a range of buyers, and the non-shoppers who accompany them. There are all the city’s sights for those who don’t want to spend, and even families can make it work, with a Chic Outlets Shopping Village conveniently located near Disneyland Paris.

Big spenders will find designer fashions in the Faubourg Saint-Honore district and one-offs and antiques in Le Marais. On Boulevard Haussmann there are two iconic department stores – Galeries Lafayette and Printemps – and in the north of the city, near the Metro station Porte de Clignancourt, the Saint-Ouen Flea Market has stalls selling vintage clothes and odds and ends.


Travellers from across the globe come to London to shop, so don’t forget the treasure on your doorstep. From designer names at Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Bond Street to the constantly spawning vintage stores in the network of streets around Brick Lane in the East End there’s a great deal of choice, and with the new Westfield centre in Stratford in addition to the original in White City, there’s a mega-mall at both the eastern and western limits of the city centre. Chic Outlet’s Bicester Village is only an hour from the capital too.

London’s theatres are always a big draw, so why not build a weekend break around shopping and a show? Superbreak offers hotel packages with theatre and musical tickets, so you can ensure you make some commission on their trip.


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