An influencer says thanks to an international hack, she bought a Yves Saint Laurent bag in Italy for over $1,500 less than she would have paid in the U.S.
In a TikTok posted Sunday, Shay Regis (@shaynicolexo) says that she bought the designer-brand bag—which retails for $4,900 in the U.S.—for $3,432 in Italy.
In Italy, the bag cost $3,900, and Nicole received a value-added tax (VAT) refund for $468.
VAT is a tax paid on items bought in Europe, but if customers bring their passports when shopping, they can begin the paperwork for a VAT refund when they buy eligible products in-store. In the airport, they can complete the VAT refund process at customs.
Regis says in her video that she waited until she was in Italy to purchase the bag because the money she saved was worth international airfare.
“Shopping in Europe will definitely save you some coins,” Nicole wrote in her video’s caption.
On Tuesday, her TikTok had over 130,000 views.
@shaynicolexo Shopping in Europe will definitely save you some coins! Have you made a luxury purchase there before? #dutyfreeshopping #shoppingineurope #vatrefundprocess #vatrefundfortourists #vatrefundtips #europeshoppinghaul #europeshopping #shoppinginitaly #italyshopping🇮🇹 #luxuryshoppingexperience #saintlaurenticare #yslicaremaxi #yslmaxitote #saintlaurentbag ♬ That's Amore – Dean Martin
According to Luxefront, an outlet that covers the designer fashion industry, items sold in the countries where they are made are the cheapest, thanks to decreased transportation costs and taxes. Thus, buying an item closest (or closer) to where it was manufactured will get you the best price.
Commenters on Regis’ video said they, too, wait until they’re in Europe to buy luxury items.
“I don’t buy any designers stuff in the US anymore,” @catnkat79 commented. “I’d rather have someone else buy it for me in Europe.”
“Did this for a [Louis Vuitton] bag I wanted,” @teamnosleep4me wrote. “Got it in London myself $1700.”
“I learned this early thank goodness!” @drdedediva commented. “So I maximized on it when UK also offered vat refund so I saved a mint!”
One commenter asked Regis if she had to pay another tax when she returned to U.S. customs and declared items she had purchased in Italy.
“It depends on the customs officer, when you get back to the states,” Regis commented. “I declared all my items but he just let me go right on by.”