Muslim Travellers: A Guide to “Smart Shopping” Overseas

You might be thinking, “Why would I need a shopping guide? Is there any difference between shopping overseas and shopping locally?” To answer your question simply: yes.

Depending on where you’re travelling to, the range of things on sale differ from where you live. In some cases, the item may not be suitable for use when you get back home. Since you’re on holiday, the mentality of ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ is also tricky to avoid, subconsciously convincing you to make impulsive purchases.

For those who need some guidance for shopping when travelling, or even just for the curious readers, this guide will help you decide the next time you’re at a crossroads in a shopping mall outlet overseas! 

1. Versatility

Before deciding “yes” to that piece you picked out, ask yourself, “How many outfits and styles can I come up with this item and my existing wardrobe?” If it’s just one or two, consider putting the piece back on the rack.

The key to a successful buy is usually when it’s versatile and of multiple-use. When it comes to apparels, go for something more classic and timeless. Shopping for decorations and accessories can get a little tricky, but the same rules apply: multiple-use equals to yes, single-use equals to no.

2. Comfort

How does it feel on your skin? Is the fabric too rough or too slippery? Is it too warm, or too thin? Comfort is always key, so if you’re only buying it for the aesthetics and trend, let’s reconsider getting it. Think long term, if it’s not comfortable for wear in your home country, chances are it’ll just take up precious space in your wardrobe. 

3. Weight

Such an underrated point, but I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the most important factors when shopping. That jacket may be gorgeous, but if it’s heavier than usual, I personally won’t get it. Not only will it weigh down your shoulders, but it’ll also be the reason why this piece won’t be packed for any of your travels, especially if you’re a frequent traveller. Plus, you only have a certain baggage count to rely on.

4. Quality

In certain countries, shopping can be really, really cheap. Though it can be extremely tempting to grab and go, think about how good the piece actually is and how long it can last. Most of the time, quality is better than quantity, and cheap items are usually aimed at tourists who end up binning their torn-up and worn-out souvenirs over time anyway.  

5. Exclusivity

I personally keep a look-out for local specialties and brands, something that is exclusive to the country which can only be bought there. Be it clothing or ornaments, the item that you buy will always leave you with a fond memory of the country you bought it from. To top it off, you’re probably the only one who has it among your friends!

6. Affordability

As previously mentioned, too cheap isn’t always good. But the garment shouldn’t be too expensive either. As cheap prices attract foreigners, so do ‘tourist prices’ that are doubled or tripled to what it is originally supposed to be. Shop smart and only purchase what you think is affordable to you, no matter where you are in the world.

7. Practicality

Certain countries have unique fashion styles, ornaments and decorations. They might all be so appealing and interesting but think practicality. How will you style it? If it’s a short sleeve dress or something too tight, on a normal day you won’t even think twice but because you’re overseas you’re giving it a second thought. Don’t. No matter how special it is, chances are you won’t be using it. 

Also read: 10 Packing Tips For Muslim Travellers to Remember

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