Shopping Spree + Tax Incentives!

To all of my shopaholics

Recently Alex and I got back from an unbelievable vacation in Europe. We explored, we ate, we drank, we partied, and naturally, we shopped. Him and I love to travel and come back with a sentimental gift that means something to the both of us. This trip we had the pleasure of visiting the Vatican, so while we were there Alex and I bought two cross necklaces that will not only remind us of that special place, but also remind us of our faith.

Like everything in touristy Europe, the necklaces were a bit pricey and the conversion of dollars to euros makes it even more expensive. We figured. “what the heck who knows when we’ll be back to the Vatican” so we purchased them (knowing full well we could get literally the same exact thing at Kay back in the States). Luckily for us, the shop attendant was so nice (I mean I’d hope so if you’re working steps away from the Pope) and she informed us about Global Blue.

What is Global Blue you might ask? Well I am glad you did! Global Blue is an international program that allows travels to purchase goods tax incentive when traveling aboard. That’s right my friends, you can possibly shop tax free or get a great tax discount!

You’ll see the sales taxes associated with each country we visited and how much higher they are in Europe compared to the United States. So, for us shopaholics, utilizing the program is a no-brainer:

  • Italy – 22%
  • Croatia – 25%
  • Montenegro – 19%
  • Spain – 21%

So, check it, this is how Global Blue works:


Go shopping at over 300,000 stores across the globe that participate in Global Blue (yeah that’s right I said over 300 thousand!). At check out ask the cashier for a Global Blue Tax Free Form. This form is simple to fill out, both you and the cashier need to fill out a portion of the form and you must make sure you have the corresponding receipt for the purchase attached.


At the last airport or port before you leave Europe find the nearest Global Blue/Customs Desk (sometimes they have kiosks which makes it a breeze). Now, let me warn you ahead of time if you’re at an airport you’ve never been to, finding this office is like a needle in a haystack, but I promise you the office exists! Here they will need your passport, the receipt, the Global Blue Tax Free Form and they will need to see the merchandise.

The last part is crucial, make sure you put it in your carry-on and not in your checked-in luggage. After they have reviewed all the necessary paperwork they will stamp your form and you’re on your way to savings!


After receiving the stamped forms and once you go through immigration, find the office or desk that has the Global Blue logo on it (see below). Sometimes these are currency exchange stations but make sure it has the logo before you give them anything. Once you find the desk, they will refund you the money either via cash or refund back on the card you used for the purchase.

We thought about taking cash, but the lady informed us that it would have been in Euros, not dollars. To keep things simple for us, we chose the refund to go straight to our credit card. The refund took about 6 business days, even though they advertise 3-5 business days, but it’s all good.


Now, wasn’t that the easiest process ever? Who knew that getting taxes refunded would be such a breeze (hint: it’s because Uncle Sam doesn’t manage it). Alex and I got 12% back of our original purchase price refunded back to our credit card and we honestly couldn’t believe it!

global blue.JPG

Global Blue is a cool program that lets you shop with ease abroad and provides some pretty nice savings on those taxes, especially for countries with high sales taxes. If you want more information on Global Blue, you can check out the website here.

Here is the Global Blue refund calculator (Alex’s loves this calculator, LOL). Select the country you’ll visit and enter the estimated shopping spree.

Safe travel and happy shopping!


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