A love of high-end fashion and a passion for international travel often go hand in hand. You obviously need a considerable amount of money to do it but it is a glamorous lifestyle, often sold to us in the glossy magazines.
Of course for most of us this sort of lifestyle is a pipe dream, but if you do have the money to travel it can make good economic sense too - if you want to pick up the best most exclusive and coveted high-end designer handbags at the best prices.
We're not talking 'knockdown' prices or 'bargain basement' here, but let's look at where in the world you will find designer bags for the cheapest prices. And remember, the internet means that you don't necessarily always have to jet off to a boutique in a foreign land - you can always go online!
It's the nature of global currency markets that the very same designer bag is likely to cost a significantly different price depending on the currency you are using at the time of purchase. Increasingly, the luxury market is a global one and the top brands have engaged to align their products as much as possible with cross-market pricing. Naturally though, it is very difficult to get complete alignment so gaps to still exist. Similarly, the fact that currencies fluctuate up and down will always have an impact.
How to find the cheapest prices
Firstly, try to find the prices of designer bags on brand websites in local currency and convert these to GBP. Some brand websites won't offer a full range of international prices. If this is the case, look for third-party retailers in that particularly country that will ship worldwide.
If you are clued up and know what you are doing, you can be refunded from between 5% to 20% on luxury goods. Do your research about how to claim VAT refunds in particular countries. Usually you will need to present your passport at the point of purchase and there will be paperwork to complete.
Perhaps surprisingly, for most high-end designer bags, the cheapest prices overall and on average that you will find is actually a bit closer to home than you'd possibly expect. It is actually France! Shop around though for individual exceptions on particular brands and specific designer bags.