You found great holiday deals in that humble little shop in Sardinia, amazing discounts for some artworks and trinkets that you know would look great in your home. In another street-side stall, you found bottles of authentic Sardinian wines that you want to give as gifts to a few friends back home. Then you came across another shop that sells replicas of weapons once used by ancient Greeks. Finally, you stopped by a shop to buy souvenirs for yourself.

Wait, while you are there, have you ever thought about laws regarding those items that you intend to bring home? If not, then you should review those rules and regulations. Regrettably, a lot of tourists forget this important detail, and they end up leaving some of their buys in the airport as per customs regulations.

Thus, before whipping out your wallet, it pays to know a few things about shopping abroad:

Before shopping abroad, it is recommended that you ask a trusted local to go with you.

He can point you to the best shops where you can buy what you need or want at reasonable prices. He can act as your negotiator or interpreter if you can’t speak or understand the local language. Most importantly, he can protect you against scams.

It is also important to know what items are illegal to buy or import home.

For instance, you may want to buy that dried coral because it would look great in your aquatic-themed office back home. But what you don’t know is that it is illegal to buy, sell, or import that kind of coral because it’s listed as an endangered species. Research what you want to buy first.

Look out for extra costs, which often rise from confusing conversion rates, hidden insurance, and unpublished taxes.

Always read the fine print, and ask the supplier to itemise the cost if it seems too hefty. Be particularly wary of delivery fees when sending your purchased goods through courier or the post office; you may be liable for other hidden postal charges.

You need to understand the nuance of the term “duty-free.”

Too often, people think that the things they buy in duty-free shops are charged with import tax when they go through customs. The truth is, items sold in a duty-free shop are tax-free only in the territory where the shop is situated. The items you buy are still subject to duties in your country.

In some duty-free shops, you still pay taxes for the items you bought.

However, the cashier may let you fill out a “duty” form that allows you to redeem your tax at the airport. Many travellers do not have the time to process their rebates so they can catch their flights.

Be aware of your limits.

Each traveller is permitted a certain amount of tax exemption. Know these limits, and try to shop under that limit. If you surpass it, then be ready to pay taxes on the excess goods.

Shop away and look for the best holiday deals. But shop wisely when you’re in another country so you can stay out of trouble and get all your purchases home.