From luxury goods for less to local products fairly priced, these international airports help you both burn time and save it, and give you an excellent opportunity to find that last special something before the last leg of your journey home.
1. Amsterdam: Schiphol International (AMS)
Here's your chance to buy tulip bulbs that have the proper government seals to export them into the US. (www.schiphol.nl).
2. Paris: Charles De Gaulle International (CDG), Terminal E
Although the firm Airports de Paris (www.adp.fr) has been consistently good over the years, it has only become among the best with the opening of the E terminal at CDG, where you'll find a Galeries Gourmet, luxury grocery store, makeup stores, and designer boutiques. For the most part the other parts of CDG are unremarkable; if you're lucky you'll end up in E. (www.paris-cdg.com).
3. Copenhagen: Copenhagen, Kastrup (CPH)
Feathers! Duvets! Furs! Chocolates filled with liquor! Cute little lanes of old timey little storefronts make this a wonderful destination on your way home or elsewhere. (www.cph.dk).
4. United Arab Emirates: Dubai International (DIA)
For years I thought the whole schtick to Dubai was the airport -- now I know better, but do note that this is a remarkable airport for shopping. Duty free prices are excellent and promotions are manifold. (www.dubaiairport.com).
5. London: Heathrow (LHR)
The airport sucks, but the stores are great. British Airport Authority (www.baa.co.uk) runs retail at Heathrow and has perhaps the best retail in any airport anywhere in the world. Terminals 4 and 5 are the newest and best; Terminal 3 is not as dramatic, but nonetheless offers very good shopping. In March 2008, Terminal 5 will have a 2-floor Harrod's. (www.heathrowairport.com).
6. Hong Kong: Hong Kong International, or Chep Lap Kok (HKG)
Not only was this airport designed by Sir Norman Foster, but it has so much retail that many stores have several branches. When I tell friends to meet up at Shanghai Tang after they clear security, they may well ask, "Which one?" There are multiple levels of shopping with a guarantee of main street pricing. Choose from the usual designers and news agents to local heroes such as Shanghai Tang and Amazing Grace. There are also traditional Chinese Medicines and a chance to have a 15-minute Chinese massage. Make use of the free shopping carts (about half the size of a real luggage trolley). (www.hongkongairport.com).
7. Singapore: Changi International (SIN)
Good on the luxury brands (Cartier, Chloe, Prada, Tod's, and more), but also excellent book stores and even a Krispy Kreme. (www.changiairport.com).
8. Sydney: Kingsford Smith International (SYD)
Among the best selection of aboriginal art and designs of any store in Australia. (www.sydneyairport.com).