Some posts on this website comprise affiliate hyperlinks. In the event you e book or purchase one thing by means of these hyperlinks, I earn a small fee (at no additional price to you). Check out my privateness coverage for extra data.
Why DFDS are the only option for an obligation free purchasing journey to France, and a information that will help you plan your individual journey…
As a journey blogger, I’m fortunate sufficient to journey quite a bit, which implies I usually get an opportunity to select up a cut price within the airport obligation free outlets. However I’m all the time very restricted about how a lot I can carry or match into my hand baggage. So once I took a ferry to France this month for an in a single day Christmas journey, I used to be very enthusiastic about loading my automobile up with obligation free bargains!
In relation to obligation free purchasing, DFDS are one of many high decisions. They’ve an enormous array of products, numerous unbelievable particular presents, and an excellent Reserve and Gather service that will help you take advantage of your purchasing journey.
This December, I took the ferry to Calais with my dad for a festive father-daughter getaway. We had a good time trying out the Christmas markets, consuming far an excessive amount of, and looking out across the metropolis. And on the best way house, we crammed my boot with Christmas presents and get together drinks courtesy of the onboard obligation free store.
Beneath, I’ve shared my experiences of taking an obligation free purchasing journey to France with DFDS, together with precisely how a lot I saved. I’ve additionally rounded up my suggestions for planning your individual purchasing journey. Bon voyage!
My journey to France was a part of a collaboration with DFDS with the intention to showcase their obligation free purchasing expertise. All phrases and opinions are my very own and unbiased.
Responsibility free purchasing has all the time been a enjoyable perk of journey. Whether or not it’s on the airport or onboard a ferry, you possibly can decide up some wonderful bargains on tech items, perfumes, magnificence merchandise, designer put on, cigarettes, alcohol, and extra.
However travelling to France by ferry from the UK opens up a complete new obligation free purchasing expertise. Particularly should you’re taking your automobile with you. You’ll be able to replenish the boot with all of your purchases and never fear about the way you’re going to hold all of it!
Plus, you typically have quite a bit longer to browse onboard a ferry than you do on the airport. And because of DFDS’s enormous portside outlets and superior Reserve and Gather service, you get even longer to buy – in addition to entry to a fair greater catalogue of products.
And don’t overlook, should you do any purchasing within the EU (outdoors of the obligation free shops on the port and on the ferry), you too can declare the VAT again. Learn my submit about Tax Free Looking for extra particulars.
OK, so obligation free purchasing wasn’t my ONLY cause for travelling with DFDS this winter – but it surely was a fairly large perk!
In early December, I hopped on a ferry from Dover to Calais with my dad for an in a single day journey. The plan was to discover the Christmas markets, do some Christmas purchasing, eat as many pastries as doable within the area of 24 hours… and fill up on get together drinks for Christmas with some obligation free bargains! And we managed to tick off all these bins.
We had a unbelievable expertise with DFDS from begin to end. Examine-in and customs have been such a breeze (particularly in contrast with the standard queues and crowds at airports). We’d upgraded to Precedence Boarding, too, which meant that we have been first on the ferry – and first off on the opposite facet!
Even with out that, the DFDS workforce appeared to have boarding and offloading right down to an artwork: the entire thing was tremendous environment friendly.
It would simply have been the Christmas spirit within the air, however each member of workers we met was completely pretty, each within the port and on the ferry. Particularly within the onboard obligation free store, the place everybody was extremely useful and pleasant. The store was a lot greater than I used to be anticipating and had an enormous vary – I’ve written about it in a bit extra element additional down this submit.
How A lot I Saved with DFDS Responsibility Free
Right here’s what we purchased, how a lot we spent, and how a lot it might have price if we purchased it in a UK grocery store. For comparability functions, I’ve used the present worth of every merchandise at Tesco* (not counting any reductions).
|Merchandise||Value||Grocery store Value||Saving vs Grocery store|
|Bombay Sapphire Gin 1L (2X)||£14.99 (every)||£27.50||£12.51 (every)|
|Kraken Rum 1L||£12.69||£32||£19.31|
|Bacardi Gold Carta Ora 1L||£10||£22||£12|
|24 Pack Birra Moretti||£16.99||£30||£13.01|
|Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne||£19.99||£36||£16.01|
|Yellow Tail Bubbles Glowing Wine (2X)||£5.99 (every)||£10||£4.01 (every)|
In whole, we spent £101.63 on spirits, beer and glowing wines – and saved £93.37 vs shopping for that complete haul in Tesco… BARGAIN!
Clearly, should you’re travelling with DFDS solely to do obligation free purchasing, then you definately’d additionally should take note of the price of the ferry and petrol in opposition to how a lot you’re saving. That mentioned, it might nonetheless work out cheaper if you might want to purchase quite a bit – and makes for a fairly enjoyable day journey!
In the event you’re travelling to France anyway, the obligation free purchasing is simply an added bonus and makes the ferry journey house that rather more thrilling.
Responsibility Free Allowances into the UK from France
In the event you’re particularly travelling to France with the intention to take advantage of the obligation free purchasing, you’ll in all probability need to deliver again as a lot as doable. This implies you want to concentrate on precisely how a lot you’re allowed deliver into the UK.
The obligation free allowances for coming into the UK are fairly intensive, however there are limits, so be certain you don’t go over them. The present allowances are outlined beneath.
Bear in mind – these allowances are per particular person. So if there are two of you in a single automobile, you possibly can deliver double the quantity again into the UK. Ideally suited should you’re throwing a giant get together (a few my buddies did this to purchase the wine for his or her marriage ceremony!).
Alcohol Responsibility Free Allowances
42 litres of beer
24 75cl bottles of wine (18L)
4 litres of spirits (over 22% ABV)
OR 9 L of glowing wine, fortified wine, or different alcoholic drinks lower than 22% ABV
OR an equal mixture, eg 2L of spirits and 4.5L glowing wine.
Cigarettes Responsibility Free Allowances
200 cigarettes OR
100 cigarillos OR
50 cigars OR
250g tobacco OR
200 sticks of tobacco for digital heated tobacco units
OR equal mixture, eg 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (half of every allowance).
Different Responsibility Free Allowances
As much as £390 value of every other items.
In the event you’re bringing greater than these allowances, you might want to declare the products and pay tax or obligation on them. Discover out extra right here. Thesea llowances have been appropriate as of December 2022, but it surely’s all the time value checking the newest information at gov.uk earlier than you journey.
This was my first journey to France with DFDS and I used to be actually impressed. Not solely with the obligation free purchasing, however with the entire journey expertise altogether.
DFDS have a number of ferry crossings a day between Dover and France, serving each Calais and Dunkerque. These are quick, frequent and tremendous handy. I travelled on a snowy weekend in December, when trains and flights have been being cancelled throughout the UK – however the ferry crossing nonetheless ran, and it ran on time!
The drive-through check-in and customs cubicles imply you don’t even should get out of your automobile until you’re on the ferry – a lot simpler than flying. All of the workers I encountered have been completely pretty, and the entire course of was impressively environment friendly once I travelled.
Crossings to France begin from simply £68 for a automobile + as much as 4 folks, so ferry could be a rather more cost-effective method to journey to northern France than flying – and much more comfy! Day journeys begin from £39 (automobile + 4) – so a brief purchasing journey will be fairly price efficient!
DFDS Responsibility Free Outlets
For obligation free purchasing, DFDS actually are among the finest choices. The onboard store is big – and rather well stocked with a large vary of drinks, cigarettes, electronics, toys, magnificence merchandise, and extra.
Final time I travelled by ferry (with a special firm), the onboard store was a tiny little area and solely actually stocked the preferred excessive road manufacturers. The store on DFDS felt extra like those you see at airports: very massive and rather well stocked.
However in addition to this fab onboard store, DFDS even have obligation free outlets on the Calais and Dunkerque ports. These are even greater and have a wider vary of merchandise to select from – the one in Calais is 1,000sqm!
In the event you’re unsure you’ll have time to go to the store earlier than your return ferry, you too can take advantage of the Reserve and Gather service. You merely choose all the products you need on-line, then pay and accumulate on the port facet store earlier than boarding the ferry. The service is very easy to make use of, because it’s primarily on-line purchasing, and will prevent lots of time.
Extra Causes to Select DFDS
- Limitless baggage allowance
- As much as 50% financial savings vs the UK excessive road
- Park proper outdoors the Responsibility Free outlets in Dunkerque and Calais to replenish your boot!
- Use the Reserve and Gather service to save lots of time.
Make it a day journey
If obligation free purchasing is your solely cause for taking the journey to France, then minimize prices by reserving a day journey. Similar-day return crossings are cheaper – and also you received’t should pay for lodging!
Lower journey prices
E-book as far prematurely as you possibly can, as this can typically get you the very best deal. And should you can, keep away from travelling at peak instances like summer season, British and French public holidays, and weekends.
Save time with Reserve and Gather
I’ve already talked about this above, however the DFDS Reserve and Gather service is a good way to save lots of time along with your obligation free purchasing.
Merely go surfing and order every part you need prematurely, then pay and accumulate on the store within the port earlier than boarding the ferry. It’s additionally a very easy
FYI – you might want to have a ferry crossing booked with the intention to make a reservation. You additionally want to do that a minimum of sooner or later earlier than you journey. I stupidly left it to the final morning and missed my probability – so be sure to order your reserve and accumulate.
Don’t miss the outlets on the port
I discussed the portside obligation outlets above. These enormous shops are proper earlier than you board the ferry at Calais and Dunkerque and are tremendous handy. Additionally they have rather more inventory and a wider vary to select from. So if you wish to get the very best bargains, be sure you schedule time to go to the outlets.
Get to the port early
In the event you haven’t used the Reserve and Gather service, I like to recommend arriving on the ferry terminal as early as doable to have a while within the Responsibility Free Store earlier than boarding the ferry.
We arrived about an hour earlier than our crossing, and regardless that there was no queue at test in or customs the method took round quarter-hour. By the point we have been by means of, they have been already boarding – so I missed my probability to browse the portside store. Subsequent time!
Plan prematurely and make a purchasing listing to be sure to keep inside your allowance, save as a lot cash as doable, and decide up the very best bargains. Browse on-line to see what presents are presently on, with the intention to work out the best way to get essentially the most in your cash, then make an inventory prepared for whenever you go to the store.
Make the Most of your Journey
Even should you’re planning a fast day journey for some obligation free purchasing, you possibly can nonetheless take advantage of your journey to France and make it a very enjoyable day trip!
Spend a little bit of time exploring Calais. On a reasonably brief strolling tour of town you possibly can go to the attractive Resort de Ville (City Hill) and neighbouring Beffroi (Belfry), Fort Risban close to the water’s edge, Calais Lighthouse and the spectacular Tour du Guet – a Thirteenth-century watchtower within the Place d’Armes.
In case you have time, take a stroll on Calais Seaside so far as the historic Fort Lapin battery and the encircling sand dunes. The lengthy, sweeping expanse of white sand at Calais is a superb spot for a stroll at any time of yr, even once I visited on a frosty winter morning.
Even should you’re pressed for time, you possibly can squeeze in lunch or dinner at a neighborhood restaurant to take advantage of your purchasing journey to France. Talking of purchasing, be sure you swing by a grocery store and a few of the smaller native meals outlets and patisseries to select up some yummy French meals to take house!
Lastly, should you’re travelling across the festive season so as do your Christmas purchasing or decide up the get together drinks, be sure you try the lights and Christmas markets in Calais whilst you’re on the town.
In the event you take an obligation free purchasing journey to France with DFDS, let me know the way you get on within the feedback beneath. I’d love to listen to about it!