Shopping Europe

If you are within the EU then you can benefit from enhanced postal/freight and tax arrangements when buying from other EU countries, or the UK.

In Switzerland, we have a slightly different situation, because we were not ‘EU’ but we are ‘Shengen’ and so have open borders but not within the Euro currency zone.

Also, Switzerland has a tax-free import limit of only 60chf (including postage costs), and the handling fee for tax-payable goods (even if it is just a few francs) is usually around 20chf, so the taxes and fees add up…

Therefore, you can understand why I have become a ‘shopping queen’ when travelling beyond the swiss border. This is enhanced by the fact that the import limit for personal items carried in to Switzerland is much higher – 300chf per person… although there are some tight controls on specific foods like meat and dairy products.

So, when I travel, I shop, much to the chagrin of my parents who often meet up with us to travel…

In the UK you will find me checking out the supermarkets, toy and book shops (I spent 3 hours in one bookshop just checking every single child’s book after attending the AMI Refresher this year on ‘reading’)….finding books that met specific criteria on vocabulary, rhyming, syntax and grammar.

You will also find me in every single thrift/charity/second hand shop, looking for puzzles, books, small items for practical life….and treasures!

In Germany, I found great success in the markets – wooden items, brooms and brushes, small toys and puzzles…

In Italy/Spain, the “1Euro” shops can be quite rewarding for things like hair clips and ties, small brushes, craft supplies and useful boxes, baskets and trays.

Otherwise, I can spend hours looking for exactly-the-right item online…then trying to work out whether they will ship to Switzerland, what the tax/freight cost will be and whether it will fit my budget limitations.

And of course, there are many things that simply cannot be found, or are too expensive to be bought, and some things just make sense to make yourself. Lucky, my mum taught me to use a sewing machine and overlocker…but even finding the right cloths (towels, fabrics) can be a challenge in Switzerland, with limited choice and high cost…

So, don’t be surprised to find out that my suitcase in the last trip back from the UK contained 30% personal items, 30% groceries and the rest books, craft items, fabrics and cloths….for the classroom!

Is that the sign of a true ‘Montessorian’  ???


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