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Christmas shop airside and save pounds

As the summer sales come to an end and the window displays begin to change, it suddenly hits us: the next big ‘commercial event’ is Christmas; it’s not so far away and it’s time to start thinking about presents.

Talking to The Mail, Patricia Davidson, author of The Shopaholic's Top 1000 Websites and founder of online shopping directory www.thesiteguide.com agrees that an under-exploited resource in the run-up to the festive season is airport shops. 'If you're travelling out of Heathrow and Gatwick in particular, the range of merchandise is phenomenal’, she says. You can buy some of your smaller gifts as well as luxury drinks products while waiting to board for your autumn break.

If this sounds stressful, think again. Check Heathrow’s website www.heathrowgiftlist.com for ideas, select an item, reserve online and then collect it at the airport when passing through on your next trip. Many airport shops offer a similar service. What could be easier?

A sure saving to be had is on perfumes and cosmetics. The new Marc Jacobs fragrance, Lola, costs £35.65 at World Duty Free instead of £60 in Boots and you can save £20.20 if you buy Calvin Klein's Eternity spray using Heathrow’s online service.

Savings of between £15 and £50 can be made on items such as iPods, cameras and mobile phones. Browse airport discounts at www.dixonstaxfree.co.uk to see what's available.

And of course the more you spend the more you save. A one carat diamond, 18 carat gold engagement ring costs £4,218 at Gatwick airport as opposed to £4,850 on the high street, a saving of £600. So if you’re thinking of flying out and popping the question somewhere romantic, pick up the ring on the way.

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