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The Truth About Duty Free Allowances

International travellers will tell you, one of the biggest perks about engaging in long-haul travel is the opportunity to purchase items at great prices through the duty-free shops. Shopping in these shops, which are filled with all types of items ranging from sweets to wines and clothing to electrical goods, is a favourite past time for international travellers, but what are your duty free allowances?

Photo credit: GabrielaP93 / Visual Hunt

While shopping in a duty-free shop can be fun (and helps burn the clock), it does come with several rules all travellers must follow. Failure to follow these rules could result in your newly purchased items being confiscated or attracting unwanted duty.

Ace Airport Parking doesn’t want our customers to see their items lost that they purchased at duty-free shops, which is why we have created a brief, yet comprehensive guide to duty-free allowances. This guide is great for first-time international travellers and those looking to refresh their memory on the rules of duty-free allowances.

Remember the Rules for All Stops on Your Trip

Every country has their own rules and regulations regarding duty-free allowances. Any items you purchase must meet the rules for each and every country you land in.

One of the biggest mistakes travellers make when shopping duty-free is not keeping in mind that items must meet the standards for all stops along their trip. This mistake could result in either you having to pay a huge penalty or tax, or even having your items completely confiscated.

Always research what is and is not allowed in the country, when it comes to duty-free shopping. Also, check how much of an item is allowed, as it isn’t just what you bring in, it is how much you bring in.

Remember to Follow the General Goods Amount

Every international traveller flying into Australia will have a certain allowance they can spend on duty-free items. If you go over this amount, you will have to pay duty on all items purchased and this can add up.

Currently, the general goods amount is $900 for individuals who are over the age of 18, while anyone under 18 is allowed $450. The limit is per trip. Families are also allowed to combine their allotted amount for a complete total, as opposed to a per person amount.

Shopping duty-free can be a rewarding and fun experience, not to mention a great way to get inexpensive souvenirs for friends and family. However, you have to know the rules. Use this guide and it will take the stress out of duty-free shopping.

The Truth About Duty Free Allowances

The Truth About Duty-Free Allowances

Before you Stock up on Duty-Free

Flying out Australia

If you’re planning on flying out of Australia with duty-free items, make sure you do your research first. When it comes to general goods, alcohol and/or tobacco, you must ensure you heed the duty-free restrictions of your final destination to avoid being stung by taxes when you try to cross the border. It’s also worth checking on restrictions for stops en route, lest you run the risk of losing your duty-free items while in transit.

For example, if you are travelling from Australia to London via Dubai, you run the risk of losing any duty-free alcohol purchases in Dubai if they’re not packed in your checked luggage.

Another essential rule of thumb is to follow all quality limits placed on liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs):

  • Off-airport duty-free purchases must not exceed 100 millilitres and be packed in a clear, resealable plastic bag in your carry-on
  • Duty-free LAGs exceeding 100 millilitres can be purchased off-airport retailers but must be packed in checked luggage. Alternatively, you can undergo security screening at one of Australia’s gateway airports in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney to determine if the item is safe to be carried onto your flight. This includes presenting them in the properly sealed bag provided at the time of purchased.
  • Passengers can also purchase duty-free LAGs in greater quantities at Australian airports after they have passed through the security screening.

This applies to all flights out of Australia, including international flights leaving the country as well as domestic legs of international journeys that pass through Australia.

It’s also applicable on such common duty-free purchases as:

  • Alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Perfume
  • Cosmetics(lipstick, lip balms and liquid foundations)

Flying Into Australia

If you’re planning on coming back to Australia with a couple of duty-free souvenirs, ensure you brush up on what can and can’t come across the border. It’s also imperative to stick to Australia’s duty-free allowances. If you happen to find yourself exceeding these allowances, you will have to pay duty accordingly before entering the country:


  • Up to 2.25 liters of alcoholic beverages are permitted per adult (must be 18 years or older)


  • Up to 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products are permitted per adult (must be 18 years or older)

General Goods:

  • Up to $AU900 worth of goods are permitted per adult (18 years or older);
  • And up to $AU450 worth of goods are permitted per traveller under 18.


  • LAGs in your carry-on luggage must be 100 milliliters or less and stored in a resealable, clear bag.
  • Duty-free LAGs exceeding 100 milliliters can be purchased at the airport and delivered to the boarding gate for the passenger. If you have a stopover, purchase your duty-free LAGs at your stopover airport or they will not be allowed through security for the final leg of your journey.
  • Duty-free LAGs can be purchased on board the flight after departure to Australia

Want to eliminate even more stress while travelling internationally? Use Ace Airport Parking’s Melbourne airport parking facility. Leaving your vehicle at our car parking facility is safe and secure, and will dramatically reduce your stress levels, as you don’t have to go searching for a ride to take you to and from the airport. Simply hop on to one of our fast, free airport shuttles and we can have you at Melbourne airport’s terminals in mere minutes. Use our easy online booking form to secure your Melbourne airport long term parking today.

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