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How to not let your two free checked bags go to waste?

How to not let your two free checked bags go to waste?

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Old Aug 12, 09, 9:36 pm
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How to not let your two free checked bags go to waste?

I always travel very light, everything in just one carry-on. I wonder if it would be wise to fill up my two free suitcase allowances with things to sell in my foreign country destination. My understanding is you are allowed to bring a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff in duty free, no?

Before my trip I could post a craigslist ad asking what people want. I'm sure it could be violating some international trade treaties on with this. I'm just thinking out loud here, so don't shoot me down!
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Old Aug 12, 09, 10:38 pm
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I think it depends on what you bring. You could do it perfectly legit. Especially if you consider that you won't have to pay sales tax when you export the item from Europe to the US for example. So that would save you another 20% or so. I'd use things that are much cheaper there or hard to get here. Perhaps cashmere sweaters from Scotland or certain perfumes from France. A really smart thing would be to actually bring suitcases that you can sell here, like Rimowa and Travelite from Germany. If you live in a big enough city where there are enough buyers, you can deliver personally, which saves you the payment and shipping hassle. You'd have to post on craigslist, make a contract and arrange a down payment to be sure people will buy the merchandise once you brought it back.

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Old Aug 12, 09, 10:55 pm
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Personally, if I was travelling for biz or pleasure, the ROI on this endeavour wouldn't be on my radar.

As for Rimowa, last time I was in Germany, they actually cost more after forex.
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Old Aug 12, 09, 11:24 pm
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How do you calculate these prices for Rimowa? I just checked and it still seems to be favorable deal.

German site, Euro 579:
http://www.koffer-direkt.de/rimowa-t...rolley-77.html

American Site, $1190:
http://www.luggageonline.com/product...roduct_ID=4779

Subtract 19% sales tax from German price = Euro 469.
Convert into US$ at current rate of 1.422 = US$ 667

Up to $800 of import wares are free of duty. So no additional duty or tax must be paid in the US.

Basically the Rimowa costs just over half in Germany. It's a savings of more than $500. That's pretty substantial. If you sell it for $890, the buyer still gets one heck of a deal, better than any discounter can do here. You make a profit of $227. You could probably easily do that with two suitcases per trip. It would not be a problem not to declare the suitcases. And even if you had to pay tax, you'd only have to pay for what is above $800.

Best case scenario 2x227=554 profit.

Worst case scenario 667x2=1334 Price of the two cases
1334-800=534 > taxable amount. 8% tax on 534=43

554-43=511

So worst case scenario would be a profit of $511. Possibly subtract $40 for taxi cost because you might not want to take public transport with these behemoths. Wrap them in saran wrap to protect the finish. Still $470 in profit under the worst conditions. That's half the price of a current coach ticket. Not so bad. I might actually take that up myself.

If you buy two of these from a brick and mortar store in Germany or from a website you might actually be able to negotiate a further discount; especially if you do that twice a year or more.

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Old Aug 13, 09, 1:13 am
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I hadn't checked up on prices for a few years, but at that time, it wasn't worth the trouble. (I fly to Japan often and was using prices there as a comparison, although I can't remember what they cost there anymore.)

Your assumption of no duty isn't reasonable, IMO. Unless you travel there every week and literally have nothing of interest to buy. (I'm not in the habit of not declaring items of high value.) Being in Canada, I have to pay duties on anything over $750 CAD (~480 EUR). Also, as you're probably aware, the aluminums are dent magnets. As soon as you check one in, kiss the BNIB/LNIB designation goodbye.

As for the theoretical profit, that's assuming you could find a theoretical buyer. IMO, it'd be pretty difficult to find a stranger to plop down $1K for a damaged suitcase. Standard CL or EBay discount on a dented suitcase would demand at least 40-50% off retail.

From my real world calculations, one might eke out some money, but I'm not that hard up to lug suitcases around the world for a few $.
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Old Aug 13, 09, 4:07 am
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What you say about dents is true. But everybody knows this. As the OP said, one would have to find buyers beforehand. And as I said, there'd have to be a contract. You can write the possibility of dents into the contract. I just checked ebay prices on Rimowas just for kicks. No used ones. Certainly no "flown only once" models. The new stuff goes for very close to retail.

I supposed the OP was in USA, so that's where I got the $800 from. But even you in Canada could do this because 469<480.

I have no idea how much the duty would be on a second case in Canada.

As for not declaring; I was speaking for the possibility of it, not recommending it.

Besides, nobody told you that YOU should do that. The question was whether it could be done and what would be the best way. Peddling Rimowas seems rather efficient, IF one goes to Germany.

Scottish Cashmere and French perfume are other possibilities that don't involve so much carrying.

Going to Asia, some watches might be possible. But the margin there would not be as good.

For Canada, Cuban cigars are legal to import. In Spain or Switzerland you will find quality comparable or better than what Canada gets. And seeing the CRAZY prices when I was in BC in 2007, that would be a real venue. Easy enough to buy, too. Buy two boxes of Cohibas for around 240 Euros each (with the discount and without tax that's more or less where the price will land if you buy in Spain, Andorra and CH). Export and import totally legally. Make an extra 100 Euros per box when you sell them. Consider it a service to a friend. Of course, they could simply order online but sometimes these services are not very reliable. You gotta know what you're doing.

Going back to Europe electronics and Levi's jeans are great money makers, too. Basically electronics cost the same nominal price in Euro as they cost here in US$. In other words they are 40% more expensive in Europe. Bargaining on a 500 Euro PS camera is hardly possible in Germany, for example. A pair of Levi's costs 30 Euros here and 80-100 in Germany.

Whether it's worth it because it appeals to one's wheelin' and dealin' spirit or for income supplementation is a very individual question.

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Old Aug 13, 09, 5:14 am
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There are hundreds if not thousands of traders who do this every week between Africa and China/India/Europe/Dubai. They happily pay the excess baggage rates and a single passenger checking in 30-40 pieces of luggage is not unusual. They carry everything from mobile phones to diapers to candy bars depending on demand.
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Old Aug 13, 09, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by tfar View Post
For Canada, Cuban cigars are legal to import.
For personal use... are they legal to sell, without a business license and without paying tobacco taxes (if there are any in Canada) ?

More generally, earning money in a foreign country is usually subject to the tax laws of that country, as well as the tax laws of one's resident country. Obviously, it can all be done "off the books," but one should carefully consider the legal and tax ramifications of selling anything (much less alcohol or tobacco) abroad. I'm not passing judgment or saying it can/can't be done; I'm simply warning those who might consider this to cover all bases.
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Old Aug 13, 09, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by cepheid View Post
For personal use... are they legal to sell, without a business license and without paying tobacco taxes (if there are any in Canada) ?

More generally, earning money in a foreign country is usually subject to the tax laws of that country, as well as the tax laws of one's resident country. Obviously, it can all be done "off the books," but one should carefully consider the legal and tax ramifications of selling anything (much less alcohol or tobacco) abroad. I'm not passing judgment or saying it can/can't be done; I'm simply warning those who might consider this to cover all bases.
Good point. I have no idea if it's legal. For cigars this would mostly happen among pals anyway. I mean if I bring some cigars in for personal use, I then decide I don't like them and sell them to a friend, that doesn't sound as if it'd need a tobacco license.

I certainly would not declare that kind of income. I mean, do you have to declare if you sell your bike to your neighbor. Or your used car?

I am quite amazed at the story of traders who do that all the time. I didn't even know it was possible to check in 30-40 pieces of luggage for a single person. How do these people handle customs and how do they handle picking up their bags at the claim? Quite interesting.

I once read a story about a guy who brought a suitcase full of 3000 condoms to Ireland. According to the story condoms were in very high demand on the island; not sure if they were outlawed or what. In any case, they got him at customs and he claimed they were for personal use. They actually led that slide. Those Irish lads... incredible!

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Old Aug 14, 09, 12:14 am
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Originally Posted by tfar View Post
I certainly would not declare that kind of income. I mean, do you have to declare if you sell your bike to your neighbor. Or your used car?
Legally, yes, you do. In practice, very few people do, but officially, you are obligated to declare any and all income. (Some of that income may be offset by expenses, e.g. the income from the car is offset by its depreciated cost, but nevertheless, officially, it must be declared.)

(Disclaimer: I am not a CPA.)
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Old Aug 14, 09, 12:18 am
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
There are hundreds if not thousands of traders who do this every week between Africa and China/India/Europe/Dubai. They happily pay the excess baggage rates and a single passenger checking in 30-40 pieces of luggage is not unusual. They carry everything from mobile phones to diapers to candy bars depending on demand.
You says that anything about the diapers. I don't think ever do that for you. Why you don't do something else. Because it was reason why due to high cost of the fuel are very expensive anywhere in the whole world. If you pay second bags will be excess charges for $50 fees.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 12:40 am
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Originally Posted by cepheid View Post
Legally, yes, you do. In practice, very few people do, but officially, you are obligated to declare any and all income. (Some of that income may be offset by expenses, e.g. the income from the car is offset by its depreciated cost, but nevertheless, officially, it must be declared.)

(Disclaimer: I am not a CPA.)
Officially, this post and my reading of it never happened, ok?

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Old Aug 14, 09, 1:16 am
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Curious case of the Kuruvi...

I appreciate that the discussion on this thread has been in the context of OP generally traveling light, and the speculation of making a few extra $$$.

However, this is virtually a full-time occupation for many, particularly in the India-Far East and India-Middle East sectors. The only difference seems to be that while OP may be looking at profiting personally, the India scenario is of "traders" engaging a "kurivi" (Tamil for sparrow) to travel virtually empty-handed to their ME/FE destination, and bring back large amounts of goods for local sale (typically in the black/grey markets). And depending on the size of ops of the "trader", there can be more than one "kuruvi". The "kuruvi" gets a fee, airfare, accommodation and living expenses while abroad. The linked article suggests black marketing, but then there are several shades of grey!
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Old Aug 14, 09, 6:04 am
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Originally Posted by tfar View Post
I am quite amazed at the story of traders who do that all the time. I didn't even know it was possible to check in 30-40 pieces of luggage for a single person. How do these people handle customs and how do they handle picking up their bags at the claim? Quite interesting.
They have arrangements with customs. The more legitimate ones are registered as commercial importers. The shadier ones simply bribe their way through.

Some airline crews (Cubana and Air Zimbabwe come to mind primarily) are well known for this activity as well. I remember one day when a porter wheeling a cart with ~20 suitcases came up to the Cubana crew checkin desk at Gatwick. That was just for the captain!! There were over 100 bags between the entire crew. Thankfully the IL96 had plenty of space!!!
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Old Aug 14, 09, 8:59 am
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Has anybody every flown Etihad Airways? If so, do you know how I go about checking 1 bag online, or do I just do it at check in? There was no mention of it when I booked my flight, and I scoured their website looking for some information and came up with nothing. Thanks!
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