Buying British Goods Online
Even if you plan to fully embrace the culture and lifestyle of the country you’re visiting when working abroad, it is certainly the case that some products you’re used to buying the UK will either be unavailable or considerably more expensive. Although you can try to find alternatives, this process can be expensive and frustrating while you’re looking, so if you’re not planning to spend more than a year or so in your chosen country, it may be worth while buying some products from the UK.
It is also worth noting that some products overseas are either more expensive than those in the UK, or lower quality, or, in the case of paint in France, both. It can be hard to know what products are more expensive or harder to find overseas than in the UK, so here is a general guideline for products that are good quality, reliable and good value in the UK and can be bought online and shipped overseas.
MedicationThis is a tricky topic for buying online because it has a reputation for being a bit dodgy. Although it is certainly not a good idea to buy medication from unauthorised sites, buying medical products from recognised websites can save a fortune. A good rule of thumb is to see what other products the site is selling, what reviews there are and whether there is a UK phone number and contact information. All websites selling medication also need to have a registered pharmacist available, so this is a good question to ask.
Many online chemists allow you to post, fax or scan and email a copy of a UK prescription to them in order to have your medication delivered, which can be convenient, but the real savings are to be hard in ‘over the counter’ medicines. In Europe particularly, products that we in the UK are used to buying quickly and easily, such as pain killers, vitamins, antiseptic and indigestion tablets, are at least three times the price and have to be bought in a pharmacy. So not only does it cost more, but you can’t just pick it up of the shelf – you have to ask in another language.
ClothingThere are a number of reasons why it makes sense to buy your clothing online from British retailers. Firstly, the British ‘high street’ is much envied as there is not really an equivalent in other countries, so the good value, good styling of high street names is often hard to find. Many British retailers now offer international delivery and, with the terrible Euro/Sterling exchange rate, can help save a small fortune.
The sizing is also more likely to be suitable. If you’ve bought clothes in the UK from Spanish, French or Italian brands you will know how depressing it is when the European ‘extra large’ is barely a UK 14!