Are you planning to do some shopping on your next trip? Then check out this post to find out what to buy in the US, including the best products and brands. Discover the best electronics, beauty products, clothes, shoes, home goods, sports gear, and more!
When it comes to the best places to travel to, I usually don’t have a straight answer. It depends on the trip’s goal, budget, attractions, etc. But when it comes to the best destination for shopping, the US has to take the crown. Sure, there are some exceptions, like European luxury brands, but everything is generally cheaper in the US.
Funny story: I had no idea how cheap everything was when I first visited the country back in 2007, and I came back from my trip to Disney World with some dollars still in my wallet! Crazy, because now I spend the days before my trips researching the best things to buy in the US (and praying a little bit to the luggage gods to not go over the weight limit when it’s time to go back home).
Anyway, the truth is that even though everything is cheaper in the US, it’s still hard to figure out what to buy. Mainly because if you’re from Europe, some things are more affordable, but the price difference isn’t that big, and you might be better off spending your money on other products that you can only find in the US.
If you are wondering which products are worth buying in the USA in 2023 research is the key, but it can be time-consuming. If you want to save time for trip planning, this post is for you. It has all the information you need about the best electronics, beauty products, clothes, baby gear, sports equipment, and more.
NO TIME TO SHOP? Short on time for shopping? Consider using Amazon.com. They have everything you need and offer fast delivery, especially if you try their free Prime trial. For your convenience, I have provided links to each product on Amazon. Pro tip: If your hotel charges for online deliveries, you can use the free Amazon Locker service, which is available in many cities across the USA.
WHAT TO BUY IN THE USA IN 2023 – BEST PRODUCTS AND BRANDS
If you’re from Europe, you might not see big savings on prices in the US. However, you can still find deals on American brands and products that are hard to find in Europe. Check out the list at the end of this post for ideas.
Remember that prices in the US don’t include state taxes. You’ll need to add the tax to the listed price, whether you’re shopping online or in stores. You can search for the tax rate in a specific state by Googling “name of state + tax“, but here are some popular rates:
- New York City – 4,5%
- Orlando – 6,5%
- Miami – 7%
- Los Angeles – 9,5%
By far, the best savings you can make will be in the electronics department, especially if you are from places like South America or Asia. Of course, if you are from Europe, prices won’t be that much lower, but you might still be able to save some money.
Quick reminder: I also wrote a post focused on electronics, with even more suggestions of products worth buying in the US. Click here to read it!
Probably the most popular thing to buy when you travel abroad, especially if you are from a place where Apple is craaaaazy expensive (Brazil, anyone?!).
The top iPhone is the iPhone 14, which comes in the standard version, Pro, and Pro Max. Even though it’s not that much cheaper than in Europe, you can still save a couple hundred bucks even after including the shopping tax. If you are from other continents, though, you may be surprised cause prices in the US are almost half compared to Apple worldwide.
If you don’t care about having the most powerful devices, you can go for the iPhone SE, with the old iPhone design. It’s almost the same price as buying it in Europe, though, so if you live in a Euro country and are considering purchasing the SE version on your trip abroad, save your money and spend it on other more worthy products.
If you want to save BIG, go for a refurbished or renewed iPhone (or any Apple product, really). Amazon has a lot of options on their Amazon Renewed Store.
If you are not a big Apple fan you can still save some money opting for Samsung smartphones. You can go either for the Galaxy S22+, part of the top-of-the-line Galaxy family, or even for the trendy flip phones (Galaxy Z Flip 4) that are aaaaaaall the rage right now on Tik Tok. Again, the difference is not that much if you compare it to the prices in Europe, but you will for sure save on a couple hundred dollars.
In the past, you needed a DSLR camera to take high-quality photos, but it was inconvenient to carry around. That’s no longer an issue with mirrorless cameras, which offer the same quality as DSLRs but are much lighter.
This type of camera is perfect for bloggers, travelers, Instagrammers, and even amateur photographers. I use one for my blog and love the results. The best models come from Sony (like the Alpha 6400 – I use an older model, the Alpha 5000) and Fujifilm (like the X-T200).
If you’re from Europe, you might save a little money on a mirrorless camera in the US. If you’re from elsewhere, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
I should already have given you a heads up: if you are from anywhere else in the world, except an EU country (or the UK), you don’t even have to think about if it is worth it to buy an Apple product in the US. The answer is yes. The Apple Watch is no exception, and depending on where you live, you might be able to buy two watches for the price of one in your home country.
The most up-to-date model is the Watch Series 8, launched in October 2022. If you want to save some money, though, you can go for the Watch SE. In 2022, Apple also launched the “pro” watch model, the Watch Ultra, with its biggest display yet.
If you would rather have a sport-focused smartwatch, go for a Garmin. The Forerunner line is the most popular one, being the 955 model the top of the line, while the Forerunner 55 is perfect for those who want to buy a great watch but are conscious of their budget.
Both watches have GPS, sport tracking modes and have long battery life.
If you’re a tablet user or looking to upgrade to a bigger screen, the iPad is a great product to buy in the US. Depending on where you’re from, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
The current models are the iPad Pro (11 or 12.9 inches, Retina display, M2 chip), the iPad Air (10.9-inch screen, less memory, fun colors), the regular iPad (10.9-inch screen, relaunched in 2022), and the iPad Mini (smaller screen)
I swear I’m almost done with Apple. The cheapest model is the 13″ Macbook Air, 256GB SSD, and 8GB RAM, with Apple’s M2 chip. In South America or Asia, you will probably buy it for double the price. I purchased a similar machine in 2011 and sold it in 2019. It still worked and barely had any problems during its 8 years with me!
The Macbook Pro comes in the 13″ and 16″ versions, with up to 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD, and you can custom order if you would like a more powerful machine.
Just a quick reminder that this is a high-priced item, and depending on where you live, you might have to declare it to customs. Do the math to be sure it’s worth it.
If you want to update your laptop for something other than a Macbook, check Amazon for other brands. Laptop prices for Acer and Lenovo in the US also cost less than anywhere else. If you are a gamer, you can go for an Alienware.
o be honest, I never thought I needed a speaker until I bought one and now I can’t live without it. I use it for workouts, music in the shower, and listening to podcasts while doing dishes. It’s so convenient and portable. You can even take it to your friends’ places (just don’t use it in public).
JBL is a popular brand, but their prices aren’t much different from other countries. If you want to save money and still get good quality, I’d recommend Bose speakers like the SoundLink Color II or SoundLink Micro.
If you like the over the ears style, your best bets are the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Bose QuietComfort 45. Both have excellent quality and are cheaper in the US.
If you prefer earphones, I have to say the AirPod Pro is the best choice in the market today. I think the price is insane for such a small thing (I use a cheap Xiaomi one, and I’m good, thanks), but you won’t get them for less anywhere else.
If you’re a frequent traveler or spend a lot of time away from home, the Nintendo Switch is a great choice. It’s small, lightweight, and the price is better than other consoles, leaving more money for games.
If you prefer to play at home, go for the classic Playstation 5. It’s still hard to find, so grab it if you see it in stores.
For games, I have to give the same disclaimer as most electronics on this list: the price is similar in Europe, so you might not save much. However, if you’re from elsewhere, take advantage and buy some games, like FIFA 2023 or Mario Kart.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about TVs or big electronics – even though they are dirty cheap, they are kind of hard to take with you on a plane. Anyhow, you can still get some bargains on other items, such as:
Amazon’s “Alexa” Echo
How do you feel about having a smart house? It’s effortless to do so using Amazon’s Echo, which you may know as Alexa. With this device, you can ask your home assistant to set alarms, play music, add events to your calendar or even update your shopping list while cooking.
If you want to go even further, you can also buy a smart bulb to control the lights in your house – they usually work well with Alexa, and they need only wifi. No other technology is necessary.
You can opt for the current Echo version, the Echo 5th Generation, or even the Echo 3rd Generation, which is currently being sold for a lower price.
Ok, I don’t exactly know the name of this type of device, but they are small plug-in things that you connect to your TV, so they become smart. The most popular ones are the Fire Stick by Amazon and Google’s Chromecast. I have both of them and prefer the Amazon version since it comes with a remote, so I don’t need to use my phone for casting or anything.
I still remember watching Breaking Bad and seeing Jesse throw a party, with his vacuum robot cleaning up the mess afterwards. I’ve wanted one of those robots ever since, and they’ve only become more popular as the years go on.
In the US, you can find many different vacuum robot brands, such as the iRobot (which has no affiliation with Apple whatsoever) with the basic Roomba 694 to the Roomba s9+ with mop function!. Other excellent brands quality-wise are Roborock and Shark, the latter selling the most powerful model.
I got a Roomba 694 during the last Black Friday sale, and it is a game-changer. My mom and I call him Barry.
NutriBullet was initially famous for being the perfect blender for smoothies. However, it got so huge that they now have models for any type of blending you might need, making this the ideal brand to add to your kitchen.
It’s the perfect appliance because not only is it great, but it’s also cheap and small, perfect for bringing with you in your suitcase.
What if I told you scales can measure your weight and your fat percentage, BMI, muscle mass, and more? These are known as smart scales, and even though they are new, the US already has countless models with all types of prices. My recommendation is the RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale. It’s an excellent choice because it has an app with all your statistics so you can measure your progress, doesn’t matter if your goal is to lose fat, gain mass or just get healthy in general.
Besides electronics, beauty products are the most worthy category when we talk about what to buy in the USA. Not just because they are cheaper, but also because you can find some brands that are only sold there, and most of them are not only good but also affordable! *score*
Starting with one of my favorite brands, The Ordinary. If we are honest, you can find it in most countries these days, but usually, it’s through resellers (most times not even official stores), and their prices are sky-high. In the USA, though, prices are way lower, and you can buy an entire skincare routine without spending too much. My favorites are the Hyaluronic Acid + B5 (great light moisturizer), the Niacinamide + Zinc (vitamin complex for your skin), and the Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2% (chemical exfoliant). The face oils are also great and go from super light to heavy, so you can find one to suit any skin type. I’ve used these products for years, and I can say they changed my skin!
Another skincare brand, but this one is a little bit on the pricey side. Drunk Elephants uses only non-toxic natural ingredients (especially Marula Oil) to give you healthier glowy skin. The most popular products are the T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial 25% AHA + % BHA Mask (chemical exfoliant), T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum, and the Virgin Marula Antioxidant Face Oil.
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
The #1 solution to get rid of pimples. Just dip a cotton swab until it touches the bottom of the jar, and then apply it directly to any visible spot. The results are incredible, and it has been one of Mario Badescu’s best sellers for years!
Looking for more beauty products tips? Then take a look at this list of best beauty products to buy on your trip to the US!
Now for hair products.I have the impression that Shea Moisture is not that well-known outside the US, but it should be since their products are made with excellent ingredients and have an incredible price! In addition, they have a lot of different lines – most of them full of oils and moisturizing factors – and they have options for all types of hair.
I recommend the Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil line and the Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Hair Serum.
Olaplex is kind of the new kid on the block when we talk about hair products, but it is already famous and used in hair studios worldwide. Instead of names, their products have numbers, and numbers #1 and #2 are for professional use only. Number #3 is a mix between a mask and a treatment, and it helps strengthen your hair. It has an exclusive technology that can reverse damage caused by chemical treatments, straighteners, hairdryers, and even from the wind and sun! It’s kind of a miracle on a bottle.
Olaplex #3 is the brand’s best-seller (and for a reason – let me tell you that stuff is MAGIC! My hair has never been better!), but you can also try #4 and #5, shampoo and conditioner. Read my full review of Olaplex here!
Looking for more hair products tips? Then take a look at this post with a list of the best hair products to buy on your trip to America!
Do not waste your time with brands you can find at any Sephora around the world. Yes, Urban Decay, Too Faced, and Nars are good, but they are not the best, and you can find so many better options in the US.
Want to invest your money in incredible makeup? Go for Natasha Denona’s eyeshadow palettes, skin products from Hourglass (such as the Ambient Light Powder), and get some surreal highlighters from Jouer. Wanna spend all your money on one single brand? Go for Pat McGrath Labs or even Charlotte Tilbury if they don’t have it in your country (it has a similar price in Europe, so don’t bother with CT if you live there).
Wanna buy incredible but affordable makeup? Try drugstore brands. They are excellent and cheap. Most of my brushes are from e.l.f. The photoFocus line from wet n wild is like magic in a bottle. Wanna go crazy? Just search for Colourpop, they have so many products, and they are all amazing.
I think it goes without saying that if you have a trip to Europe planned in the next couple of months, you should not buy from any European brands while in the US. Yes, they are cheap there, but they are even more affordable in Europe, and if you don’t live there, you can even get your tax back when going home!
Instead, go for American brands, such as:
- Levi’s: the world’s most famous denim, with so many models and sizes it gets hard to choose. I recommend the 721, high-waisted skinny jeans.
- The North Face: perfect for those who face cold weather regularly. Wanna get super warm? Go with a Thermoball. Wanna versatile option? Try the Carto Triclimate Jacket.
- GAP: hoodies with the giant GAP logo are just a MOOD. The rest of their clothes are also good and affordable, especially their denim and basics.
- Guess: do not buy it in regular stores, go to the outlets and find good quality pieces for a considerable discount. Seriously, it seems like every outlet has a Guess store.
- Ralph Lauren: nope, not a French brand, Ralph Lauren is American. Their most popular item is the classic polo, but they also have other interesting pieces.
- Tommy Hilfiger: another brand that has so many outlets with all their staples. I just don’t see the point in buying it at full price. Go for the polo shirts, underwear, and even casual bags.
- Calvin Klein: the best products you can get are denim and limited edition underwear (the regular line is not that much cheaper compared to other countries)
Other exciting brands are Hollister, Abercrombie, American Eagle, and Aeropostale. Bear in mind that even though the first two are more expensive, you can find all these stores in outlets.
When shopping for clothes, go to the outlets first and then the regular mall. You’ll probably save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars.
The American brand got popular again in the last couple of years due to their collaborations with celebrities – Selena Gomez, anyone? The Coach Cassie had a great moment for a while because of its similarity to Louis Vuitton’s Pochette Metis, but the hot item right now is the Tabby, with a structured silhouette and soft leather.
Another accessories brand, Kate Spade is perfect for those who are into the girly style since it uses a lot of baby colors, prints, and little details that make all their pieces stand out. You can find bags, wallets, watches, jewellery and other small items that will make you look go from boring to fashionista.
If you have a little bit more money to spend, you should consider buying some Michael Kors. They don’t do only bags, although they are known for that, but wallets, watches, sunglasses, and other items that will give you a sophisticated look. My suggestions are the watches, with their modern and luxury design, and the bags. The brand has some great options that will surely please you if you are into the monogram trend.
In search of a travel backpack? Then you should go for brands such as Osprey and Deuter (the latter is actually a German brand, so if you are in Europe, do not buy it in the US!). From Osprey, I recommend the Fairview 40L, a women’s backpack that I happen to use for most of my trips. From Deuter, try the Future 34 or 45 liters. You can find both brands in stores in other countries, but they tend to be overpriced.
In case you are looking for casual backpacks, go for Adidas or The North Face.
What isn’t really worth it when we are talking about accessories? From my research, I found out that expensive sunglasses tend to be costly everywhere, including in the US. The price difference from other American countries is not that big, much less in Europe.
A quick reminder that luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, etc., are cheaper than in most places, but they are more expensive if you compare it to European prices, especially since you get your VAT back when shopping in Europe at the end of your trip.
That’s the most challenging category on the list cause what is worthy depends from brand to brand (and even from product to product!).
I will say that in general, training shoes are cheaper in the US, especially if you are not looking for the latest models. You can find Nike, Adidas, and even Asics for less than US$100, sometimes even less than US$50. When we talk about the current models, though, I don’t see much difference between prices in the US and the rest of the world. They are expensive everywhere.
If you are actually into collecting kicks, you will find the most different and exclusive models in the USA, and even if they are not cheap, they probably will be worth it for you. For workout clothes, I honestly think the prices for Nike, Adidas, etc., are insane and only recommend you buy them from outlets or discounted stores such as TJ Maxx or ROSS. If you are into Lululemon, though, you should definitely buy it in the states.
Vitamins e Supplements
I have never found another country that is so into vitamins as the United States. They have isles and isles of vitamins in Walmart, it’s kind of impressive. Of course, you can really save money on any type of vitamin, but here are some of the best:
- Centrum: A Centrum multivitamin with 200 capsules in the US is the same price as the 30 capsules anywhere else. Do I need to say more?
- Vitamin D: Most brands sell it at 2000, 10000, and 50000 IU, and they are all super cheap. If you regularly take Vitamin D supplements, you should definitely stock some of them on your trip.
- Cranberry: Not insanely cheap, but if you compare to prices in Latin America, it’s almost half of what you pay over there.
- Melatonin: Perfect for those who suffer from insomnia, sleep problems, or even jet lag.
- Whey Protein: Quality whey protein is not cheap, but it’s certainly more affordable in the US. If you are planning to buy some protein powder, I recommend you save some space in your suitcase, especially because the bigger the package, the bigger the saving. Don’t know the brands? Go for Optimum Nutrition.
- Creatine: Different from most supplements, creatine efficiency was scientifically proven by many studies, which makes this an excellent investment if you are into training. Again, I suggest you go for Optimum Nutrition, but other brands are also cheap.
Is it really a trip if you don’t buy toys for your kids or your relatives? Nah. When we talk about what to buy in the USA, toys are on the top of the list, and the popular ones are really cheap in the land of freedom.
Ok, listen – I had no idea what a LOL was until I read all those posts from parents asking where on earth to find these cause they were sold out everywhere. So if you are like me and have no clue what they are, they are just tiny dolls, and the fun part is that when you buy yours, you actually don’t know which doll you are getting.
Even though you can find LOL dolls in other countries, you can find different themes and kits in the US, so you have way more options there.
LEGO is a toy for all ages, let’s be honest. Is it worth it to buy the regular sets with some blocks to play around with? Maybe, it depends on the number of blocks you choose. But is it worth it to buy the special sets? Absolutely.
I recommend you try the Hogwarts Castle set if you are a Harry Potter fan, the Millennium Falcon if you are into Star Wars, or even the Coliseum with more than 9000 pieces (it was at some point the most giant set in the world).
Also, if you happen to see a LEGO store, especially in New York or at Walt Disney World, don’t forget to go inside! They have some crazy sculptures (made of LEGO, obviously).
The fact that Nickelodeon was finally able to get the Slime to stick… priceless. If your kids, nephews, or any kid in your life in general likes to play with Slime, then you have already found the perfect gift. Besides the different types of slimes, like this galaxy one, you can also find huge DIY kits, so they can “create” their own slime (don’t worry, it’s just different colors of slimes and “toppings” for them to embellish it).
I am not sure Funko Pop qualifies as a toy since it’s basically collectibles and decoration, but hey, here they are. Again, it’s almost the same price in Europe, but waaaay cheaper if you are from anywhere else. I remember my cousin being so shocked with the prices that on our last trip to Disney World, she took 7 Funko Pop home.
There are so many different characters that it’s hard to suggest which ones are the best, but I love the Disney ones, all the different versions of Marvel’s heroes, the super cute pokemon, and the ones from TV shows, such as Friends.
Last but definitely not least, baby stuff. This category is so cheap in the USA that many bloggers and famous people take a trip abroad just to shop for all their baby essentials. So not only can you save some money, but you have so many good options to choose from!
Starting with one of the best sellers in the category: Baby Jogger City Mini GT2 Stroller. It’s super easy to fold and store, it’s light, its wheels are game for any kind of terrain, and it has a handlebar brake. It can’t really get better than that.
If you want a more affordable option, go with the Graco Modes Pramette Stroller. It has different ride options, and you can also use it as a car seat for your infant. It also has a kid and an adult tray for your comfort, different reclining positions, and you can let your baby face you or forward.
Graco’s 4Ever 4-in-1 Car Seat is the best choice for a car seat cause it keeps up with the child’s growth. You can use it for when your kid is an infant and needs the seat facing the rear of the car until they grow and can use it facing forward. It also connects with the car seat belt, and you can even use it as a booster.
O Infant Optics DXR-8 has already won several prizes in the baby monitor category, and it’s perfect for those who want to keep an eye on their kids at all times since it has zoom and tilt functions. In addition, it’s super light, so you can take it with you through your house with no hassles, and it has an FHSS connection, which means it doesn’t go through the internet.
The LILLEbaby carrier allows you to carry your child in 6 different ergonomic styles, with straps that will enable you to use it in front of you or in a backpack style. It is also made of a breathable mesh, so you don’t even have to worry about your infant’s temperature. The perfect product for those who want a comfortable, stylish option to carry their baby.
An electric sterilizer that does all the work for you, so you can spend more time with your child instead of cleaning bottles. Dr. Brown’s Electric Steam Sterilizer can be used for bottle parts and for nipples and even pacifiers. It uses steam to sterilize everything, and its design makes it easier to clean two bottles simultaneously.
Lastly, the cheapest item in the baby category, the Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker Chair. It holds even bigger toddlers (up to 40lb/18kg), it reclines, and it even has two different vibration speeds to help soothe your baby. In addition, the fabric part can be thrown in the washing machine in case of any accidents, and the toy bar is removable.
WHAT NOT TO BUY IN THE USA
I already mentioned some products that are not worth buying in the US. Most of them have a low price difference compared to other countries, and then it makes no sense for you to spend your money on it. So instead, save to buy these items back home and buy other things on your trip.
Nonetheless, here is a list of things not worth buying in the US:
- Expensive sunglasses: Sunglass Hut has almost the same price worldwide, especially in big brand names such as Ray Ban.
- Top-of-the-line training shoes: Not that much of a difference between prices in the US and other places. The older models are dirt cheap and more than worth it if you can go to outlets, though.
- Workout clothes: If you are after Lululemons, go for it. Otherwise, only buy these types of clothes from outlets or stores such as TJMaxx or ROSS.
- Luxury Brands: most of them are European, which means they are cheaper in Europe, and there you also get tax back so you can save even more!
WHAT IS WORTH BUYING IF YOU LIVE IN EUROPE
As I told you repeatedly through this post, most products in the USA are not that much cheaper than in Europe. Yes, you can still save hundreds of dollars if you buy a lot or do your shopping at outlets, but you may also enjoy this opportunity to buy some brands that are not easily accessible back home, such as e.l.f., wet n wild, Colourpop or Glossier.
I also suggest you go to stores such as ROSS and TJMaxx, that sell brand products at a considerable discount. For example, I was able to buy Under Armour tops for less than US$5 and Sketchers for US$10!
IS IT WORTH IT TO SHOP AT DUTY FREE STORES?
NO! Do not mix “shopping in the USA” with shopping at the airport duty free, even if these airports are inside the USA. The prices in these stores are way higher than what you will find in stores across the country, and it’s only a valid option if you forgot to buy something or didn’t find the product you were looking for anywhere else.
WHAT TO BUY IN THE USA – SHOPPING LIST
No time to read this post? No problem, here goes a shopping list with what is worth buying in the USA (especially if you live in South America or Asia):
- Apple products in general
- Electronics in general
- Beauty Products (makeup, skincare, haircare)
- Vitamins and Supplements
- American-brand clothes (The North Face, Guess, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie, Hollister, Levi’s, GAP, Calvin Klein)
- Accessories (Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Osprey)
- Workout clothes (at outlets or ROSS stores)
- Toys and Baby Stuff
So tell me… after finding out about all these great things to buy in the USA, which items are you adding to your travel shopping list? Let me know in the comments!