Buying a computer whilst abroad

24
Found 10th Aug 2012
I'm going travelling at the end of September for 10 months with New York my final destination. I'm planning on buying a Macbook from the apple store there and then bringing it back with me.

I've read mixed reports about customs etc and was wondering if anyone here has any first hand experience with it? I am planning on ditching the box and just bringing the laptop back in my carry on luggage. I also plan on using it for a month whilst in the US if that affects anything.

Thanks
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MiscPC
24 Comments
Just buy it from the UK using the education store discount, 3 years applecare for free, £70 iTunes voucher, can't go wrong.
I have travelled a lot with a laptop around the world. Its fine if its your own personal computer, no one ever asks any questions. Most airlines even allow you one piece of cabin luggage plus a laptop bag. So if you throw the box away i can't see you having any issues.
Banned
realblender

You can bring in other goods worth up to £390 without having to pay tax … You can bring in other goods worth up to £390 without having to pay tax and/or duty. If you bring in any single item worth more than your allowance, you must pay duty and/or tax on the full item value, not just the value above the allowance. I am not sure why ditching the box and using it makes any difference.


+1

I'm sure customs are wise to this method and can quite easily detect how new the laptop is.
Banned
csiman

+1I'm sure customs are wise to this method and can quite easily detect … +1I'm sure customs are wise to this method and can quite easily detect how new the laptop is.


im not sure they are that thorough, unless theyve started taking inventories of uk citizens before they leave these days
csiman

+1I'm sure customs are wise to this method and can quite easily detect … +1I'm sure customs are wise to this method and can quite easily detect how new the laptop is.


No way. I don't think they'd bother. Put yourself in their shoes - are you gonna check absolutely every item a person possesses to see how new it is?

I think throwing the box away is a good idea, they are very unlikely to question you then.
Banned
casparwhite

im not sure they are that thorough, unless theyve started taking … im not sure they are that thorough, unless theyve started taking inventories of uk citizens before they leave these days


but the OP is going away for 10 months so if stopped, may well be looked into when they are carrying a brand new £800+ laptop
csiman

I'm sure customs are wise to this method and can quite easily detect how … I'm sure customs are wise to this method and can quite easily detect how new the laptop is.


They can easily tell where is was bought from the keyboard layout and the FCC/CE labels.
csiman

but the OP is going away for 10 months so if stopped, may well be looked … but the OP is going away for 10 months so if stopped, may well be looked into when they are carrying a brand new £800+ laptop



Nearly every person in the queue will have an expensive laptop/ipad/iphone its just normal these days, even backpackers are travelling the world with ipads. Make sure you always have it charged when travelling. Once at Istanbul airport i was asked to power up my work Mac Powerbook by security, which i think was to prove it was not just a case with something else inside.
I've had no problem buying laptops from US and ditching the box.
If you are going to be in New York for 10 months then dont buy it at the Apple Store. B&H Photo and Amazon are much cheaper. Cheapest still is ebay because you do not get to pay sales tax. I did the same thing about a year ago when i bought mine.
Banned
csiman

but the OP is going away for 10 months so if stopped, may well be looked … but the OP is going away for 10 months so if stopped, may well be looked into when they are carrying a brand new £800+ laptop


not sure if serious
Post the receipt back home too! - As long as you bin packaging it will be fine.
Banned
lulz at advice for "smuggling" in a single laptop.

As above. Everyone(not literally) travels with a laptop, tablet etc these days.
Money Spinning

Post the receipt back home too! - As long as you bin packaging it will be … Post the receipt back home too! - As long as you bin packaging it will be fine.


casparwhite

lulz at advice for "smuggling" in a single laptop.


thesaint

As above. Everyone(not literally) travels with a laptop, tablet etc … As above. Everyone(not literally) travels with a laptop, tablet etc these days.


Thankfully there seems to be some sensible people on the thread now. I was beginning to think the lunatics had taken over the asylum!
I just put the box in my luggage and carried the laptop in my hand luggage. I have done this twice. Another cheaper option of getting one is to get it at Heathrow Duty free
Banned
Once I hid 3 large bottles of stella under a laptop. Nugget of info for you would be terrorists. Think they make you pull the laptop out now though.
Original Poster
I'm only in New York for a month, travelling round the world for the rest of the time. The reason I'd buy it from the Apple store is I can education store discount and itunes voucher as I have a student friend who lives in the city.

General consensus here seems to be that it'll be fine which is what I thought but I've read on other forums people saying that they're super thorough. I think that's just scaremongering though.

The bit about using it was because I think then it's not classified as new and so the rules aren't the same? Although I am by no means knowledgeable on the subject...
post the box to your house flatpacked
Mr_Tdontmess

I'm only in New York for a month, travelling round the world for the rest … I'm only in New York for a month, travelling round the world for the rest of the time. The reason I'd buy it from the Apple store is I can education store discount and itunes voucher as I have a student friend who lives in the city.General consensus here seems to be that it'll be fine which is what I thought but I've read on other forums people saying that they're super thorough. I think that's just scaremongering though.The bit about using it was because I think then it's not classified as new and so the rules aren't the same? Although I am by no means knowledgeable on the subject...



Just flatpack the box and post it home.
its unlikely but if you do get pulled by customs and they find a box in your bag.. you will get stung.
Chuckles1001

post the box to your house flatpacked



OR... Use the box to send back souvenirs and items you no longer need to avoid excess baggage charges.
Banned
how much is posting "the box" back home going to cost?

why would you need "the box" anyway?

this is some crazy thread
You dont need to post the box back home. I put mine in my luggage. I have seen some people bringing in their macbooks box and all as hand luggage
Banned
You've had the best opinions and advice....bin the box post receipt home and all will be fine due to the fact thousands of people carry laptops through an airport every day.

Just delete the thread as RealBlender is already on the phone to customs as we type.
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