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International travel isn't just about seeing foreign lands and experiencing other cultures. It's also about sampling the very best snacks and candies that another country has to offer. (Everyone speaks the international language of "sweet tooth.") Duty-free airport shops are among the best places to score cool confections with flavors you'll want on your taste buds as soon as you've unpacked. In fact, our recent trip to Canada yielded some yummy treats worth bringing home for friends — with some extras saved for yourself, of course.
While at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, we were scanning the maple syrup-stocked shelves when we came across a series of boxes that were beautifully decorated with various Canadian landscapes and nature photographs. Aptly named Tastefully Canadian, this brand of treats incorporates tastes that reflect the world's fourth largest country from coast to coast — and yes, it definitely sneaks in some maple flavors here and there.
Here are a few specific boxed treats that we'd recommend stocking up on before you catch your flight home. With them in your suitcase — and later in your mouth — you'll be sure to leave with sweet memories of your time in Canada.
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Fly from the US to Europe with a layover in the Middle East? How about a long-haul from Europe to Australia with a lunch of Arabic mezze in Qatar? This is the (near) future envisioned by the brand new, superlative city that is Hamad International Airport-DOH in Doha, Qatar.
The numbers behind the $16 billion(!!) project are appropriately gigantic; DOH can handle 8,700 passengers per hour, and has the space and infrastructure to see 50 million passengers annually through 65 gates once all phases are finished. 60% of the land the airport is built on was reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf, and in all that space passengers will find 22,000 sq m of retail, 15,000 sq m of dining, and a gobsmacking 80,000 sq m dedicated to the 16 lounges within the airport.
A simple layover may not be enough to fully enjoy all of Hamad International Airport, so we’ve done the legwork to name the highlights:
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It's easy to whisk through the international terminal passing by the perfumes, bottles of cheap liquor and massive Toblerones on the way to your gate and there are even a few airport where we'd recommend skipping the buys altogether. This is not the case at Tokyo's Narita, which stands out as a supreme airport for shopping.
We already know that Japan has some of the coolest foods to bring home to your friends as souvenirs, and Narita is home to a wealth of duty-free shops selling cakes and candies boxed so primly and perfectly that it's less a question of "should I buy it" and more "how many should I buy?"
Here are a couple of this year's best and quickest buys at Narita:
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Remember when McDonalds Happy Meals actually had some great toys inside? Heck, some series were even considered “collectible.” Those days disappeared with the arrival of plastic Bratz figurines and Furbies, but quality surprise toys can still be found, across the ocean, inside chocolate Kinder “Surprise" Eggs.
Every so often, Kinder released a special “traveller edition” pack of its most popular treat, the hollow eggs made of milk and white chocolate. A tiny plastic capsule inside the shell always contains some cute little knickknack, and right now those surprises are Airbus A330 aircraft models.
Students receive two full meals at school.
Earlier this week, we told you how running around Zoo Miami this Saturday can help the kids of a new Haitian school, Lycée Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable. But that's not the only way to support the Hand in Hand for Haiti charity that built and runs the school. Here's another way: go duty-free shopping.
Hand in Hand for Haiti was actually founded by three heavy-hitters in the travel retail industry: DFS Group chairman and CEO ED Brennan, Estée Lauder Travel Retailing Worldwide president Olivier Bottrie and The Moodie Report founder and publisher Martin Moodie.
All three companies encourage their employees and business partners to get involved with the charity, and have successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few years to get the school in Saint-Marc up and running. If you support any of these businesses by buying duty-free goodies on your travels, you're also contributing in some small way to the cause.
You can, of course, do even more by donating to the charity directly or sponsoring a child.