Whether it's a bit of last-minute holiday shopping, a thank-you gift for a host, or a souvenir of your trip for yourself, you'll find that airport shops are excellent places to look for gifts and souvenirs. Some airports are filled with local arts and crafts, brand-name clothing boutiques, and specialty shops featuring electronics, travel gear, and even wine and spirits.
As you fly in or out of a city, consider buying that gift at the airport—it gives you something to do while waiting for your flight and you'll probably find something unique and local to bring home with you.
The Cibo Express Gourmet Markets in Terminal E near Gates 10 and 24 are not your grandmother's gift shops. Cibo Express is a place to pick up some international gourmet fare as well as travel gifts. CIBO brings local artisanal brands and vendors into the terminal so you're bound to find something unique.
Among the gifts available are waxed-canvas men's Dopp kits and women's cosmetic cases from Austin, Texas-based Newton Supply Company. In order to make these items, Newton partners with the nonprofit Open Arms, a non-profit created to empower refugee women by giving them jobs with a living wage.
You cannot leave O'Hare without getting some of the city's iconic Garrett Popcorn. Garrett Popcorn is made fresh daily with non-GMO, hot air-popped kernels. Choose from flavors including its world-famous cheddar and caramel popcorn mix, the new spicy cheese corn flavor, or almond-caramel crisp. Get popcorn by the bag or the tin from outlets in Terminals 1, 3, and 5.
When you land at this airport, you can smell the barbecue on the fire at Salt Lick BBQ, a Texas tradition. The original Salt Lick BBQ, located outside Austin in Driftwood, Texas is a destination for meat-lovers who enjoy beef, sausage, pork and chicken slow-cooked in a traditional barbecue pit and consumed under the shade trees at a picnic table. At the airport, you can enjoy the mouth-watering barbecue and shop for some of Salt Lick's traditional sauce and rub.
And after eating an amazing meal between gates 20 and 21, spend some extra money and have your favorites shipped home via UPS.
Who doesn't love chocolate? Seattle Chocolates, in business since 1991, has an outlet at the airport in Concourse C. The airport store sells Seattle Chocolate truffle bars, truffles in more than 20 flavors, handmade caramels from Whidbey Island and other unique local gifts. You can order a chocolate tasting flight and even book your Experience Chocolate factory tour at the store. The Seattle Chocolate factory is close-by in Tukwila.
All of Seattle Chocolate is certified Kosher, and many varieties are also gluten-free and vegan.
Candy is always a nice travel treat. The airport's Concourse B and C have outlets of a Georgia favorite, Savannah Candy Kitchen, known for its pralines in fancy gift boxes, the best outside of New Orleans.
In addition to the famous Savannah’s Original Pralines, you can pick up some saltwater taffy or hand stretched peanut brittle. Candies are available in gift tins in large or small quantities and can be shipped.
InMotion Entertainment offers state-of-the-art headphones, electronics, travel gear, and accessories at their stores in over 40 U.S. airports. When flying in or out of Boston-Logan Terminal C, you may want to consider buying a high-end tech gift such as the Jabra Sport Coach. These wireless sports earbuds offer users audio coaching and a TrackFit monitor sensor for cross training and indoor workouts.
A well-tailored shirt would make a great gift. A great place to buy one is at the airport outlet of Hammer Made, a local menswear boutique. The shop, located in Terminal 1, features unique, premium, and limited-run shirts at affordable prices, all with great tailoring.
Japan's main international airport has an explosion of reasonably priced items that you can buy in all its terminals. Your head will spin from all the choices, but ideal for gifting are these lovely uniquely-Japanese Tenugui hand towels, found all over the country. They have wonderful designs and can be used as bathroom hand towels, dish towels, or even to wrap a gift.
Spain is known for Jamon, cured ham that is traditionally finely sliced and eaten cold. Miami is the only airport in the United States that sells a special Spanish ham, Cinco Jotas (5J) Pata Negra ham, touted to be the finest in the world. This exclusive, acorn-fed, and specially cured Iberico ham comes sealed in plastic in a leather carrying case. Buy it at The Shoppes At Ocean Drive, near Gate D-17.
This small regional airport based in Sioux City, Iowa was assigned an unfortunate airport code—SUX—and turned it into marketing gold, selling t-shirts, mugs, and a beanie cap. The Fly Sux brand is fun and edgy, especially among aviation geeks.
This airport is the gold standard when it comes to shopping, offering everything from alcohol to cheese to tulip bulbs, all wrapped up in the iconic bright yellow "See Fly Buy" bags.
Arrivals Hall 3 is the home of Fleurtiek, which not only sells tulip bulbs, but also fresh bouquets, stems of flowers, helium balloons, seeds, and traditional gifts from Holland.
Many come to Baltimore for the Maryland crab cakes. And just in case you didn't get any during your visit, don't worry. You can get your crab cake fix at Obrycki's, a historic restaurant that started as a bar in Baltimore's historic Fells Point neighborhood on the water.
You can eat there and even pack up crab cakes to go. The restaurant has locations at Concourse B between gates B-7 and B-9 and in Concourse A next to gate A-10.
Heathrow's terminals do regular liquor and wine tastings. Among the shops selling liquor is World of Whiskies, in Terminal 2, where you'll find fine whiskeys from around the world which you can pre-order and pick up at the airport. Brands include Aberlour and Glenfiddich.
World Duty-Free (WDF) opened Wine Collection: Rare & Vintage, at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and then later added another shop in Terminal 3. The outlet offers 180 wines and Champagnes. Also for the connoisseur of fine wines, Fortnum & Mason has a stylish wine bar in Terminal 5.
Seoul's main airport is a shopper's paradise, with luxury brands, cosmetics, liquor, and electronics. You'll find Korean-made crafts and gifts such as hand-made Korean dolls, hand-painted fans, music and jewelry boxes inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and elaborately decorated business card cases at ParkSsiSangBang, located in the Transportation Center Area 1B.
DFW is a great place for shopping, but there's a special store just for aviation enthusiasts. The DFW Employee Store, located by Gate C2 in Terminal C, offers logo clothing and gift items for hometown carrier American Airlines and American Eagle. But it also carries swag from historical airlines, including TWA, Reno Air, US Airways, and Air California, along with gear from members of the Oneworld alliance.
They even have an online store so you can geek out even if you aren’t traveling via DFW anytime soon.