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Festive shopping breaks

With Christmas just around the corner the task of getting in presents and all the seasonal trimmings is once again upon us. It is commonly accepted that ‘tis the most stressful time for families.

Shopping holidays at this time of year, are becoming increasingly popular. You may already have a destination in mind; be it for Christmas markets in Europe, designer clothes in Milan or Paris, department stores in New York, electronic gadgets in Tokyo or duty-free bargains in Dubai.

The Flexicover Team has come up with some seasonal retail therapy breaks that could be just the ticket this season!

Mall of America; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

When thinking about shopping ‘over the pond’, first thoughts obviously turn to New York City. However, just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis in Bloomington is the largest shopping centre in the USA. The Mall of America houses over 520 stores, 50 restaurants and you’re sure to be able to grab a bargain, particularly as clothes and shoes are tax-free! But it's more than just a shopping paradise; it's a family entertainment complex featuring an indoor theme park that includes an aquarium, 14 movie theatres, an adventure golf course and even an indoor rollercoaster! Furthermore, this winter, the North Parking Lot will offer a unique experience for visitors in the shape of a 40ft ice castle that will span more than an acre. An enticing prospect for the season of goodwill indeed!

Magasin du Nord; Copenhagen, Denmark

With a history stretching back to 1868, Magasin Du Nord has positioned itself as Denmark’s premier shopping destination and since 1894, is located on Kongens Nytorv, an enviable location in the heart of the city. It’s the country’s largest and best-known department store – the equivalent of Harrods in London or Bloomingdales in New York – and the seven-storey building boasts a huge variety of products. You can find departments for fashion, home design & furnishings, beauty, books, toys, kitchenware, groceries and there's even a gourmet food hall in the basement. When you’re on the hunt for Christmas gifts, you can be sure you’ll find them here and as a non-Danish resident you may be able to take advantage of a 10% discount that is often granted! And a blissful Scandinavian Christmas.

Causeway Bay; Hong Kong

Causeway Bay is Hong Kong’s premier shopping district; every square inch is covered by malls, shops attractively lit up at night by neon advertising boards. There are two large department stores: Sogo Hong Kong and Times Square Shopping Mall. Located over 10 floors, Sogo opened in 1985 and underwent major renovation and expansion in 1993 to become Jumbo SOGO - increasing size from 120,000 sq ft to 400,000 sq ft. Times Square was one of Hong Kong’s first ‘mega-malls’ and, due the high land cost on the island, dispensed with the common western model of a large flat shopping centre; instead it went 16 floors up! 230 shops including all the big brand names, occupy 9 floors of this high-rise complex with the top tiers reserved for office space. Plus with its gastronomic treats, Christmas in Hong Kong would be a shoppers’ delight!

GUM; Moscow, Russian Federation

GUM (in full Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin, “State Department Store”) is the largest and most prestigious shopping mall in Russia. Dating back to the days of the tsars, it’s situated right opposite the Kremlin in spectacular Red Square. Built in 1893, it had amassed around 1,200 stores by the 1917 revolution. In 1928 Joseph Stalin converted it into office space for officials working on his Five Year Plan but in 1953 it reopened as a shopping centre and became a home for top-end fashion retailers following privatization in the 90s. Today it houses around 200 stores and remains a premier Christmas spot!

Istanbul Cevahir; Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul Cevahir Shopping Centre opened in October 2005 in the city’s Sisli district and is the largest shopping centre in Europe! 343 shops spread over 6 floors housing major international brands and eateries. It also has 12 cinemas (including an IMAX 3D cinema), a bowling alley and even its own indoor amusement centre which includes a free fall tower and a spinning octopus. The building’s glass roof also features a huge clock measuring 36m in diameter with 3m high digits! Imagine, a sunny Christmas!

If you are staying in this Christmas, trying one or more of these exotic festive dishes will help spread a cheer with your loved ones. If, however, you are lucky enough to go abroad, you may need a helping hand from Flexicover Direct, the travel insurance specialists, committed to providing the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.

If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!