If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

If you shop at an airport when travelling, did it really happen?

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, Travel 11 Comments

Sponsored by Brisbane Airport Corporation

I was scrolling through Instagram the other day when someone reminded me that back in the day if you ate a sneaky Maccas cheesy-b with a Diet Coke, in calorie terms, they cancelled each other out. Go on. You went with that too, yes?

I also apply the same il-informed, wishful-thinking kind of justification when shopping at an airport. If you’re not at home and you’re heading somewhere else, then did said shopping really happen? Ok, you got me. The bags swinging from my carry-on tell me it did but, in my mind, the spendings have come out of a mythical, no-man’s land budget.

You see, I LOVE travelling. And for me, it all starts at the airport. It matters not if I’m heading on a short trip in Australia or halfway around the world, I will always arrive at the airport with plenty of buffer time for shopping. 

I’m relaxed, I’ve got the holiday or escaping-reality vibe happening and I’m ready to buy.

The airport I spend most of my time in is my home-town airport, Brisbane Airport. So when the good people at Brisbane Airport Corporation asked me to visit the Domestic Terminal and spend some time browsing their fashion and beauty retailers, it was indeed a non-hardship situation of my working life overlapping with my real life.

Let’s just say I am very across the retail situation at Brisbane Airport. Some may say this is an indication of my shopping … ahhemm … problems. I like to think it’s my duty as an online style advisor to be at the top of my shopping game. AT ALL TIMES.

Think what you will, I’m here to tell you that airport shopping can very much help you out of a sticky situation if you find yourself in the departure lounge with a niggling feeling that you’ve forgotten to pack something for your destination. And it won’t cost you more than it would have at your local shopping centre.

I may be a reformed packer (and have written an ebook to back up that reformation) but over the years, many an airport purchase has saved me from arriving at a destination, wanting in the wardrobe or beauty department.

Below are eight reasons why you might find yourself extremely appreciative of a quick shop at Brisbane Airport.

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

1. You accidentally (on purpose) forgot your makeup kit

This is a strange occurrence that’s been happening to me even since Mecca Maxima opened at Brisbane Airport. It could also explain why I’ve reached Level 3 on the Mecca Beauty Loop loyalty program. Oops. A girl really can never have too many lippies or illuminators. And everything is just so shiny and lovely. 

Find it: Near Gate 38, Virgin Terminal

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

2. You look at the weather app and realise it’s colder at your destination than anticipated

I’m a weather nerd from way back and rarely get caught on this one but no-one’s perfect. I’ve been known to pick up a cardi, a wrap, a scarf, a pair of warmer pjs or even a pair of slippers. Thank the slumber gods for Peter Alexander.

Find it: Near Gate 25, Virgin Terminal

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

3. Your weekend is going to be more active than you first thought

I’m now that person who packs her activewear and actually uses it. I don’t know who I am, either. Former self was not that person. She knew not to even bother putting in so much as a part of yoga pants. But former self also would get caught out on group-conference-lets-all-be-active-and-have-FUN activities. Don’t get caught out. Get your glutes into Lorna Jane

Find it: Near Gate 39, Virgin Terminal

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

4. You’re flying to a tropical island but forgot a hat

True story. I did just that. I’m a sun-safe girl from way back (thanks Mum) and have made it a life-long quest to find great hats for my big head. A lot of good that does me when I leave them all on the hat rack at home, instead of with me as I was heading to the Whitsundays. Blue Illusion saved the day then and would still do so today. I’d probably sneak in this Positano-inspired kaftan for good measure too. Lemons ARE the new pineapples.

Find it: Near Gate 24, Qantas Terminal

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

5. You ran out of time to buy an outfit for your interstate work Christmas party

It’s a crazy time of year. I don’t advocate panic buying but I do advocate packing an old favourite as a back-up but taking time to check out stores like Seed for a fresh option. You’ll even be sorted in the shoe and accessory department and no one will be the wiser (unless you share your secret) as to where you bought your outfit.

Find it: Near Gate 22, Qantas Terminal

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

6. You own 12 pairs of sunglasses but left every one of them at home

I have a sunglass wardrobe but do you think I remembered to pack one pair on a recent overseas trip? No. No, I did not. I realised the error of my ways somewhere over the Indian Ocean. Had I remembered at the airport, I could have justified a new pair from Sunglass Hut

Find it: Near Gate 23, Qantas Terminal

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

7. Ditto a clutch and accessories for a black-tie event outfit 

This might also fall into the “accidentally forgot” basket. I mean, a girl can never have too many blingy accessories, can she? It’s the easiest way to freshen up an existing event outfit and you’ll have them on hand for the whole party season. Mimco will not let you down.

Find it: Near Gate 22, Qantas Terminal

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

8. Just because

Let’s face it, I can give you all the very valid reasons why you might NEED to shop at Brisbane Airport, but let’s not forget: you’re in an airport. If you’re not going on holiday, then you’re travelling for work. Give in to the vibe and treat yourself.

If you shop at an airport on your way to somewhere else, did it really happen? | Brisbane Airport | Nikki Parkinson Styling You | Photo: Sarah Keayes The Photo Pitch

So, tell me, am I alone with my airport shopping “did it really happen?” theory? What’s the best thing you’ve ever bought at an airport? I want to hear all your airport shopping stories in the comments below.


Photography: The Photo Pitch; Hair and Makeup: Dale Dorning/Arc Creative

Comments 11

  1. Hi Nikki – I’m an airport shopper from way back. Always leave enough time for some shopping. In my 50s I’ve also learned to leave enough time to sit in the bar and have a glass of wine alone. (Its one of those extrovert ‘learn to do it alone’ things). Airport book shops have THE best books. Blue Illusion at Sydney airport is THE best Blue Illusion. I sometimes fly out of Coolangatta and it has MAC!! Done some last minute purchases there. And then, I wouldn’t even mention the international lounges at all sorts of airports………(ssh..duty free makeup)

  2. When we travel, I actually factor in time to shop at the airport these days. I find it a very relaxing interlude in between the driving, checking in and boarding the plane with or without kids! x

  3. In Athens airport I always stock up on bath and beauty products from a lovely local company. The good news is they also have a shop in the domestic section so I can go with nothing and then before we board the flight for the islands I can get body wash, moisturiser, sunburn cream, after sun lotion and perfume. Double win.

  4. Almost more excited about stocking up at Urban Decay than flying Syd-Chc in January!

    Chc-Syd is all about treating myself to Evolve sterling silver beads (Kiwi Pandora) as a holiday souvenir and some iconic Kiwi jewellery pieces from designers like Boh Runga and Karen Walker. And Kiwi snack treats!

    1. Oh and my husband famously forgot to pack any undies for our honeymoon. I had packed both underwear for our adventures and also fancy lingerie for every destination and other adventures!

      We wound up having to buy underwear from the only place we could find any – the local Coles in Margaret River!

  5. You are definitely not alone Nikki. A few years ago, on my way to a Caribbean beach/sailing holiday, I realised in Miami that I hadn’t packed any swimwear. Soooooo luckily for me, there was an amazing shop at Miami Airport that just happened to have a sale on…..So that was necessity shopping, right?

  6. I may have been at Brisbane airport International Qantas lounge when my flight was massively delayed and a new plane had to come from Sydney. I may have had a couple or 3 G and T’s before stretching my legs and discovering a half price Oroton sale. I may have bought a HOT PINK handbag that I love but rarely get around to using.
    The good news is that when I got back to the Qantas club I had been upgraded to business class.
    So, I actually saved money, am I right!? 😉

  7. No you’re not alone Nikki I love a sneaky airport purchase unfortunately the shops are too nice to go past,I like to justify a Lloccitane perfume or something pretty we don’t have one near me,or a kaftan purchase from Witchery…I don’t think I’ve ever met a kaftan I didn’t love X

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