Save Yourself from Paying Enormous Duties and Taxes With Simply Declare


Gear and Gizmos  

Photo: Shutterstock /  Kati Molin
Photo: Shutterstock / Kati Molin

Shopping and vacations go hand in hand. We all love to bring back unique Christmas gifts from Mexico and decorate our homes with hand-woven blankets from India, but if you spend more than the duty-free limit allows, the fun you had shopping may not be worth the consequences. The Simply Declare app was created to help you stay within your international duty-free spending limit, so you can avoid additional taxes, fines, or losing your souvenirs entirely.

Simply Declare was created by Rae Mapey, an accountant from Vancouver Island, who was having a hard time keeping track of her purchases during her  frequent trips to Arizona. When you shop a little bit every day for two-weeks straight, it’s hard to remember exactly what you bought and how much you paid. Simply Declare saves you the agony of unpacking everything and making a list after the fact.

How Simply Declare Works

Simply Declare was created with simplicity in mind. All you need to do is enter the dollar amount you’re allowed to bring back duty-free. For example, Canadians who spend more than  seven days in Mexico can bring back up to $800 worth of goods.

Next, record your purchases in the app as you go. The app will deduct your purchases from your limit, so you know how much you have left to spend. Are you sick of keeping a wad of receipts to unravel at customs? Simply Declare allows you to take a snapshot of each one receipt and then stores it for you.

Exchange rates add another tricky twist to keeping your budget on track. Fortunately, Mapey kept this in mind while designing the app. It converts the foreign currency to your home currency in real time, so you can delete that unnecessary exchange rate app you downloaded. Aside from supporting nearly any currency you’ll encounter abroad, the app is offered in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, German, Chinese and Korean.

The Cost of Using Simply Declare

Simply Declare has both paid and ad-supported versions. The ad-free version of Simply Declare is  $0.99 and has become a favorite among travelers across the globe. Simply Declare was named one of the best summer apps of 2012 by the the Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine. CNN Money regarded it as one of the best new apps for business travelers, and PC World included it in their list of ten great Android and iOS travel apps.

Simply Declare only allows you to record one trip at a time, but Mapey confirmed that this was to maintain the program’s simplicity. The app’s five-star rating on iTunes shows users don’t mind the limitation.

The days of arriving at customs and wondering how you could have possibly spent $1000 in gifts during your eight-day trip to Puerto Vallarta are over.

About the Author: Matt Gibson

Matt Gibson is the Let's Roll blog manager. He also writes for the Huffington Post,, and his own adventure travel blog.

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