How To Bargain Shop When Traveling Abroad

Bargain shopping while abroad can be one of the most fun and satisfying things you do during your travels.Because even though, when you do all the monetary conversions, you’re not paying that much in dollars, you want to get a fair price for where you are.  

What does bargain shopping entail?

When I speak of “bargaining” I mean “haggling”. This means that you don’t have to, nor should you, pay the price you are given. Not all areas allow for this, but for those that do, it’s important to know how to bargain with shop owners.

What can you bargain for?

If you’re in an area that allows for bargain shopping, you can price haggle for any item being sold there. This includes food, clothing, accessories, and decorations.

I’d like to share some general “rules of thumb” when you go bargain shopping in foreign countries.  Of course, if you’re in love with an item and can afford it in your own currency, and are willing to pay, then go for it.

So how can you try for the best bargain?

First rule: Ask the locals where they go

The key phrases here are, “where are the popular local markets?”, “which markets are best for souvenirs?”, and “which markets will allow me to bargain?”.  You want to find anything related to markets, night markets, weekend markets, etc. 

Second: Be nonchalant

Don’t act too interested.  If shop owners know you really like something, they’ll be less willing to negotiate down on price.

Third: Know where to start your haggling

Ask the price and expect it to be at least double of what they would offer a local. A good place to start is at half of what they ask, and don’t be afraid of offending them.

Fourth: Bundle items for a better deal

Many shop owners will be more willing to bargain if you tell them you’re buying more than one item.  I like this technique when I see that they, for whatever reason, are unwilling to budge; in this case, I’ll take a look around and see what else I can get, and ask them to ADD something and then I’ll pay the price they’re asking.

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