One of the most exciting aspects of travelling is bringing home unique souvenirs from around the world. Local markets are the ideal places to find something authentic and interesting, However, bargaining is an essential skill for a tourists. We asked Alexandra Jimenez, editor of the blog Travel Fashion Girl, how to get the best bargains. Here are her tips and tricks:
How exactly does one bargain?
Haggling is considered by many to be an art form or at least a skill that can be acquired through experience. While it may overwhelm and even intimidate you, a bit of patience will help you succeed in attaining that one-of-a kind keepsake with a bargain basement price tag. In fact, in some countries, bargaining is a part of the culture with price haggling to be expected. Do a little research before your trip to determine general bargaining tips for your particular destination.
Follow these 10 tips to help you in your quest to master the art of skillful bargaining:
- Never attempt to bargain for an item you’re not prepare to buy. Don’t waste the vendor’s time or yours.
- Window shop discreetly without asking for prices. You don’t want them to know you’re interested.
- Once you’ve found the special item you want to purchase, decide on a number in your head. Determine how much you’re willing to pay and what it is worth to you. This will help give you confidence indicating to the vendor that you are an experienced haggler.
- Think in terms of local currency, not your own. Take the price standards in the local economy into consideration when deciding on a price.
- Generally speaking, offer half of the original asking price expecting to meet the vendor in the middle. For example, if he asks for 10, you offer 5, and expect to pay 7.5.
- Expect an over exaggerated reaction from the salesperson at your counteroffer. While a bit of this is to be expected, if you follow the above guideline you should end up be in a reasonable price range for both of you.
- Stand firm and act confident. If you don’t get the price you want, be prepared to walk away or reconsider if your offer was too low. Some vendors will chase after you with a lower price. This varies between destinations.
- If you really want to buy something the vendor may not always come chasing after you, so decide whether you will pass on the item or pay more.
- It is very important to pay what the item is worth to you, not what others have paid for it.
- Don’t fight over pennies. Remember, the difference in you paying or saving 10 cents can make a world of difference to that vendor feeding themselves or their family.
- What if you overpaid? If you are happy with your purchase and the price tag, then that’s all that matters. Maybe you paid a bit more than another person but you also gained an incredible souvenir that will bring you memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy it!
The article was published in Travel Secrets magazine's March-April 2014 issue. To subscribe, visit Magzter