With summer fast approaching, many will be jet-setting to explore foreign and exotic places. While you may have set your budget and selected the cheapest airfare and hotel, you could get accidently get sucked into a financial hole simply by doing some souvenir shopping. To make sure that you don’t get ripped off and spend a small fortune on a matryoshka doll, learn how to bargain like a pro.
Before anything else is said or done, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you carefully research the area you are traveling to. This includes researching the currency and its equivalency in America dollars as well as whether bargaining is something out of the norm (or is generally expected). Typically most markets are accustomed and expect for some kind of haggling to occur, but this isn’t always the case. These sorts of answers can generally be found in brochures, travel guides or simply by doing a Google search. If bargaining is generally seen as acceptable and there is a certain item that you already know that you want, it’s also a good idea to do some research in order to find the value of the item. This way you will automatically know if the vendor’s asking price is truly outrageous or not.
While shopping, it’s also extremely important that you dress modestly and leave all of your fancy tourist shoes and clothing back at the hotel. If you seem like you are loaded with money, you will definitely have a harder time haggling. Vendors may even start the asking price much higher than normal just because they assume you can afford it. So dress low-key.
Analyze the Item/Negotiate
One of the easiest ways to get the asking price reduced is to point out that the item is damaged. Often times the merchandise (especially in open markets) are put away each night and unpackaged each morning, which may consequently result in damaging the good. If the item is not in perfect condition (maybe there is a scratch, stain or dent) make sure that you immediately tell the seller and see if you can negotiate a price reduction. Whatever you do, do not play full-price for a damaged good. If you are trying to haggle for an item that is not damaged but the seller refuses to go down, agree to pay the full price only if another item is included. Typically vendors will agree to this if the other item is something small.
Put on Your Best Poker Face
While negotiating, it’s also extremely important that you don’t reveal how badly you want the item. This will only give the seller the upper hand. Don’t rant about how much your child back home wants that item for their room or anything like that; you could end up actually paying more for that item. If the seller refuses to go down, then you can thank them for their time and walk away, this can be a bluff initially to see if the seller will stop you and agree to go down on the price. But only attempt to bluff if you are truly can live without the item the vendor might just very well let you walk out of the market empty handed.