Haggling is something many travellers get to (or have to) experience while travelling. If you visit certain countries like Thailand, Morocco, Tanzania, and many more, you’ll probably have to haggle at least once. While it can be fun and save you money, haggling can take time to master and there’s no better way to become a pro than to seek inspiration from someone who not only bargains but loves it! Haggling isn’t only about getting the best deal, it’s also an opportunity to have a cultural interaction while supporting the local economy. So here’s my 8 step guide to haggling abroad like a pro and turning every negotiation into an experience!
1. Come Prepared
Any guide to haggling abroad has to start with research. Research certain items online and through friends before you travel. So if you’re planning to buy gold in Dubai, it’s a great idea to know the current value of gold. The same goes for tours and activities. Research the prices, ask friends, talk to locals, reach out to bloggers to make sure you’re not getting ripped off. Once you’ve done some research, decide how much you’re willing to pay in advance and then stick to that!
2. Know Your Price
Before you even start negotiating, you need to know how much you’re willing to spend. Going in prepared with a price in mind, you’ll be in a much better position. Prices are generally inflated for tourists, so if you know how much a local would pay, you’ll have an unexpected advantage. And remember, haggling is not about getting the lowest price, it’s about getting a fair price.
3. Speak the Language
Shop owners can usually see tourists coming from a mile away and will try to take advantage of that fact and assume you’re no good at haggling. One way to show a shop owner that you mean business is by speaking the country’s native language or a commonly spoken language. Learn a few key phrases and be confident when you speak. Show that you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t— fake it ‘til you make it, folks!).
4. Be Respectful
While haggling is customary in a lot of places, remember that for many locals, selling souvenirs and handmade items is how they earn a living. Remember that the person you’re haggling with is not your enemy. Getting a fair price is important but you should also be respectful and don’t forget the person you’re haggling with is just doing their job. Approach haggling instead as a great opportunity to interact and engage with the locals and as a way to immerse yourself in the culture.
5. Keep Calm
As soon as the seller smells that you really want something, it’s very unlikely you’ll get the best price. Don’t walk into a stall, pick up an item and say, “Wow I love this!” Issalova! Instead, stay cool and calm while you’re looking around and play a little hard to get. Work on your poker face and don’t settle for the first counter-offer. This shows the seller that you have no problem leaving if you don’t like the price.
6. Use your Calculator
Having your calculator ready can be quite useful both to check conversion rates and to type out a number to show a seller if you don’t speak the local language. It’s also pretty handy to have a currency converting app like XE Currency App, which can convert pretty much every currency in the world, even if your phone is offline.
7. Show them the money.
Honestly, this is an OG tip. Physically bring out and hold what you are willing to spend and offer “all you have” to pay for whatever you’re bargaining for. The seller will be tempted to just grab your money and settle because they can see the cash money!
8. Be Ready to Walk Away
If the price isn’t right, feel free to say ‘no thank you,’ and walk away. Never worry about having taken too much of the seller’s time. Sellers know they won’t make every sale so try not to feel bad. Also, being ready to walk away can actually get you a better deal, sellers often soften up when they see you walking out and a sale being potentially lost.
I hope you’ve reached the end of this post learning that it’s okay to haggle! With his 8 step guide to haggling abroad, you’re well on your way to becoming a pro. And remember, haggling is about paying what something is worth – not trying to see if you can get something for the cheapest price possible. Give back to the community through buying local and negotiating fair prices.
Don’t forget to share this post and save it for future reference when you’re out travelling again!
Until next time xx
Those are some interesting tips.. in India we do lot of bargaining.
Thank you! and yeah in Nigeria we do ALOT of bargaining
I’m actually very bad at haggling, I usually end up paying almost exactly what they were asking for in the first place because I feel bad asking for it for less!
Haha yeahh it takes practice with haggling and also knowing what a fair price to pay is. Tourist almost always get a bumped up price which can be fine but when it’s too much, you have to come to a happy medium.
Good tips for haggling. We did it in Tunisia years ago, it’s strange if your not used to it.
It is really strange isn’t it lol you can feel bad so hopefully these tips help.