Tips for Bargaining in the Local Markets!
Jetting off to a foreign land is a great opportunity to sample a wide range of wonderful cultures with bustling souks, colourful markets and unique bazaars. All of which offer a perfect chance to purchase something you couldn’t get anywhere else in the world. All inclusive holidays are a wonderful way of helping to fit a few market visits into your budget as all your accommodation, food and entertainment are taken care of, meaning more money for shopping.
Haggling or bargaining is a market tradition that goes back centuries. In fact, many items in souks and marketplaces don’t even have prices on them, with the stallholder fully expecting a bartering match prior to each sale.
If you’re new to haggling, it may be a bit of a daunting prospect, but don’t worry. Here are 7 foolproof tips for haggling in local markets on holiday. You never know, you might just get yourself a bargain!
Get the timing right
The time you go to the market can make a big difference to what price the merchant is prepared to sell his wares at. If you arrive early in the morning, while they are still setting up, you may find you get a better deal as they will want to start the day off with sales – rather than a walkout. In fact, in many countries, merchants look to make early sales, as they see it as a good omen for the day ahead.
If you can’t make it early, try browsing around closing time. Merchants will be eager to offload stock, especially if it’s the last trading day of the week.
Hide your enthusiasm
Walking into a stall and shouting ‘ooh we need one of these!’ may be the natural thing you want to do, but avoid showing enthusiasm for the item. If the merchant gets the impression that you definitely want to buy it, that’s an invitation for them to hike up their prices, and you could end up paying way over the odds.
To throw the merchant off the scent, ask for the prices of a few items.
Decide what the item is worth to you
Decide on a price you want to pay for the item, and don’t go any higher than that. You’ll feel a real sense of satisfaction if you manage to get it for cheaper, and it will stop you from getting carried away with the haggle.
Always let the shopkeeper quote the first price
This point is especially true if you’re an inexperienced haggler who doesn’t know the market very well. Let the merchant quote the first price as this could be up to five times higher than what they actually expect you to pay. Use this as a benchmark and make your counter offer.
Go in low, but not too low
When it comes to making your counteroffer, there are no set rules. However, keep in mind the price you agreed to pay and go in at half or a quarter of the merchant’s price – depending on how inflated it is. As a general guide, start on half of what you would be willing to pay.
In the Arab world, going in too low is considered rude. Avoid going more than 80 percent less than the original price.
Don’t sweat the pennies
If you’ve managed to get close to an agreement on the price, don’t let it get heated over a small difference. Instead, pay the pennies and walk away with your new trinket.
Be prepared to walk away
If, and it does occasionally happen, the merchant won’t drop his prices as low as you would like, walk away. Chances are, you’ll find another shopkeeper selling a similar item a few stalls down.
Some Haggling DO NOTs:
- Don’t insult the goods. Hide your enthusiasm, but there’s no need to diss the items. This may only serve to alienate the seller and make them less likely to lower the price.
- Make sure to not talk too much.
- Never offer your maximum price to start off.
- Don’t leave without saying thank-you, even if you couldn’t agree on a price.
There you have it, one of the best parts of travel and visiting a different place is the culture. Not to mention, taking home a little memento to remind you of your time there. It’s also a great way to support the locals to shop in markets. Hope these help in your next bargaining adventure!
How do you negotiate at markets when you travel?
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist and editor of lifestyle blog Whispered Inspirations. A social media junkie, a travel-lover with insatiable wanderlust and an aficionado for fun gadgets, good eats, and entertainment. You can find her on Instagram and everywhere else under @WhispersInspire.