When travelling around the world you really have to get into the habit of bargaining for everything. These 7 simple tips will help you buy stuff cheaper, faster and easier, essentially help you get better at bargaining! The cost of taxi rides, meals, clothing, hotel rooms, and tours are almost always up for debate. But bargaining is not always easy! You should know the basics before you go out and start heckling with a shop owner over the cost of a T-shirt.
Here are 7 tips that are sure to make you a better at bargaining.
1. Smile, Be Polite And Keep The Transaction Light-Hearted.
This is extremely important. The art of bargaining is ingrained in cultures around the world, so much so that etiquette has become a huge part of the art form. You should always smile, make jokes and keep the situation light. If your bartering exchange becomes heated, smile and walk away. There is no amount of savings worth upsetting you and your seller.
2. Know How Much You Are Willing To Pay BEFORE You Start Bargaining.
This rule is key. If you have your eye on an item, know exactly what your limit is before you engage the seller in a bargaining exchange. There is nothing worse than coming to an agreement on a transaction and then backing out or trying to get it even cheaper. There is an unspoken law about this sort of thing. If you say you’ll buy it for a certain price, then be willing to do so. This is key to become better at bargaining. This one takes a bit of getting used to and you may make a mistake or two, but learn from those mistakes and try not to give false promises while bargaining.
3. Know Your Product, Its Worth And Its Level Of Competition In The Area
Ever notice how there are hundreds of shops in the same area selling the exact same stuff? Keep this in mind while you’re bargaining. Shop around and get an idea of how low different shops are willing to go. Once you have a baseline, try to drive the price down a little bit further because you can be sure that the price for you is quite a bit higher than it would be for locals. Window shopping is key to become better at bargaining.
4. Never Bargain The Price Down So Low That Nobody Is Happy
A good transaction is only a good transaction if everyone involved leaves happy. We’ve been guilty of bargaining too low in the past.
“Not all shop owners are out to rip you off.”
Some of them will actually sell you an item below cost because they need the money just to make rent. Be aware of these possibilities, look at the standards in which the seller lives and decide upon a price that is fair for both parties.
That doesn’t mean you have to pay an inflated tourist price, it just means that you don’t need to bargain a guy down to pennies. Those pennies can buy his family bread, while you probably wouldn’t notice if you dropped them in his store. Bargaining isn’t about bragging to your friends that you got a lower price than them. It’s about coming to an agreement on a price that is fair.
5. Employ The “Walk Away Technique”
If you know that the price you’re being quoted is high because you’ve followed numbers 1 – 4 and you’re still not happy with the price, then walk away. But make your walk realistic and actually consider not coming back. This technique can work wonders! While you’re walking away the store owner will often call out lower prices the further you get from his store. The only flaw in this technique is if you can’t find the item cheaper anywhere else, then you have to return to the shop and settle for a price (which may be inflated from your original agreement).
6. Try Low-Balling
Always do this with a smile on your face, as it may offend the shop owners. But you might just be surprised. That price you scoped out in step 3 may be way off and you could get closer to the right one by calling out a ridiculously low number.
7. Don’t Be Too Flashy
If you’re going to try to bargain down an extra dollar on a pair of sunglasses, consider leaving your $1200 camera back in your room. You’re not going to get low prices if you look like a rich tourist… guaranteed!
Bargaining is fun and easy once you know the basics. It’s a part of life for the majority of the worlds’ citizens and it can be a great way to meet local families. These 7 tips are aimed towards purchasing things from markets, but they can also be used for hiring taxis, guides and taking tours. The most important thing is to have fun with it. Don’t walk through a market with your head down and say there’s too much “hassle”. Engage in the culture and buy something. Who knows, you might even make some friends along the way.
What other tips would you suggest to get better at bargaining? Let us know in the comments all your tips and tricks!
This article was originally published on Art of Adventuring, then moved to WW in February 2017.