In many parts of the world, haggling is a way of life however this dance can sometimes feel offbeat for Western travelers. If you’ve ever felt a tinge of hesitation towards this two-step, fear not! Here are some tips to help bargain your way through any marketplace like a pro!
LOOK THE PART
The art of haggling starts with your appearance. If you walk through a market looking like a million bucks, chances are you’ll get charged just about the same! Avoid being flashy in your presentation so your bargaining efforts come off sincerely. Added bonus if you learn a few local phrases to meet on as much common ground as possible.
KNOW YOUR PRICE
Before heading up to any vendor, do your research and come up with ideal prices you’re willing to pay for any given item. A great way of doing this is by consulting locals you know, observing other shops to see where the average asking prices fall as well as browsing through other travelers’ comments & confessionals online. Having rough placeholders in mind prevents you from getting flustered during rounds of negotiation and keeps you in the vicinity of your budget.
THINK LIKE A LOCAL
A common mistake that often derails any haggling power is thinking in your home currency. This gives you a false sense of market value when deciding if an item is a good deal. Plus, you’ll be less likely to negotiate a better rate based on the product’s perceived value back home. To truly measure worth, think in the local currency you’re currently in and ask yourself, “Would a local purchase this item at this rate?” If your gut says no, chances are you shouldn’t either. Keep the following quote in mind to maintain perspective: “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!”
HALF ON A BABY
While haggling, a sound tactic is to cut prices in half. In my experience, the actual retail value typically lies around 75% of the asking price. Lowering to half will not only give you more wiggle room to negotiate with your vendor but it’ll also instantly shed some of his/her comfort zone which places both of you on a more even playing field. A sense of humor and lots of smiles are essentials during this process!
A LITTLE NOD AND WAVE
Play hard to get and curb your eagerness. If you’re unhappy with where your negotiation is heading, literally walk away from the deal! After rounds of bargaining, an ethical vendor would rather meet you at/or close to your price than suffer the loss of a customer. Stepping away from the scene calls your vendor’s bluff and indicates you’ve hit your limit. Usually this action will prompt him/her to anxiously bring you back to close the deal on your terms. Cautionary tale, when walking away, you have to be prepared to completely lose everything so decide if the risk is worth it to you.