How to haggle like a pro

Looking to pick up a few souvenirs when you’re overseas, but not sure how to get the best price? These haggling tips are a sure fire way to make sure you can an absolute bargain every time.

1. Wait a minute before asking about the price

Take your time to browse the shelves and let the vendor come to you. They’ll usually open with an offer of a “very good price” or “special prince”. Once they’ve told you their price play it cool before jumping into negotiations. Let them know you’re interested, but don’t let on just how keen you are. The more you play hard to get,
the more likely you are to get a good deal.

2. Stay calm

Take the idea of playing hard to get one step further if you really want to drive the price down. Put the item you’re looking at back on the shelf, walk away and then come back to it after a minute. If they’re still not giving you the price you want start walking out the door – you’ll be surprised at how quickly the price starts to plummet.

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3. Learn the local lingo

Having a few phrases from the local language up your sleeve will go a long way. Avoid “umming” or “ahhing” and use the local numbers when talking about the price. This will let the vendors know that at least know a little about the local money and how much things should be worth. Avoid questions like “How about X amount?” and use phrases like “I’ll give you X amount” instead.

4. Do some research

Think about what you want your final price to be and start haggling well below that price – this way you can work your way up with the vendor. If you know any locals be sure to ask them what they would pay for the item as locals usually get a cheaper price. Know that you won’t get the same price, but you can at least work to something close to that.

5. Keep your cash hidden

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If you’ve brought a stack of cash to go shopping with make sure you keep it out of view when you’re bartering with vendors. If they see you’ve got a nice fat wad of money with you they’re less likely to feel inclined to give you a good deal. Don’t be afraid to turn you back to them when you’re getting your money out – it happens all the time and won’t be considered rude.

6. Use the ‘nod and shake’ technique

Pro hagglers will use this little trick to seal the final deal. Wait until you’ve reached your final offer and then nod and stick out your and for a deal-sealing handshake. Works like a charm!

7. Be kind

While haggling is great fun and all part of the shopping experience when overseas, don’t forget that shop owners in many market stalls don’t make too much profit and rely on their sales to put dinner on the table. Feel free to drive a hard bargain if you’re dealing with a big vendor, but play fair with smaller shop owners. Many of them love the fun of haggling with their customers and they’ll usually give you a fair price in the end anyway.

Do you haggle when you go overseas? What’s your favourite thing you’ve bought on holiday?