I know a lot of people who love to shop when they travel (ahem, Natalie DiScala), especially at local markets where you can usually find authentic crafts and gifts. When you go to markets like these, it’s always wise to try bartering, since sellers often jack up their prices for tourists. In fact, in some places, it’s actually expected that you barter. In some destinations, it’s even seen as a game.
There are tips and tricks that a good local guide will tell you, but if you don’t hire a guide, you should make sure to do your research in advance. To help, the New York Times just published a story on Sunday called “How to Get a Deal at Local Markets.” Their tips include venturing off the beaten path to find the best markets and negotiating a price that’s 30% lower than what the vendor initially quotes.
My key to bargaining, no matter where I am, is to be friendly, smile and go really low to start. For example, I was told once in Marrakech that if the starting price is 100, I should offer 30 and settle somewhere between 40 and 60. You have to be prepared to walk away and let the vendor know it. Usually, after a few steps, the seller will come get you, and meet your price. (If they agree to your price, it’s rude not to complete the purchase, so don’t bluff.)
What’s your advice on haggling at local markets?
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