Rick Steves (Photo credit: www.ricksteves.com)

I had the pleasure of attending my first travel trade show recently in downtown LA. It was great to run into two of my favorite travel heroes – Johnny Jet and Rick Steves, who literally was my savior living in England and traveling a great deal of Europe alone.

His guide books were my Bible and they helped me uncover incredible apartments in Italy, bed and breakfasts in England, hiking in the Suisse alps, walking tours in Barcelona, Cinque Terre in Italy, Belgium “musts,” a great grand room in Bath, England that my mom, my aunt, and my grandmother and I stayed in together in 2004 and so much more.

I finally got to shake his hand and thank him for all of his resources I devoured each night living in my flat in Leicester, way before there was this magical machine called the iPhone.

Amanda Jones recreates a small space with colorful finds she picked up from around the world. (Photo credit: Amanda Jones)

Another highlight of my afternoon was hearing this long haired blond lady named Amanda Jones speak about travel and style. Like her, I have collected items all over the world, many I have bought for very little money and many still exist in my mother’s attic because I hope someday to decorate more than a one bedroom apartment. What fascinated me is how Amanda Jones decorated her homes so tastefully with pieces from all over the world and listening to her stories of where each item was found.

We all know that travel is not about shopping, but it is nice to learn about the country or region’s unique items and it feels good to bring something meaningful home from a voyage to remind you of that special moment in time.

Here are Amanda Jones’s 10 rules of buying while traveling that she shared during her talk on Saturday:

1. Bargain.

2. Don’t buy right away because there is a good chance you will see it again as you walk around for less.

3. How much is it worth to you? Is it necessary to haggle over that extra dollar. Stop and think how much more than dollar will mean to them versus you.  Who needs the extra buck more?

4. Smile and never get angry. Know when to say NO! Sometimes people or a hired guide can be very pushy and will only take you to certain stalls, like in Morocco for instance.

5. If they don’t want to sell it, don’t insist.

6. Try not to ship. Sometimes it costs more to ship than to actually buy. It is better to pay for the overweight and bring it home.

7. If you hire a local guide, be clear of what you want. Say no thank you if it is out of your price range or not what you want.

8. Research before you go the local specialties. For instance, each hilltown in Italy is known for a specialty item.

9. Use the locals for information or blogs.

10. Make sure you can’t buy it in the USA cheaper. Almost everything nowadays can be bought in America unless it is unique to the village.

Amanda Jones is a travel writer and photographer who was born and educated in New Zealand and resides in the San

Amanda Jones (www.amandajonestravel.com)

Francisco Bay area with her family. Her website is absolutely inspirational. Click here to learn more about Amanda Jones.

Happy Travels! Happy Finds!

Melissa Curtin
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