Some travelers feel uncomfortable haggling, but there’s no reason to. Haggling is a cultural tradition in many countries. In some destinations, you may even be seen as ignorant to local custom if you refuse to haggle—it’s what’s expected from locals and foreigners.
Learn how to enjoy the experience using these helpful tips for haggling overseas…
- Speak the local lingo. Even just a friendly greeting will help.
- Start at half the asking price. You’ll likely end up at a final price somewhere in the middle, but best to start low. Remember that if you purchase more than one item from a vendor, you can get a higher discount for buying in bulk.
- Use the competition to your advantage. Tell the vendor you saw the same item down the street for half the price, and they’ll likely lower theirs immediately.
- Don’t buckle under the pressure. Keep your sense of humour, stay respectful, but continue low-ball offers until you meet in the middle. The vendor has done this many times before, he’s used to this back and forth. Don’t get impatient or you’ll get gouged.
- Only bring what you’re willing to pay. Put a certain amount of money in your pocket before entering negotiation (keep the rest in your wallet). Show that you don’t have enough but are not far off the asking price.
- Know that they will only agree to what they want to agree to. Don’t feel as though you are forcing the vendor into losing a profit. They know how much mark-up they need to make a profit. They won’t sell to you unless they are sure they can make their money.
- Walk away. Sometimes you just can’t win. Thank the vendor for his time and walk away. More often than not, they will call you back and give you your last price.
Haggle For More Than Just Goods
- Name your own price. Some hotel and travel sites offer this as a function on their website. Give it a go. Or if you see a better offer advertised on a third party site, call to ask the hotel to match it.
- Wait until nightfall to book. If you can wait until afternoon or evening on the day you are arriving to book a hotel room, do it. Call the hotel directly (don’t use any third party) and negotiate a better rate for rooms that would otherwise be empty that night.
- Ask for the unadvertised rooms. Often hotels in foreign countries have special rooms with many beds set aside for families. These rooms set aside are not advertised like normal rooms, you can ask about them by phone or email.
- Drive rentals back to their home. In certain seasons major international airports accumulate rental cars that belong somewhere else. You might be able to find a car that needs to get to wherever you are headed. If you can, you’ll rent at a discount…or even drive it for free.