Barter Abroad Like A Pro
Updated: Jul 20
Negotiation is a part of everyday life in most countries. That means every transaction — and we mean EVERY transaction — is negotiated. Groceries, clothes, cab fare, and even restaurant bills are always up for discussion.
On the other hand, for most Americans, negotiating is awkward, uncomfortable, and rarely used unless you're on a car lot. We aren't used to it and we don't know the rules of the game. If you're planning a trip to a foreign country, odds are you will be given an opportunity to use negotiation skills. Here are a few rules to know for haggling like a pro when in a foreign market.
Rule #1 – Shoot for 50-70% off — And whatever you do, don’t accept less than 30% off.
Rule #2 – Say “TOO HIGH” — Don’t even start negotiating until the salesman has scratched through the initial price and lowered it at least twice. Sometimes even staring in silence at the pad of paper for a long time can result in the vendor cutting the price.
Rule #3 – Don't be a pushover — Keep in mind that sellers in some foreign markets will act offended at a low offer as a tactic to raise your bid. Feeling that you may have insulted someone may incline you to pay more as a peace offering. Just keep in mind that vendors are salespeople and they know what they're doing.
Rule #4 – The true price of any item is what you pay — There are no suggested retail prices in foreign markets. Nothing is labeled, so it pays to talk with several vendors before making a significant purchase.
Rule #5 - Feel free to walk away — Keep in mind, at no point are you obligated to buy anything, although you may feel that way during some negotiations.
Next time you're in a foreign market, don't be afraid to haggle. With these rules, you'll be able to bring home some great souvenirs without breaking the bank.