Tips for Bargaining While Shopping Abroad

Tips for Bargaining While Shopping Abroad

Posted September 12, 2016

On your travels, especially in countries such as Morocco, Egypt, India, and Nepal, among other developing nations, you’ll find local markets, bazaars, and roadside vendors where bargaining is not only expected, it’s a tradition.  So that you don’t miss an opportunity to participate in this age-old practice, we offer the following tips for a successful exchange.

Please note that bargaining will not be expected everywhere; many retail shops in these countries have fixed prices. 

Know the Fair Price

First, do not buy anything without knowing the fair price of an item of significant value such as leather goods, jewelry, and artwork.  You can find this out by looking in stores or by asking your tour director or hotel staff.  This will enable you to bargain fairly and effectively. 

Don’t Seem Too Interested

When you walk into a vendor’s stall or market, look at everything.  Don’t hone in on one item or openly announce you want something.  Shop owners are strong people-readers; if you give the impression that you must have the item, they will ask for a higher price. 

Start Low

In general, your opening offer should be about half of the price the vendor first states – the seller may scoff at it, but that response is normal and all part of the routine.  Continue to bargain.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Buy

Sometimes the shop owner will strike up a friendly conversation and offer tea.  Many travelers find that they feel bad taking up so much of the shop owner’s time and feel pressured to buy something in return.  But this exchange is common practice, so even if you accept the tea and continue to bargain but don’t reach the price you had in mind, it is okay to walk away.

Take it Seriously

Once you and the merchant agree on a price, you should complete the transaction and purchase the item.  If you are not serious about making the purchase, don’t bargain at all.

If you follow these tips, you will feel more comfortable when bargaining at some of the unique markets and bazaars around the world.

You can put these tips into practice on day 11 of our "Moroccan Discovery" small group tour: http://bit.ly/2ckgdOC