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Believe it or not, bargaining is an art that many find difficult to master. Yet, this is something which can truly save you hoards of dollars when you are travelling anywhere on earth. Shopkeepers in most countries have turned pros in handling haggling customers and they especially know just where to tickle tourists. Nobody wants to be ripped off in a foreign country or city and you most definitely don’t want to repent your purchase or feel embittered about it at a later time when you find the exact same thing at a cheaper price.

Start thinking like a local and you’ll figure out how to haggle like one wherever you are. Get over your inhibitions/shyness, for most nations around the world allow you to bargain for any darn thing out there as long as they’re not sold in shopping malls and stores- from clothes and jewelry to food and local travel. Here are some master tips on how to bargain while traveling.

Do your Research

Do not commence on your bargaining spree the very first day you reach a place. Instead devote some time to research before your trip by reading blogs and articles about the local shopping scene. Then head on to the local markets to get a rough overview on the things you’d like to buy and how much they cost. Check out the shopping destinations and supermarkets around as well for a more sturdy comparison. If you have built a rapport with a local, do not be shy to ask for bargaining advice, it’ll be the best advice.

Be Dressed for Bargaining

Confused, are you? Well, to look like you cannot pay more than what your highest bid is you need to create the right impression by dressing down right. Do not wear a Louis Vuitton haute couture and stave off from flaunting gold and diamonds. Professional shopkeepers will judge you with their first glance at your attire, guessing that you probably will be ready to pay more.

Keep it Light & Funny

Bargain while traveling does not mean you have to enter into a squabble with the shopkeeper. In fact, pro bargainers know the trick to hammering out a good deal is to make light of the situation by keeping up a smiling face and making the whole transaction process friendly. A smiling face will get you a better discount than a frowning one. So if you are feeling too weary or hungry, it’s probably not the best time to bargain. Go back later when you’re refreshed, full and happy.

Mask Your Desperation

One of the rules to bargain while traveling is to keep up a nonchalant façade. Let th shopkeeper know you are seriously looking to buy but at the same time let it also be known that you are not desperate and will let go if the price is not appropriate. And most importantly, be very clear in your own head about how much you’re willing to pay. If you’re really desperate, then just go ahead and buy it at the price you get, rather than regret not having bought something after you’re back home.

Start Low

It is worthwhile to begin at a price lower than what your highest bid is since it will definitely tend to go up. This is where you’re research knowledge will kick in. Knowing the particular country’s code for bargaining is important so as not to offer a price that seems offensive. For instance, in nations like Thailand and India you can safely start your bid as low as one-fifth or one-fourth of the said price while in places like Marrakech there is no dearth of tourists shelling out more from their pockets, so it becomes that much more difficult to bargain while traveling to these destinations.

Stick to Your Rate and Take the Walk-Away Approach

Shopkeepers know just how to prod customers in accepting their price. But whatever be it, stick to the maximum bid you have decided on and as a final step to non-acceptance, walk away. In most cases this bidding adieu gesture will work and you may be summoned back to strike the deal according to your price or a rate that lies somewhere in between. However, if you are not called do not even attempt to take a look back and never go to the same store again. You will have better chances of getting a better bargain elsewhere.

Finally, once the deal is sealed and a price agreed upon by you and the seller, be happy with your purchase. Refrain from over thinking about whether maybe you could have gotten a better deal. You are now armed and ready to bargain while traveling around the world.


Satarupa is a chatterbox always on the move. While Amritsar is her personal favorite, she aspires to visit any place that can be romantic! A word-monger addicted to all things travel and to the awesome food she gets to lick on each trip.
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