How To Haggle Like A Pro (Without The Guilt)


Hesitant to try to haggle your way into a better price? Bargaining is a great way to stick to a travel budget and experience local cultures. For travelers who choose markets over malls, haggling is a part of the deal.

If you only remember one tip, remember to start with a number significantly lower than your ideal price. Don’t get in your head. Looking for more tips? Here’s what to keep in mind.

Know when to haggle.

So you’re ready to venture into the wild world of negotiating. Okay. The first step is to figure out if you’re in a bargain-friendly place. Now, most markets and bazaars are ready for haggling, but if you’re unsure, you can put out some feelers.

Once something at a market catches your eye, ask for the price and tell the vendor you’re hesitant about the price. If they knock the cost down a bit, you know they’re ready to haggle.

Ditch the tourist mindset.

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If you come into a vendor’s space all wide-eyed and easily impressed, you’re going to leave having paid at least double what your souvenir actually cost. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk of a cold-blooded bargain hunter.

Here are three things to keep in mind when constructing your badass shopping alter-ego:

  • Be confident. If you’re going to haggle, you can’t do it halfheartedly. Be bold and stay strong. Remember, you hold the power. You can always walk away. If you hesitate, you lose the edge.
  • Be casual. Don’t let sellers know how much you want their product. Even if you find the perfect souvenir, play it cool. Casual interest will help you get a better price than eager excitement.
  • Be flexible. You’re going to run into trouble if you fall in love with items. Sometimes the price won’t suit you, sometimes it won’t work for the vendor. Keep an open mind or be willing to open your wallet.

Have cash (in the local currency).

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Credit cards are for set-price purchases. Make sure you have enough cash with you, in the local currency, to cover your costs. Insider tip: If you show a seller that you only have $20, they’ll be encouraged to bring down their price to match what you’ve got.

It also helps to familiarize yourself with the exchange rate before heading into a market. Know what equals one U.S. dollar, but also do some math to figure out round numbers in local currency. If you can quickly know that 20 Euro is about $25 or that 100 Thai Baht is $3.20, product prices will click in your head more easily — making it easy to know what price you’re willing to accept.

Follow through on your offer.

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Although haggling seems like a game, it’s not. You don’t get to strut away having won the bargain battle, but not buy the item in question. That’s rude. If a vendor accepts your offer, follow through and enjoy your new souvenir.