7 Tips To Make You Better At Bargaining

bargaining 7 tips

When travelling around the world you really have to get into the habit of bargaining for everything. These 7 simple tips will help you buy stuff cheaper, faster and easier! The cost of taxi rides, meals, clothing, hotel rooms and tours are almost always up for debate. But bargaining is not always easy! You should know the basics before you go out and start heckling with a shop owner over the cost of a T-shirt.

Here are 7 tips that are sure to make you a better bargainer.

Dariece Bargaining For Shoes In Turkey

Dariece Bargaining For Shoes In Turkey

1. Smile, Be Polite And Keep The Transaction Light-Hearted.

This is extremely important. The art of bargaining is ingrained in cultures around the world, so much so that etiquette has become a huge part of the art form. You should always smile, make jokes and keep the situation light. If your bartering exchange becomes heated, smile and walk away. There is no amount of savings worth upsetting you and your seller.

Always Smile And Be Polite

Always Smile And Be Polite

2. Know How Much You Are Willing To Pay BEFORE You Start Bargaining.

This rule is key. If you have your eye on an item, know exactly what your limit is before you engage the seller in a bargaining exchange. There is nothing worse than coming to an agreement on a transaction and then backing out or trying to get it even cheaper. There is an unspoken law about this sort of thing. If you say you’ll buy it for a certain price, then be willing to do so. This one takes a bit of getting used to and you may make a mistake or two, but learn from those mistakes and try not to give false promises while bargaining.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

Know How Much You’re Willing To Spend

3. Know Your Product, Its Worth And Its Level Of Competition In The Area.

Ever notice how there are hundreds of shops in the same area selling the exact same stuff? Keep this in mind while you’re bargaining. Shop around and get an idea of how low different shops are willing to go. Once you have a baseline, try to drive the price down a little bit further because you can be sure that the price for you is quite a bit higher than it would be for locals.

There Are Plenty Of Options In Markets Like This!

There Are Plenty Of Options In Markets Like This!

4. Never Bargain The Price Down So Low That Nobody Is Happy.

A good transaction is only a good transaction if everyone involved leaves happy. We’ve been guilty of bargaining too low in the past.

“Not all shop owners are out to rip you off.”

Some of them will actually sell you an item below cost because they need the money just to make rent. Be aware of these possibilities, look at the standards in which the seller lives and decide upon a price that is fair for both parties.
That doesn’t mean you have to pay an inflated tourist price, it just means that you don’t need to bargain a guy down to pennies. Those pennies can buy his family bread, while you probably wouldn’t notice if you dropped them in his store. Bargaining isn’t about bragging to your friends that you got a lower price than them. It’s about coming to an agreement on a price that is fair.

A Good Transaction Is One Where Everyone's Happy

A Good Transaction Is One Where Everyone’s Happy

5. Employ The “Walk Away Technique”.

If you know that the price you’re being quoted is high because you’ve followed numbers 1 – 4 and you’re still not happy with the price, then walk away. But make your walk realistic and actually consider not coming back. This technique can work wonders! While you’re walking away the store owner will often call out lower prices the further you get from his store. The only flaw in this technique is if you can’t find the item cheaper anywhere else, then you have to return to the shop and settle for a price (which may be inflated from your original agreement).

It's Hard To Walk Away From A Mobile Shop Owner!

It’s Hard To Walk Away From A Mobile Shop Owner!

6. Try Low-Balling.

Always do this with a smile on your face, as it may offend the shop owners. But you might just be surprised. That price you scoped out in step 3 may be way off and you could get closer to the right one by calling out a ridiculously low number.

7. Don’t Be Too Flashy.

>If you’re going to try to bargain down an extra dollar on a pair of sunglasses, consider leaving your $1200 camera back in your room. You’re not going to get low prices if you look like a rich tourist… guaranteed!

Bargaining Is Fun!

Bargaining Is Fun!

Bargaining is fun and easy once you know the basics. It’s a part of life for the majority of the worlds’ citizens and it can be a great way to meet local families. These 7 tips are aimed towards purchasing things from markets, but they can also be used for hiring taxis, guides and taking tours. The most important thing is to have fun with it. Don’t walk through a market with your head down and say there’s too much “hassle”. Engage in the culture and buy something. Who knows, you might even make some friends along the way.

  • http://twitter.com/redhunttravel Red Hunt

    The walk away and the smiles are great tips.
    Whenever I know I will have to bargain for something, I determine what I want to pay ahead of time then split up my money. So maybe I’ll have $8 in one pocket and $5 in another. Then I can say “hey…ALL I have is $5!” it tends to work well in saving that extra dollar or two.

    • GoatsOnTheRoad

      Oh great tip! I forgot to add that one but we’ve definitely used it. It’s funny the things we do to save a buck or two!

    • Bigfoot In Aggieland

      Excellent tip. I always split the money ( for safety reasons as well ).

  • http://twitter.com/redhunttravel Red Hunt

    The walk away and the smiles are great tips.
    Whenever I know I will have to bargain for something, I determine what I want to pay ahead of time then split up my money. So maybe I’ll have $8 in one pocket and $5 in another. Then I can say “hey…ALL I have is $5!” it tends to work well in saving that extra dollar or two.

    • GoatsOnTheRoad

      Oh great tip! I forgot to add that one but we’ve definitely used it. It’s funny the things we do to save a buck or two!

    • Bigfoot In Aggieland

      Excellent tip. I always split the money ( for safety reasons as well ).

  • Calculated Traveller

    I totally agree with the comment about Point 4. On a cruise port in Mumbai I saw people disembark off the luxurious cruise ship and then promptly go and barter with a porter to carry their bags. The listed price was equivalent $1.50 US/bag which in my eyes is totally reasonable. The porters had been waiting there all night (the ship docked the day prior).

  • Calculated Traveller

    I totally agree with the comment about Point 4. On a cruise port in Mumbai I saw people disembark off the luxurious cruise ship and then promptly go and barter with a porter to carry their bags. The listed price was equivalent $1.50 US/bag which in my eyes is totally reasonable. The porters had been waiting there all night (the ship docked the day prior).

  • Brett Domue

    I’ve taken advantage of the calculator to show the price technique the vendors use. After they type in their first price, assuming it has the button, I just hit the backspace button to remove the last zero. And then the fun begins! The walkaway is my favorite tactic. You have your price in mind. Start to walk away. If they let you go with no fuss, you won’t win, keep walking. If they try to convince you still after you turn to walk away…your price is guaranteed!

  • Brett Domue

    I’ve taken advantage of the calculator to show the price technique the vendors use. After they type in their first price, assuming it has the button, I just hit the backspace button to remove the last zero. And then the fun begins! The walkaway is my favorite tactic. You have your price in mind. Start to walk away. If they let you go with no fuss, you won’t win, keep walking. If they try to convince you still after you turn to walk away…your price is guaranteed!

  • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

    My favorite tip is “Smile, Be Polite And Keep The Transaction Light-Hearted.” So often I’ve seen travelers get really upset trying to bargain a few cents and walk away angry.

  • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

    My favorite tip is “Smile, Be Polite And Keep The Transaction Light-Hearted.” So often I’ve seen travelers get really upset trying to bargain a few cents and walk away angry.

  • http://travelingreporter.com/ Traveling Reporter

    Great advice. I’ve always sucked at bargaining.

  • http://travelingreporter.com/ Traveling Reporter

    Great advice. I’ve always sucked at bargaining.

  • Adam Poskitt

    Bargaining when you have no idea of the real price of something and you really need or want it is tough. Of course you would be willing to pay a lot if you had to (like hiring a songthaew somewhere) but you still want the best price possible. In that case, the seller usually gets nowhere near the price you’re willing to pay — it’s just a matter of getting as close to their lowest price. It’s a tough game because you often don’t know where to start when in a new country.

    Btw, there are 7 tips, not 5.

  • Adam Poskitt

    Bargaining when you have no idea of the real price of something and you really need or want it is tough. Of course you would be willing to pay a lot if you had to (like hiring a songthaew somewhere) but you still want the best price possible. In that case, the seller usually gets nowhere near the price you’re willing to pay — it’s just a matter of getting as close to their lowest price. It’s a tough game because you often don’t know where to start when in a new country.

    Btw, there are 7 tips, not 5.