Travel Shopping Tips

In third world countries, bargaining plays an important part in most shopping instances. It is a common daily experience in those couuntries. To get an excellent (or even fair) price of what you intend to buy, you will need to have good bargaining skills.

Here is a brief guideline that you may find handy.

  1. Research in advance the value of the item that you intend to buy. Ask knowledgeable fellow travellers or the local people. Find out what materials the item is made from and how much time is involved in the manufacture, and from this, roughly estimate the labour and material costs.
  2. Check out the asking price of the same or similar items at other stalls or shops.
  3. Make multiple visits to the same shop. Spread out your visits, say over several days, and casually ask the price of the same item in each visit before seriously trying to purchase it.
  4. While bargaining, smile and maintain a friendly demeanor. Treat it as a game. Just keep asking politely if they can lower the price.
  5. Make sure that the seller’s understanding of the agreed price (or currency concept) is the same as yours. For example, if the agreed price is 2 currency units, make sure that it really means the 2 currency units according to your understanding, and not 20. You might need to write it out, type it on a calculator or show the 2 units of paper money to get the seller’s confirmation.
  6. If you suspect the seller is really trying to rip you off, just say something like “I’m sorry, but I can’t pay that much. Thanks for your time” and walk away.

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