Haggling is half the fun of travelling in south east Asia, but it’s a difficult skill to master!
The key is to make it an enjoyable experience for both parties, while also securing yourself a good deal. Here are our tips to haggling like a pro when you’re overseas:
1. Do you research first
It’s hard to haggle if you don’t know the going rate, so do do your research before committing to buy. Shop around, chat with locals, ask other travellers, read the travel guides… the more info the better!
2. Establish your limit
How much are your willing to pay? Establish that firmly in your mind before you start haggling.
3. Smile, smile, smile
Building rapport with the salesperson is half the battle. Start a conversation about the weather, the product itself, or how much you love their county – anything to get the convo flowing.
And always, always haggle with a smile. Have fun with it, be polite and respectful. You’d be amazed at how far a smile can go!
4. Bide your time
Don’t ask the price immediately. Consider the product, ask questions about its quality and don’t appear too eager to buy. Mention you’ve been down the road and seen similar products for sale.
5. Remember the secret formula
If they ask for $10, offer them $5. They’ll most likely act horrified and shake their heads in disbelief. But that’s a good place to start. Ask them to give you a good deal and you’ll buy on the spot. If you meet somewhere in the middle, everyone is happy.
6. Don’t be afraid to walk away
Can’t agree on a price? Politely decline and start to walk away. Usually they’ll come running after you to make a better offer!
7. Ask for a group discount
If you’re booking a tour, and there’s more than 2 of you, ask for a group discount. If there isn’t, ask for extras (e.g free hotel pick-up etc) to make it cheaper.
8. Don’t haggle unnecessarily
It’s not worth haggling over a few pennies. Remember these people have a living to make, and what might seem cheap to you, is their livelihood.
Exceptions to the rules above: if you really love something and/or the person selling it is ridiculously cute (happens all the time), pay full price. Or more!