How to Haggle Overseas

Haggling is still a way of life in many counties around the world. If you are new the to concept outside of purchasing a car or going to the local swap-meet and want to be prepared for the lively and sometimes overwhelming wild west of open markets you will confront abroad, have a look at the tips below.

1. Don’t get visibly excited. When you find something you like, get a solid poker face on and be ready to bluff your way to a good price. If your face lights up and give off the “Oh my god this is perfect” vibe, you will likely get an even higher markup from the vendor, as they know you really want the item.

2. Decide how much its worth to you. How much are you willing to spend on the item? If you don’t set a limit in your mind, the item may remind you of the high price you paid as opposed to the cultural memento it should remind you of.

3. Allow the vendor to give you a price. I typically cut that price by 1/3 to 1/2 of the asking price and work my way up from there. This cannot be a set rule as all counties and vendors are different. It typically depends on how much im willing to spend.

4. If you are not happy with the price, feel free to start walking away.  Often, they will bring the price down further. If not, you may have brought them down as low as they’ll go. There is no shame in walking right back to the vendor to make your purchase. The vendor has their tactics and we have ours.

More often than not, there is another store or market vendor near the one you are at which is selling a similar or the same item you are bargaining for. If you cant get the price you want, take a second to look around and compare prices. Its one of the greatest powers you have over the vendors.

Haggling is not about being a hard ass. It works for some, but I don’t recommend it. You are going to want to do haggle with a smile and try to connect with the vendor. This should be a fun experience. Maybe even learn how to say clever statements like, “you’re breaking my heart” in the native language. The vendor will likely get a kick out of it and laugh. If the vendor likes you, they will give you a better price than the person who says something like, “F%&$ that, ill give you $6”. The vendor would rather have fun at work, just like you when you’re at work. You don’t necessarily have to try to be their buddy, but try to be nice.

Also, if you are serious about your markets and want to make sure you are able to get the best price, leave the nice watch (which you shouldnt bring traveling with anyway) and designer clothes behind. If you reek of the big bucks, that’s what you’ll end up paying.

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Should you quit your job to travel, take a leave of absence, or a short vacation?

I personally decided to quit my job, but maybe that is too harsh of a step for you. I devised some questions to help in the decision making process. I hope they will give you a new angle with your decision to travel long term or short. Some of the questions may not apply to your situation, but for those that do, it’s important to think carefully and be honest with yourself:

  • Is my current work environment something I want to return to? Is my current job my passion, or just “a job”?
  • Am I traveling to feel completely free with no deadlines or obligations to return to? Will I feel fulfilled throughout my trip if I have an exact return date on my mind?
  • Define your priorities. Not to take this post into a dark place, but if you were about to take your last breath on earth, which decision would likely make you happier in the end?
  • Have I saved enough money to allow myself to travel for as long I feel its necessary to reach my travel goals?
  • Am I ok living on a decreased budget in order to travel for an extended period of time?
  • How willing am I to give up the comfort and security of my job?
  • Is traveling a life goal?
  • Am I timing this trip properly? Looking forward, is this the best and most reasonable time for me to travel for an extended period of time?
  • Is the pain of keeping my job and living my current life worse than the pain of seeing it all in the rearview mirror as I leave to travel the world?
  • Is there anything that would persuade me to keep my job? More money? A promotion?
  • Do I care about the opinions of my friends and family if they think I’m making a big mistake by quitting my job to travel?
  • What am I looking to get out of my travels? Educationally? Experientially? Socially?

     

If there are additional questions you feel should be on the list, please comment or message me.

Thanks for reading!