Bartering. It can be daunting for some but learning to embrace it can lead to amazing experiences. Here are some of my tips to ease you into the art of bartering…
1. Begin with a price in mind
Decide on how much is the most you want to pay for the item. It’s important to go into the exchange knowing what you are happy spending, otherwise, you may end up paying too much.
It’s okay if your max price just happens to be the same price as what the seller names first. You should still try to barter a little!
In countries where this is common, the seller isn’t actually expecting you to pay the first price so even if you only manage to knock off a small number, it’s a win-win!
2. Build rapport with the seller
This isn’t 100% important but it can sometimes make a big difference. Joking and being friendly with the seller can urge them to give you a better price.
When you ask their price, a safe bet is usually to halve what they ask and continue to barter the difference from this point.
Remember your desired price, if their asking price is more than double yours, don’t panic! You can offer as low as you want. Always remember to give yourself wiggle room, the barter is likely to go back and forth at least 3 or 4 times.
3. Quote competitor’s prices
Feel free to make up a reasonable price for which you can get the same item “down the road”.
Sellers are always keen to match their competitor’s prices and if it really is too low, they don’t have to accept the offer.
This is great at markets where many different vendors are selling the exact same thing, because if one says no you can move on and try at another.
Just remember if the sellers continuously laugh at your lowball offer, there is a chance that what you are offering really is too low.
4. Stick to your guns
Don’t get discouraged if they laugh at your price, this is often just them guilting you into a higher price.
Sellers use the trick of asking how much you paid for an item you have already purchased. They use this to suss out how hard of a barterer you are. Tell them a slightly lower price than you actually paid to let them know, you mean business!
If they refuse to take your price, walk away. You should be able to find the exact same product somewhere else almost immediately and if you can’t, you can always go back and pay their price.
5. Have fun with it!
If they continue to ask you for “just one dollar more” come up with a witty reply about why you can’t give them the last dollar. As long as it’s not offensive they will usually laugh along with you.
Not only is bartering an amazing way to interact with locals, but good bartering skills can also come in handy all over the world. In some countries such as Peru, you can barter for quite literally everything, even bus fares.
This can save you a lot of money whilst travelling and who doesn’t like that!
Frequently Asked Questions about Bartering
How do you ask someone to barter?
If you are travelling in a country where bartering is common, ask what the price of an item is first. Offer a lower price than asked and then go back and forward with the seller until you agree.
How do you haggle nicely in Asia?
As long as you are being respectful of the seller, their culture and not insulting their craft by implying it’s worthless (if buying a handmade object), haggling is expected in most of Asia so it is not seen as being mean.
Is bargaining disrespectful?
Bargaining in countries where it is common is not seen as disrespectful as it is a part of their culture.
Hotels.com - Another great place to find a hotel with specific requirements for your trip.
Agoda - Best for booking hotels in Asia. Has options worldwide however in Asia it seems to have the most options of all the booking sites.
Hostelworld - Perfect for backpackers, Hostelworld is my go-to to find dorm rooms and cheap, social accommodation options.
Discover Car Hire - Another option to compare rental car companies and providers worldwide.
Sixt - Previously “Thrifty” car rentals.
Europcar - Offers car and van hire around the world.
AutoEurope - Best place to find RV’s to rent for your trip.
Paul Camper - Rent campervans directly from their owners at reduced prices.
Viator - Preferred by US providers so sometimes has a bigger range of activities in select locations.
Klook - Most popular in Asia, you will find a bigger range of attractions and tours in the region of Asia on Klook.
Civitatis - Specializing in European Cities. Although it provides tours worldwide, always check here for additional options if visiting Europe.
HeadOut - Best place to find discounted attraction tickets.
Tiqets - Offers a lot of combo tickets. Make sure to visit if you are planning on visiting a few iconic attractions within a city.
Tripaneer - Where to go if you want to book retreats of any kind (yoga, cycling, outdoors etc).
Guru Walks - Book your spot on a free walking tour.
G Adventure - Lets you compare multi day tours around the world to pick the right itinerary for you.
Cruise Critic - Check out the different cruise options for long or short trips world wide.
Cruise Direct - Another option for comparing and booking cruises for your trip.
Helly Hanson - Norwegian based clothing brand which produces durable outdoor clothing, particularly ski gear.
The North Face - High quality clothing for all your outdoor adventure needs.
Decathlon - Has a great range of cheap equipment and clothing for a huge range of sports and outdoor activities.
Sport Chek - Everything you need for general sports and outdoor adventures under one roof (or website).
Kiwi - Best platform for comparing different routes and dates.
Flixbus - Cheapest bus service mostly serving Europe but available in a few other destinations.
Greyhound - US long distance bus transport service.
Busbud - Compare and find all the bus times and providers for your chosen route.
Trainline - Find train times and tickets for long distance travel around the world.
Save a train - Another place to get train tickets and compare services for your destination.
Welcome Pickups - Pre book your airport transfer to your hotel.
Get Transfer - Another option to find airport transfers within your destination city.
Kiwi Taxi - Find and pre-book a taxi service in your location (including airport transfers).
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