Markets can be one of the best places to buy souvenirs during your time abroad. While some items may have a fixed price, many of these markets operate on a bargaining system, where you and the vendor have to decide on what an item is worth. While vendors can be honest with their prices, others perceive tourists as wealthy and naïve, and may persuade you to pay more than you should. It can feel frustrating to feel cheated, especially when you hear of your friends buying the same item for a cheaper price. But with keeping some tips in mind, anyone can become a successful market bargainer.
1. Take a look around the entire market before buying something you want.
Many items are not unique to one single vendor. If you see something you want, check to see if other places are selling the same thing. This will help you better understand you selection, as well as compare prices.
2. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the vendor’s initially stated price.
Have a general idea of what you are willing to pay for the item. If the vendor gives you a price that higher than you expect, don’t be afraid to offer half of the stated amount. This will signal to the vendor that you are not a naïve tourist; you are aware of the bargaining system. Often, the vendor may offer a price that is the average between the initially stated price and your offer, which may be satisfactory to you.
3. If you are dissatisfied with the price, or the vendor is unwilling to negotiate, walk away.
Walking away from a vendor gives them added pressure to negotiate. More often than not, the vendor will cave in and give you the price you ask for. If they do not follow you, you are better off bargaining with another vendor—and get the price you want.