For many of us, the only real-life experience we’ve had haggling is buying a used car, so

when we travel abroad and need to negotiate prices in the local market it can really freak us

out. Don’t worry fellow amigos! The art of haggling is a skill you can learn and master before

your next trip with a few simple tactics you can negotiate so you A) won’t feel like a fool and

B) won’t get ripped off.


Paying a sticker price, adding tax, using a credit card or a self-swipe checkout station is

unheard of in many parts of the world where the everyday practice is all about the art of

haggling prices on transport, food and general goods. Not only is haggling an essential travel

skill you can use while on tour but it is also an important part of social respect and cultural

interaction. You’ll be able to use your ace haggling skills in street markets and outdoor stalls,

local shops and independent marketplaces


The Goal of Haggling

If you don’t haggle you are paying too much and losing money. The aim is to make the final

price fair for you and the merchant so you can walk away feeling satisfied and the retailer

can make enough money to support his or her business.


Know The Exchange Rate

This is the first rule of haggling. If you are negotiating and have no idea that you’re avoiding

a purchase over the equivalent of $1 then you are in trouble before you started.


Haggling: Round One

The list price or initial quote is where negotiations start. Don’t accept this. If you do then

you’re naively announcing that you’re a rookie foreigner. If you already have an idea of the

market price of a product or service then you should compare it to the initial offer. The local

merchant will recognise that you are prepared to barter. If you don’t have an idea of the

item’s value then take a few moments to shop around other vendors and see what the xxx It

is unlikely that this will be the only stall in the village selling that one item.


Haggling: Round Two

Now that you have an idea of the market price and counter with a price well under what you

are willing to pay. Prepare yourself for the vendor to ‘appear’ to be offended. Don’t freak out,

this is all part of the haggling process that happens across the world millions of times a day.


Haggling: Round Three

The vendor will counter with a higher price. At this point increase your original bid to the

actual price you had in mind. Your goal is to get a reasonable price.

If the vendor stalls negotiations and refuses your offer then act frustrated, throw up your

hands and walk away. There are hundreds of vendors in the market and many selling the

exact item you want so the possibility of completely losing a transaction to the competing

stall next door will often have the vendor beckoning your bartering skills back with the offer of

a lowered price. Now you’re back in the game!


Name The Competition

Use this tried-and-true haggling technique of mentioning the competition’s price and show

that you are willing to take your business elsewhere. Combine with the ‘walk away’ and see

what kind of negotiation ensues.


Make The Purchase

By this point, you’ve bartered your bum off and it’s time to close the deal. Exchange your

money for the goods and there you have it. You’ve haggled like a pro.


Tour Amigo’s Hot Tips & Strategies For Haggling

 Don’t go buy an item from the first shop. Instead, browse other sellers to compare

 Keep in mind the product’s market value and availability.

 Decide your absolute price limit before negotiating.

 Maintain a poker face during negotiations and try to remain calm otherwise, the

merchant will know how badly you want the item and keep the price high.

 Closely examine and assess the item you want to purchase. This shows the

merchant you are a serious customer and you know what you are looking for.

 If there is an imperfection on the product be sure to point out that scratch or dent.

You now have a bargaining tool to get a deal on the “defective” product.

 If your negotiation is stuck then say you’ll agree on the price as long as something

else is included and see what added extra is thrown in.


What are your personal experiences of haggling while abroad? Let us know.