9 Travel Tips for Negotiating Prices
This article will give you some simple travel tips to help you buy like a local. If you live in certain parts of Europe, you may not experience price variation; prices are generally fixed in stores, including travel agencies. This is not the case everywhere in the world. In some countries negotiating travel prices is much more than a means of saving money; it is a must.
As a guest/tourist, you will also need to buy certain objects, either for souvenir or for the love of shopping. Be careful, you can be tricked to pay $100 for a $10 item. In many countries, it is even a strong cultural tradition that children learn from early age. These people find it normal to take advantages of tourists by overpricing them.
These are not travel tips in term general, but specific negotiation tips to help you have a better idea of the culture of the country you are visiting, and reduce your risk of becoming their victim.
Here are the 9 travel tips you need to buy in any foreign country like a local
- Don’t be eager to buy
You stroll in a local market in India and suddenly you come across something you like or a dream gift for that special loved one? Do not stop right away showing enthusiast that you want to buy it at all cost. Instead, just throw in a distracted eye and continue on your way. If an Indian seller sees that you want his product too much, you’re screwed! Begin by going around the market, another to have an idea of the tariffs in a general way, before asking for price and making an offer.
- Set a maximum buying price
The second in the 9 travel tips is learning how to control your emotion. Let’s say the object you see is a bracelet. Whether for a simple bracelet or a more important object, set a maximum price before beginning the negotiation. What price are you willing to pay, and what is the fair price of the item according to you? Obviously, the principle of negotiation is that prices are variable, but only you can decide whether this little bracelet is worth opening the purse or not or pay the asking price, which is always higher than what the product is really worth.
- Never make an offer first
Let’s say after looking around or assessing the bracelet you decide to purchase it. The seller has spotted your interest in buying or making an offer, and asks you what your price? Do not answer, at the risk of giving a price higher than the one he expects. Let him speak and give you his price, then divide it by two or three. From there, negotiation can begin until you end up paying the right cost for the bracelet. Of course if you find the asking is fair you can just pay it.
- Never say “Oh yes, it’s cheap!”
One USD can be worth over one hundred in certain countries. Do not make the mistake saying an item is cheap because you are quoted in US dollar. One of the most important things to remember about the art of negotiation is that it is also a social exchange. Always respect the seller and the cost of living locally. What can be cheap for us, Westerners, can be very expensive for the locals. And, what you can possibly negotiate since you have already claimed the price is cheap to the seller?
- Better to say “wow, it’s expensive!”
The idea here is not to lie or taking advantage of the seller by saying a good item at low price is expensive. This must be fair statement in case a seller is tricking you to pay higher for a common product not worth the asking price. That is, you need to be careful not to get the seller upset on the pretext that his price is really high if it is not. Hence the importance of going around as mentioned in our point 1 in order to get an idea of the local prices. Having an idea about the local market will put you in a better position to talk to the seller. He will then understand that you have some knowledge about the local market and thus avoid trying to take advantages of you.
- Avoid frustration and anger
Do your best to stay courteous and calm; frustration and anger will not help. Negotiation must remain a friendly game, something enjoyable. In fact, why not enjoy it? It will help you better understand the culture of the country. Always keep a smile on your face even when the seller would do the opposite. If you cannot agree on a price and you do not hold on to the item in question, thank the seller and just go your way. Negotiating is a tradition in many countries, which has two parties, thus two objectives. For tourists, it is often a matter of saving a few dollars, but for the locals, this may represent a larger sum. Think about it this way so you can understand the sellers. Most of them when they see a tourist they see a lifetime opportunity.
- Learn some words about the local language
Even if you have a guide with you it is better for you to know a few words in the local language. In general, knowing “hello”, “thank you”, “how much?”, “how are you”, “I love/hate you” in the language of the country host can greatly have a positive impact on your interactions with the people. This only can improve your relation with the locals. The latter appreciate that some effort is made to learn a few words in their language; it is a mark of interest that will make the negotiation more sympathetic.
- Be emphatic
You don’t reach an agreement on the price; you are ready to pay $10 for the object, but the seller wants $13 and he is not willing to go lower. Change the subject for a while and move on. Get to know the seller by asking him about his family, where he lives, talk to him about you. The goal is to build a kind of mini-relationship so that the seller no longer sees you as a tourist, but as someone friendly. And this often leads to an agreement and sometimes friendship. It’s scientifically proven. And if it does not work, make jokes! One last tip is to shake the seller’s hand by repeating your price; all with a big smile… Try it; It works!
- It is not over yet
Despite all this, you have not won, your salesperson will not let go. If you are sure of yourself and the price you have set for the coveted object you have one more thing to try: leave! Tell the salesperson that his price seems really too high and that you cannot put more than X $ on it. He will see in this way that you do not just trade for fun but that you have definitely set a maximum budget. Then thank him and leave confidently.
At this point of time you have basically done everything you can and nothing work. But it is not over yet: do not go too fast or the seller may not catch you or find you in the crowd. Do not drag too much either cause you may look bad. If your price was reasonable, the seller will eventually call you back to give you his agreement. You have won!
- Seal the chord
Once you have agreed on a price, shake hands with the seller and make your exchange. Do not rejoice too much or show your emotions too much at this time, it is only a commercial transaction after all. If you got the price you wanted, it is okay to show your appreciation but not too much excitement. This could be badly perceived. And if you paid more than what you had set, do not give the look of a bad loser or keep complaining during the transition: after all, nobody forced you to do business.
You now know all the travel tips and tricks to become a negotiating expert during your travels. But beware, bargaining can quickly become addictive! Hesitating at first, you will quickly get to taste and end up wanting to negotiate anything and everything. Enjoy as long as you are on vacation, as negotiating in a supermarket or a French taxi can make you look bad and cheap.