Haggling. Bartering. Negotiating. Whatever you want to call it, it’s not everyday practice for Aussies to ask shopkeepers for a lower price.
Sure, we might try to get a sneaky discount on big-ticket items such as houses, cars, and whitegoods, but haggling over everyday items isn’t exactly the norm down under. So it’s no surprise that when it comes to haggling in countries where it’s common – or even expected – Aussies can feel a little lost on the dos and don’ts.
We’ve collated some of our favourite advice to help you get your haggle on during your overseas holiday.
1. Don't be afraid
You know what they say: if you don't ask, you don't get. So don't be afraid to ask.
In countries where haggling is acceptable, shopkeepers generally enjoy the banter, seeing it as a fun form of entertainment. So don’t be afraid to engage them in a little friendly negotiation.
Determine what you’re prepared to pay for the item and then confidently offer a lower price. This way, you can work your way up to a price near what you initially had in mind.
2. Be polite and friendly
You'll get further if you're polite and friendly. Aim to be reasonable (keep that win-win scenario in mind as a goal), maintain a smile, and don't let a fun haggle turn into an argument.
3. Aim for a win-win
No one wants to lose when it comes to haggling. You want to win by negotiating a lower price and paying less, and the vendor wants to win by still making a profit.
If you lose (by paying too much), or the vendor loses (by making a loss instead of a profit), then all of the fun has been taken out of the negotiation.
Haggling should leave both parties feeling like winners.
4. Try different tactics
Vendor not budging on the price? Stop thinking money and try a different approach.
Ask them to throw in a few extras or an upgrade so you get a bit more bang for your buck. Again, if you don't ask, you don't get.
5. Be confident
While you should be polite and friendly, not demanding and aggressive, you should also be confident.
Be upfront, clear and decisive. If you're feeling embarrassed and unsure of yourself, the vendor will pick up on that and use it to their advantage. Fake it until you make it!
6. Learn the language of trading
If you're going to be serious about your negotiations, it's worth learning a few key phrases in the local lingo in case the vendor doesn't speak English.
For example, in Spanish speaking countries, a little "Demasiado, precio más bajo por favor" (too much, lower price please) could have you bagging a bargain.
Other helpful phrases you could learn are:
- I can find it cheaper somewhere else
- I'll come back tomorrow / later
- My best offer is [lower than your target price]
- That's too expensive!
- What's the real price, not the tourist price?
Learning the lingo will show the vendor that you mean business.
7. Work as a team
If you're travelling with your partner or friends, you can work together to achieve your haggling goal.
For example, saying to the vendor "I need to ask my husband first" not only gives you a bit of mid-haggle breathing room, but also tells the vendor that you are serious about your negotiation and they may be inclined to wiggle on price a little bit more to keep your business.
8. Know when to walk away
As Kenny Rogers once said, you’ve got to know when to walk away and know when to run.
This is probably the most important tip, and one that can help you avoid getting played. If the vendor refuses to budge on price, it’s time to back out gracefully. Just be polite, make it clear you’re not prepared to pay that price, and walk away.
You never know – as soon as you turn your back, the vendor may have a change of heart…
If haggling really isn't your thing, there are a couple of ways you can grab a bargain on your holiday that don’t involve negotiating:
- Ask locals where they go shopping instead of shopping in the tourist areas
- Ask a local to buy it for you – they may be offered the "local" price instead of the "tourist" price.
Get your haggling money ready for your holiday with help from our FXperts. Head to your local Travel Monday Oz store to check out our foreign currency exchange rates.
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