I recently returned from a nice vacation in Mexico. This was my first time in Mexico. For those of you who are planning to travel internationally, there is a good chance you will encounter various street vendors during your travel. These vendors will sell anything from jewelry to massages to potential gifts for the important people in your life. In highly touristy areas, vendors will often come up to you with the goal of starting a sales process. It is important to negotiate down prices so you don’t overpay for everything on your trip. This will save you lots of money. Below are 6 techniques I use to save money when haggling while abroad.
#1 Understand you are not obligated to buy anything
Often times there is pressure for us to purchase something after talking to someone or after asking for the price of a particular product. This needs to go away. You have zero requirements to do so. It’s ok to browse and ask about multiple products. This may make the seller push harder to make a sale, but don’t buy something if you don’t want it.
#2 State a price below what you are willing to pay
Mark-ups vary from country to country, but generally there is at least a 25% discount you can get pretty easily. If something costs $40 I would try starting at $25 and see where you can go from there. Any sell over what the seller paid for the product/service is a profit for the seller.
#3 Limit your words
Keep your mouth shut. Psychologically speaking if you don’t talk, the other person (in this case selling) is more likely to talk to fill in the space. The more they talk the more likely they will lower the price in order to complete a sale. This is especially helpful after stating your initial price.
#4 Be overly polite
Being overly polite is never a bad thing. This is especially true in a foreign country. If someone is nice to you, you are more likely to help them out. The same applies to this situation. These vendors are people too.
#5 Walk away
If you have engaged in conversation, the salesperson will have a lot harder time letting you walk away without buying anything. Sometimes just walking away can get you the deal you wanted. Other times it won’t work, but if they won’t negotiate I am sure you can find someone selling something very similar that is willing to negotiate.
#6 Carry a set amount of cash
This final tip is what I found has worked the best. I limit the cash in my travel wallet, but still carry my normal wallet. I put a set amount in my travel wallet. After engaging in conversation and showing how much money you actually have in your travel wallet.
Say you only have $22 for an item that the seller wanted $40. If they see you have no more money they are a lot more likely to accept your offer. Of course you still would have more money in your other wallet.