Awesome Tips Let's Save Some Dough
Souvenir shopping at its best can often be an exciting venture, or a terribly strenuous venture depending on how you react to it. Either way, no one likes being ripped off and you always want to be the ‘best bargain shopper’ you possibly can be while abroad. It is a pretty universal habit that sellers will tend to rip off tourists simply because they can. Also, if they are good at naming a price and you aren’t going to bargain than it’s extra money in their pocket – why not, right?
This is where you need to be clever and take these tips with you on your travels in order to get the best price for your souvenirs!
1. Always Compare Prices before Purchasing If you’re in a tourist situated area, chances are their are going to be many shops and stalls which all carry relatively the same items. Make sure that you’re comparing prices between stalls before making your final purchase. Even if you’re not 100% convinced you would like to purchase this souvenir, it is better to know the price in order to compare for later.
2. Offer 10% of the Starting Price This sounds evil when you’re just reading the caption, but it is generally a good rule of thumb when you’re trying to bargain with the local shop keeper. Of course don’t expect to pay 10% of the starting price, they will usually be willing to always meet you half way. For example, if they start at $100, you offer $10, they may then offer you $70 ‘last price’ in which you can offer $30. In this scenario, expect them to drop their offer to $50 and no lower. There is bargaining and then there is just plain offending them. We don’t want travellers to look cheap and rude, but we do want to make sure you’re getting the best bargain you can in a sensible manner.
3. Buy Good Quality Souvenirs This may go without saying that good quality items are better than the not so great souvenirs. However, some people get caught up with wanting to pay the cheapest price possible without taking into account the quality of the souvenir. Paying more for a better quality souvenir will of course make for a better gift and will prevent you having to buy a new one in the future. For example, I decided to buy 3 kurtas in India while I was venturing around for about $3 a piece – all 3 ripped on me. I then went and purchased one for $10 and have been wearing it everyday for weeks with no problems.
4. Buy with other People – Larger Quantity, Better Discount You may have done this before, where once one person wants something, everyone wants something. This is a good way to take advantage of the situation you are in and ask for a better price with the larger quantities being purchased. Typically even with fixed priced items, they will be willing to offer you a discount if you’re buying out the store of that particular item.
5. Buy in Bulk Yourself You can also do this when traveling solo. Think ahead and plan for the future. Maybe you aren’t buying your friend as large of a souvenir as your mother, but keep in mind upcoming birthdays and holidays. If you like the souvenir you’re purchasing, maybe others will to. Try to keep an open mind when purchasing and buy unisex items in larger quantities.
6. Buy from the Same Shop Try to find a shop with lots of variety. Though you may not want to buy their entire stock of blankets, you may be looking at buying one blanket, one wallet, one necklace and one tiki mask. If you are buying all these items at the same store, the shop keeper may be willing to give you a better price.
7. Become Friendly Don’t be a stranger, most shop keepers are eager to spark conversation and looking to sell their products. I find that the more I let my personality shine, the more willing they are to lower the price for me. Make friends with the shop keepers and tell them about your life (to some extent). The more of a connection they feel with you, the more willing they will be to cut you a better price.
8. Shop outside of the Tourist Destinations Go figure, they build these shops for one reason and one reason only, making a ton of money off of tourists who don’t want to leave their resting location. Be adventurous and step outside of these shops, explore the city/village safely with a partner and check out local stalls and markets. Some of the best products for the cheapest prices can be found down local streets without a tourist in sight.
Have any other tips for us? We’d love to hear about them! Sharing with travellers across the globe is a great way to get the best out of your trip!