Dealing with a new currency and purchasing items or services in a foreign country, can be overwhelming. Not only are you trying to familiarize yourself to an unfamiliar environment, most of the time you’re also trying to communicate in a foreign language. Wrapping your head around negotiation while travelling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.
My number 1 rule? Be prepared.
Knowing the worth of an item or service can mean the difference between you getting a bargain, to paying well over the actual value. Worth means, knowing how they are valued, and how much you are willing to pay for it.
Most of this information can be found via a quick google search, however, I always found it more beneficial to source the information locally, if it’s from a non-biased source.
I always cross-reference that information, to make sure it’s correct. Plus, if you’re friendly, they give you the run down on the best services around town.
This is where rule number 2 comes in…
Being personable and polite, yet assertive, can do you a world of favours in the negotiating world. If you can, talk to them in their language. This will help you to relate, and making an effort is more personal. Creating an experience for both of you that much more pleasant.
Try not to be the first to state a price, but if you have no choice, opt for a happy medium. This doesn’t mean doing all the talking either, sometimes silence and patience can turn the tide of a deal.
Which brings me to my next point.
While you want to be friendly, you don’t want to show too much interest. Give the seller room to negotiate and don’t show your hand. Also, don’t show your money before you’ve made a deal, that’s a big no, no. Just be careful with flashing your cash in general. I usually only carry around small amounts, if I help it.
Finally, and most importantly, be prepared to walk away.
Sometimes I have walked away from a deal, only to have them chase me down and offer it to me for the price I was asking for.
In saying that though, make sure it is within reason. What is often only a few dollars difference to me, could make an enormous impact to that person’s whole income. It can mean the difference between them being able to feed their family well, or just making ends meet, especially in impoverished countries.
So, while it’s important to ensure you’re not being taken for a ride, be considerate to the person you are making the deal with. Do your homework, so you can make informed choices on your purchases.
Doing so will not only relieve you of some the stressors that travelling can bring, it will ensure you have enough money to thoroughly enjoy your trip.