How to shop abroad

Shopping is one of the most fun things to do when traveling. Before you start haggling and shelling out some hard-earned cash, however, you need to be take note of some guidelines on how to make the most out of your shopping experience. In no particular order, here are the things that all shoppers must keep in mind:

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Do some research before you leave.

There are two main shopping-related things that you must research on when before you leave home: the places where you can get the best deals and the local crime rate. Famous shopping destinations are easy targets, so you should be extra careful and be aware of the theft situation.

And once you arrive talk to the concierge at your hotel (eg. the Sofitel in Queenstown), they’ll be able to give you some insights into the local shopping scene and some local knowledge to help you snag some bargains.

Speak their language.

Learning how to speak in the country’s language would also help a lot. In addition to simple greetings and courtesies, you should also learn phrases like “how much?” or “can i get a discount?” to make the bargaining easier for both you and the seller.

Haggle.

You will not get a good deal if you do not haggle. In local stores or markets, you will really need to exercise your bargaining skills in order to save money. You must see to it, however, that you’ve already done your research about the haggling strategies in the the place you’re visiting, because these things vary in every country. Also, haggling should be a healthy transaction–you will not be able to get a good deal if you start raising your voice or start insulting the merchant.

Keep it simple.

Dress in simple clothes and do put that much jewelry on you when you go shopping. You will most likely have a more difficult time getting a good deal if you wear flashy outfits, because the sellers will instantly infer that you can easily afford what they’re selling.

Put your cash in different pockets.

This is one of the most common rules for traveling, but many forget or simply get too lazy to do it. If you’re going shopping, it’s a must to have small amounts with you because the chances of theft are higher–so place your money in different places like pockets, bags, purses, or wallets.

Go to different stores before you buy an item.

If you’re going to bazaars or markets, there will surely be competition, so it’s always best to walk around and compare prices first. Before you purchase anything, make sure that you’ve already hopped on several stores selling the same thing (this is one of the reasons why rushing will not be a good idea if you want to get the best deal).

Consider the space you have left on your luggage.

You’re on the other side of the world and you really want that vintage lamp or huge painting–they all may look wonderful and they’re way cheaper compared to the ones sold back home, but can you actually take it home with you? It’s possible to ship some extra or fragile items, but it would not be cheap. If shipping is not an option, however, you should be aware of how much space you have left in your bag and base your purchases from there.

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