Local culinary delights and buying special souvenirs are part of the joy of travelling, but there a few principles you can apply to ensure you shop and dine responsibly. Rather than seeking out imported familiar products from home, eat local food and drinks and your money will support the locals. Buy handicrafts and art directly from the makers when you can, instead of from department stores, which may not be locally owned.
The art of bargaining is something you can work on during your trip. Here are a few pointers to help you on your way:
- Start bargaining with some idea of what you consider a fair price for the item to be. This may involve doing some homework in other stores.
- The correct price for an item is the price you agree to pay, that keeps both you and the seller happy. Therefore there’s no ‘right’ price.
- Be polite and patient, but firm in your bargaining. No one ever has received a cheaper price through being rude or insensitive.
- Don’t appear too interested in an item. Walking out of a store is often a good way to get the price to drop.
- Shop with a friend – buying in bulk will often reduce the price.
- Learn the numbers in the local language. It will win respect from the seller, and will certainly make the process a lot more interesting and fun.
- Once a price you have offered is accepted it is not appropriate to back out of the deal.
- Only say you’ll buy something later if you intend to buy later. The sellers usually have amazing memories, and will come hounding you on your promise!
- Most importantly, enjoy the experience, and remember you’re often only bargaining over only a couple of dollars – keep it in perspective.
For more information on eating and shopping responsibly, including how to avoid endangered animal products, and for tips on how to travel responsibly, please visit our Intrepid website.
* Photo by Jane Crouch, Timor-Leste