What better way to get familiar with a foreign country than by shopping your way through it? You get to see the sites, sample the indigenous wares and interact with the locals.
Whether blazing a trail through a high-end mega mall or perusing the local craft market, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your shopping experience when travelling.
Don’t be afraid to haggle
In certain areas it is the custom to negotiate prices with sellers. It can be uncomfortable for some people, but take this as part of the package of experiencing something new so put aside your shyness and bring down those prices. At the very least it’s good practice for the car dealership.
Shopping for authenticity
If it is important to you that you buy something truly local and authentic then you should always ask: “who made this?and “how was it made?It’s a good idea to do some research beforehand into local manufacturing processes and materials so you can better tell if something is genuine or not.
Make the most of a stopover
Flying is the perfect time to take advantage of duty-free shopping. Duty-free stores are retail outlets that don’t have to pay certain local or national taxes and duties, on condition that the goods sold will be sold to travellers who will take them out of the country. Some popular items to get are duty-free perfume, liquor, cosmetics and luxury goods.
Getting your shopping home
If your aim is to do substantial shopping on your trip, try to pack lightly so that you have space to bring your goods back with you without paying penalty fees for your heavy luggage.
If you buy something that is too large or fragile to travel with you could have the merchant take care of the shipping. Be sure to buy insurance for the item, use a credit card, and get an itemised receipt that specifies what you bought.
One final piece of advice: Have fun shopping but still remember your budget! There’s nothing worse than a financial hangover to taint the afterglow of a good shopping trip.