Travel Hackers Guide: How to Haggle

Our weekly Travel Hacking guides are where you’ll find hard-earned holiday wisdom straight from the dealcheckers’ mouth, amassed through years of travelling the globe and making plenty of mistakes… so you don’t have to!

Haggling doesn’t come naturally to the British. Because our weekly supermarket shop is rather lacking in the delicate art of price negotiation, we tend to feel a bit, well, awkward when we need to fight over a fair price.

Never fear – here’s our easy five step guide to great bargaining skills. These tips are not limited to the time you’re away in the bazaars of Marrakesh either! You can put your haggling skills to use when you buy your holiday too. Get your travel agent on the phone and find out whether they’re prepared to offer you any special deals in order to secure your booking!

Haggling tips

1. Just ask!

Following the principle of don’t ask, don’t get!, the first rule for any haggle hopeful is you actually need to let the other party know you’re looking for a discount. So swallow your British reserve, make eye contact and ask, “what deals can you do me on that?”
Don’t be afraid to go in with a low offer yourself either, the worst that can happen is a ‘no’. Market traders might act insulted, but it’s all part of the game. They’ll never part with the goods unless it’s an ok deal for them too.

2. Do your research

Knowledge is the best weapon in your haggling arsenal.
If you’re in a market check out the competition and ask around about the goods. It’s the best way to put a cheeky trader their place when they try to tell you the tiny brass trinket you’ve chosen is 100% gold.
If you’re haggling over a holiday then compare prices from lots of travel agents first (Hint: dealchecker is good for that…). Some companies will offer to beat any price you find, so call them up, let them know what you’ve discovered and see what they’ll offer.

3. Be prepared to walk away

If a trader gets the sense that you’re desperate to buy their products then they have very little incentive to drop the prices, do they? In a market that means deciding what you’re prepared to pay. If the right price isn’t forthcoming, put it back, walk away from the stall and keep going. (You can always go back later if you change your mind)

How would that work with a travel agent? Leaving your name and number and asking them to call you back after they’ve spoken to their suppliers can work, as can mentioning that a big competitor was more willing to give you money off. But both only work if you’re happy to take the risk that you might not get the holiday. If you’ve decided that this is the holiday for you, you’re better off paying what they’re asking – and not risking prices going up in the mean time.

4. Buy in Bulk

This is a simple trick on the markets. £8 for one bag? How about £12 if you buy two?
It can work for holidays too. Ok, it’s less likely to work for a couple on a romantic retreat to the Maldives, but if you’re going away with another family see what your travel agent can offer you. They might have a bigger apartment that will work out cheaper overall, and you can definitely start to save on the extras like private transfers when you begin to share them out between more.

5. Ask for Extras

None of the other tricks are working? Trader just won’t budge on price? Then it’s time to change tack. Instead of taking money off, ask if they’ll throw something in for free instead.
This trick is especially good for holidays. Sometimes travel agents aren’t allowed to offer money off, but they can use their connections to help you save in other ways. And there are a lot of extras they could consider; anything from a pass to a fancy lounge at the airport, a bowl of fruit in your room or free transfers to your resort. Hey, it’s something for nothing, you can’t say fairer than that.

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About Alice

Tips and advice on getting great value travel - from one of our dealchecker alumni.

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