Top 15 Tips For Shopping In The Middle East

Top 15 Tips For Shopping In The Middle East

It is​ a​ well known fact that every holiday includes the​ delight of​ shopping. Even tough you may promise yourself you’ll resist the​ bargains (that often become clutter around the​ house after a​ couple of​ months), nevertheless you’ll end up in​ the​ souvenir shop for​ ‘little’ shopping for​ your loved ones. if​ you are traveling to​ Turkey, Egypt, or​ Morocco it​ becomes harder to​ resist this incitement. as​ a​ person who travels frequently to​ Middle East, I’d like to​ share some of​ my personal experiences with North American travelers who are planning to​ visit these countries:

1) First rule: Always bargain at​ the​ bazaars and​ Souks. Salesmen in​ carpet, jewelery and​ leather shops work on commission basis; so never accept the​ first or​ second offer. Sometimes you can even get up to​ 70% discount over the​ original price.

2) Try to​ judge the​ price by how much you would be willing to​ pay for​ it​ in​ your home country. Fix the​ price in​ your mind and​ stick to​ it. On the​ other hand, always keep in​ your mind the​ value of​ the​ local money. Try to​ think in​ the​ local currency; most items might sound cheap when converted to​ USD but might be very expensive for​ local people. So purchase like a​ local.

3) Most salesmen understand many languages, so do not discuss anything in​ front of​ them.

4) Use power of​ ‘No thank you!’: at​ least learn this phrase in​ the​ local language and​ use it​ when you are hassled. Smile and​ walk away.

5) Keep your own currency and​ credit cards out of​ sight. it​ is​ easier to​ haggle over a​ price with your ‘limited’ local currency.

6) Guides get commission over your purchases. if​ you are not satisfied with the​ price, try to​ come back on your free day and​ check the​ similar item at​ the​ other shops. So another golden rule: Have a​ free day for​ shopping!

7) the​ top touristy places such as​ Khan El-Khalili usually visited in​ Cairo tours or​ Grand Bazaar in​ Istanbul will have the​ most expensive prices. Find out the​ residential shopping areas for​ better bargains.

8) for​ items where quality is​ important try to​ find a​ fixed price shop. You may pay little more but the​ quality will be superior.

9) Haggling is​ necessary if​ you are buying high value items, such as​ gold and​ jewelery, but with low value goods it​ is​ not always worthwhile the​ time and​ effort.

10) Shops in​ Middle East prefer cash. if​ you pay with cash rather than a​ credit card, you should have more power for​ getting a​ good discount.

11) Always shop around. Never buy at​ the​ first shop; you can always come back. Shopkeepers will try to​ persuade you that they offer you the​ best value, but will not be offended when you say you want to​ look around and​ would come back.

12) When buying gold/silver bargain on the​ price per gram not the​ price per item.

13) Usually little grocery shops, coffee shops, supermarket chains will have fixed prices and​ bargaining is​ not accepted.

14) Shopkeepers will show great hospitality. They will tell that purchase is​ not necessary, they will invite you to​ their shop, offer you tea, coffee; at​ the​ end you’ll feel so ashamed to​ walk away without buying anything. Don’t fall into this trap.

15) if​ you are buying more than one item or​ shopping with a​ group, you can haggle for​ a​ greater discount.

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