Haggling Tricks: 5 Tips for Bargaining Like a Professional in the Turkish Bazaar

If you visit Turkey, you must stop at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. This immense shopping center encompasses over 60 streets and more than 3,000 shops. The vendors at the market are expert hagglers, and they know their tourist customers with Turkey packages from Dubai are not. So, when you plan to visit the market, you must learn how to haggle as people have been doing since the 15th century when the market first opened.

Check out these five tips before you start shopping at the Turkish Bazaar:

grand bazaar istanbul
Organized Chaos at the Grand Bazaar.

Shop around

The Grand Bazaar is organized by items, so neighboring booths sell the same products. If you know you want a certain item, you can see the market to get an idea of the prices and availability. When you shop around before you start haggling, you will have a better chance of negotiating the price that you really want. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to buying items at a bazaar.

Start low

The best way to start is with a low price and cash in your hand. When the vendor sees that you are ready to pay, you might not have to pay much. You can’t go back down once you’ve presented a price, so starting low will hopefully keep the price low. The best haggling customers will make the vendor set the opening price, which lets the customer pick a lower one without having to guess.

One of the many entrances for the Grand Bazaar.

Some customers will do some mental math and offer half or a third of the listed price. If you’ve shopped around, you know what other vendors have priced their similar items. Use what you can to start low and stay low.

Pick your maximum price

Before you begin to haggle, set a maximum price in your mind. It is best to begin with a low price, offer cash, and watch what happens. When you set a maximum price, you know when to stop haggling and walk away. Often, if you do walk away, the vendor might lower the price to make the sale.

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Time your shopping

Lunchtime is often the best time for haggling. Vendors have been awake for hours, and many are ready for a siesta. If you can time your shopping around 11 AM to 1 PM, you are bound to get some deals. Deals won’t be as good in the early hours as the vendors are fresh and ready to haggle. If you shop on the secondary streets, you might get better deals than if you go to the vendors who have earned their spots on the major thoroughfares.

Don’t forget about the spices! There is endless supply of these at the Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar.

Watch your back

When you are in the busy market, watch your back. Pickpockets and thieves are looking for unaware shoppers. The expert pickpockets know what to look for and if you give them the opportunity they will take it. Do not put anything in your pockets, especially the back pockets. Do not bring all of your money with you, as the thieves in the market will find a way to get it.

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I'm a dual Canadian-American from NYC that moved to South Africa for work and ended up traveling all through the continent. I'm currently living the expat life in Frankfurt, Germany and traveling the world as much as I can. I'm a bit obsessed with scuba diving, churning credit cards so I never pay to fly, and eating the most questionable of foods in the most peculiar of places. My bucket list is the world, and some day I might make it there.

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