How to Haggle like a Rock star (without being Annoying!)

By Kach Umandap - Howe January 17th, 2015 Posted in Inspiration and Love Stories, Travel Blog 26 Comments


Jon has already talked about my haggling skills in his previous articles, but I know it’s not just me! It’s true that I love to haggle (it’s a habit!), not just because I want the cheapest price, but I believe that haggling can seriously enhance your negotiation skills. It’s a skill that you can definitely apply in both the corporate and travelling world.

So here are my not-so-secret techniques on how to haggle like a rock star without being annoying!

1. Research first… Know the market price!

You can’t just haggle for the sake of haggling (though I do sometimes!) – Before you haggle you should know the market price, because if the vendor is already giving you below the market price then why would you haggle? You need to do a little research first so you know if it’s worth the time and effort to haggle in the first place.

Once you know the market price, if a person quotes you above that rate, then counter-offer down by 50% in Asia and maybe by 25% in South America.

2. Smile! 

Alright, you’ve found a vendor who has exactly what you want. The first thing you should do even before opening your mouth to ask for the product is to SMILE. Yes, it’s essential that you smile before talking, it instantly creates a friendly atmosphere and helps to form a personal connection. Practice your best, shiny toothed grin in the mirror!

3. Talk LESS

If you’re someone who gets great perks in life by talking a lot (THAT’S ME!), then that’s great, but haggling is different; something I’ve learned the hard way. The vendor already has a lot of things on their mind, especially when they are mostly dealing with numbers and MONEY! Don’t mess with their head giving facts about the apples in your city compared to the apples that she’s selling. She doesn’t care about that. Talk less, get straight to the point and SMILE!

4. Make Weird Gestures – Be ANIMATED!

I’m not sure if I’m the only person who does this, but sometimes I act a bit weird – pouting, sad dog face, and other weird gestures and sign language. It really does close some deals! As I’ve told you, you need to talk less and let your conscious actions do the rest. You might even enjoy looking weird to get the deal, but might just be me too!

5. Leave the vendor alone…NOT!

This is a simple trick I learned in South East Asia. The vendors there are really tough and too smart for my haggling skills. My friend told me to act really interested in the product/services but when you can’t get their price down, start to walk away, then the vendor should call you after you offering a better price. It almost always works!

6. Close the deal with besos (kisses) or handshake!

No professional salesman would just walk away from their client straight after closing a sales deal. You need to add a little formality when you close the deal after those weird gestures and walking away drama! You need to make them feel like they have just made an official agreement – There are very few people who would backtrack on a handshake!

This is extreme.. I haggled for my Thai Visa in the Embassy stated the Bilateral agreement.. we can only get 30 days Free but they gave me 60 days for FREE!

Depending on the culture and how friendly you’ve become with the vendor, you can even end the deal with a little beso!

What are your best haggling tips?!


  • Eph Capistrano In some cultures, haggling over the price is an expectation and a polite way of “conducting business” in the open market. After all, that is why the items are not marked like it is in the malls. The phrasebooks mention this if it is so. In my experience, it helps in the haggling when I am already holding the exact amount of what I am willing to pay. It also helps when I am using the amount/numbers in the seller’s language and including the word “please” in that language. And yes, all these with smiles and pouts and toothy grins. It worked for me in Egypt, in Israel, and in Thailand! (That’s how I got into collecting scarves. You can never have too many.)


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26 thoughts on “How to Haggle like a Rock star (without being Annoying!)

  1. Haggling is amazing if you think na sobrang taas talaga ng patong sa products. Pero wag naman sana dun sa mga maliliit na vendors. Hindi natin alam kung yung barya na natipid natin, yun na pala ang mag-sesettle ng difference kung makakain ba sila o hindi. 🙁

  2. Ohh, were the same! The moment I was appraised of the price,, I counter offer w/ 50% mark down, an I will get a strange look from their face, or laugh, haha! We normally settle at 40 to 35% off,

    But I even haggle at shopping malls, not the same approach as with vendors though. If the item is last piece or the display, or slightly dirty. I always request for 30% off. I get away with it half of the time, best offer they can give most of the time is 20, after going through the layers of approving officers.

  3. Yay Thank you for these.. I am often so hesitant to haggle when buying an item but these tips gave me so much confidence… my mom does this a lot of times! I remember her haggling for an item 50% lesser than the actual price.. she used to convinced the vendor that she was able to get that item in another vendor in a lower price and then she will walk away and wait for that vendor to accept her deal.. it works perfectly haha

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Written by Kach Umandap - Howe

Co-Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 143 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she got married then a year later bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.

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