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

By Kach Umandap July 18th, 2022 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

  4. I usually haggle when I buy some thrifted clothes. This tips can help me a lot and save money. Hahaha!

  5. Guuurll! This packs so many great tips, haha. I’m almost ashamed to say I don’t haggle with anything (I leave that to my mom!), but I guess it depends on the person. When I’m at the market, I don’t feel comfortable haggling, though there was a time I tried the “walk away” thing and it worked GREAT (got my item for 50% off, haha!). Well, that was because the seller WAS trying to dupe me out of my money. Great post! Will definitely bookmark this for future reference.

  6. Just learned a word haha I had no idea that haggle was the word for that. I’m awful at this… I mean, sometimes I do it and I get a great new price but I think I could go lower… but I’m afraid to do it! Haha.

  7. I’m awful at haggling!! But I heard that walking away does tend to work and even when I haven’t wanted something in my experiences, usually the person does come running after me to give me a better deal.

  8. I love haggling! It’s something that every Filipino knows how to do. I’ve seen my grandmother and my mother participate and be victors in this art called haggling. Would you say that haggling is a characteristic more prevalent in Southeast Asian countries? Or haggling is a socio-cultural phenomena anywhere there’s a prominent market place – a centre of culture, trade and commerce?
    And I totally agree with you about smiling a lot and talking less. Make haggling a swift and sweet encounter and you’ll get your hands on the fruits of your labour in a more efficient manner.

  9. I like the walking away option, it works well in Turkey too! I actually found that haggling wasn’t looked upon too nicely in parts of Peru, know your country is a good tip. Fun post!

  10. Smile! That’s my best technique plus the fact that I look way younger than my age so I just say, “Ate, it’s my last money already, come on.” surprisingly it works 🙂

  11. Great tips here! I remember being totally intimidated when I first tried to haggle. It gets easier with time. I agree that walking away will either make them call after you or let you know they’re not interested in haggling more. I also agree that funny faces work, but for some of us, that can’t be helped. 😉

  12. Gosh I’m normally so bad at haggling because I don’t know how to figure out what a fair price is. But I do always smile and joke around and it helps a ton. Great tips.

  13. Your Tips are the way I also haggle for the local stores and stalls in our country. It always work when you walk away and showed them how much you like the item/s that you almost want to buy it but suddenly turned around to reject their offer, they usually ran to you to give the price you wanted. Awesome Technique! Sometimes, being so charming kills them… been doing this for porters, store owners, and etc. These are good tips Kach!

    1. hahahah Ferna! I forgot to mention that you have to walk away slowly! hehe! I think you’re indeed very ready for your RTW trip!! =)

  14. Love these tips! Thanks for this, Kach!! Will put into practise later at the night market in Colon Street here in Cebu. Pit senyor!

    1. Thank you Third!!! How’s the night market? I love night markets!! I’ve been to Cebu but didnt experience that… Enjooooyyyy!! =)

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she 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 where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. 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.