Markets pop up all around the world and are a popular shopping spot for locals. Now, I’m not just talking about food markets, but also clothing markets, flea markets, art markets, and everything in between. No matter what part of the world you are in, chances are there is a local market in a city near you. Markets are the perfect spot to grab the freshest ingredients for tonight’s meal, handmade clothing, or even decorations for your home. Keep these 6 tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to successful shopping regardless of the type of market you are setting out to explore.
1. Observe the Locals
The first thing I do when entering a market is take a lap around to see all the different stalls and products, but also to observe the locals! The locals will give you an idea of proper etiquette since this will vary greatly in different regions around the world (just think, what is acceptable and normal at an American market might be considered rude at an Asian market). Another great reason to observe the locals is to find out which are the most popular stalls. These are often the most crowded and it must be for a good reason.
2. Don’t Touch the Food
It might be acceptable to touch the fresh produce in an American market, but it’s often considered extremely rude in many other parts of the world. Wait for assistance from the vendor, point to what you want, and they will handle the food. You can determine what’s acceptable by referring to #1 – observe the locals – or by simply asking the vendor.
This is also heavily dependent on the part of the world you are in. In America, there is normally a fixed price for goods, but in many parts of the world, such as Asian countries, it’s expected to haggle. Do a little research on the region you are in to know what is appropriate.
4. Bring Cash
It’s a necessity to have cash at a local market. Most of the time, the market consists of a bunch of pop-up stalls, so vendors likely won’t have any way to accept credit/debit cards. Come prepared with cash!
5. Compare Prices
You would hate to buy a carton of strawberries for $2 just to find out the vendor a few stalls down was selling them for $1. It’s important to take a lap around the market to see what’s offered and at what prices. This also helps to be successful and more confident with #3 – haggling.
6. Bring Your Own Bag
Again, this is dependent on the part of the world you’re in, but it’s a good practice regardless. Some vendors will provide bags for merchandise that you buy and others won’t, so you’ll want to have your own bag to carry your goodies just in case.
Visiting local markets is the perfect way to experience the culture and lifestyle of the country you are in. Markets are a great, affordable way to find authentic souvenirs to take home with you. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, it’s fun to wander around and see the different products for sale and watch the locals going about their daily lives. Remember these 6 simple tips and you’ll be a successful shopper at any market around the world!
What additional tips do you have for shopping at a local market? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!