Markets pop up all around the world and are one of the most popular shopping spots for locals. This doesn’t just mean food markets, but also clothing markets, flea markets, art markets, and everything in between. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re in, chances are there’s a local market 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 for shopping at a local market in mind and you’ll look like a local in any type of market you’re setting out to explore.
1. Observe the Locals
A market on one side of the world will probably look completely different from a market on the other side of the world. If you’re traveling in a foreign country, it can sometimes feel intimidating to dive into the local market and shop alongside the locals. One way to lessen this uneasiness is to talk a walk around the market as soon as you enter. This allows you to see all the different stalls and items for sale, but also to observe the locals. The locals will give you an idea of proper shopping etiquette in that region of the world, plus they know the best stalls to buy from.
2. Don’t Touch the Food
It might be acceptable to touch fresh produce in an American market, but it’s often considered extremely rude in many other parts of the world. While shopping in a food market you should wait for assistance from the vendor, point to what you want, and let them handle the food. You can also find out acceptable shopping behavior by observing the locals (refer to #1) 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 a 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. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, it’s fun to wander around and see the different products for sale while watching the locals go about their daily lives. Remember these 6 simple tips for shopping at a local market and you’ll look like a local no matter where you are.