Tips for Shopping Abroad
When traveling abroad, some people like to explore museums, some like to get out into
nature, but for others there’s no truer way to experience a place than by shopping its local
haunts. And though shopping abroad can be exciting and rewarding, it’s not without its
pitfalls, which is why I’ve gathered together my top tips so that you can make the most of
your next shopping experience in a foreign country.
The only thing better than traveling to an exotic location? Shopping for one-of- a-kind
souvenirs when you get there! It’s only natural to want a little piece of a country to take
home, but on a whole, try to avoid items that are to heavy or bulky so you can easily fit
them in your suitcase.
Pay In The Local Currency
When paying by debit or credit card, sometimes the card machine will ask you if you would
like to pay in the local currency or in your home currency. Though paying in dollars sounds
seems like the easiest option in reality it’s really not since most stores that do this will then
charge a higher exchange fee then your bank back home. I can’t recommend enough app-
based current accounts like Monzo or Revoult, which allow you to shop abroad with no fees
when making payments or withdrawing cash from ATMS. And best of all, both apps send
you notifications every time you make a purchase, so you can easily keep track of your
spending and avoid any nasty surprises when you get home!
Know Your Size
When shopping for clothes and shoes, remember that sizes differ around the world. For
example an 8.5 shoe in the US translates to a 6 in the UK and a 39 in Europe. Here’s a handy
international shoe size conversion chart that shows you how what your size is in various
countries around the world. Whether you’re doing some online shopping for holiday clothes
or you’re making a purchase on holiday, the chart is super useful if you need a quick
Make Sure You Have Space In Your Suitcase
If you plan on buying lots of clothes or bottles of wine to take back home, make sure you
have room in your suitcase to transport it. Or, if you think that you’re going to be doing a
fair bit of shopping then plan ahead and pack a thin lightweight duffle in your carry-on or
checked-in luggage so that you can check an extra bag on the way back.
Learn To Haggle
Depending on the customs of the country you’re visiting and the policies of the particular
vendor, bargaining may be an option. If you visit a bazaar or a souk you can definitely haggle
with the seller to get your item cheaper. Just remember to not immediately agree to the
first price the seller offers you – instead give him your lowest price and then try to meet
somewhere in the middle. Haggling can be a great opportunity for some friendly banter – just don’t make the seller angry by offering a ridiculously low price – he/she has to make money too.
In some smaller places you can’t use your credit or debit card, which is why it’s always best to carry a little bit of local currency with you. And it’s always good to have a variety of notes. I recommend downloading a currency converter on your phone – the XE app is great to find out what the current currency exchange rates are.