3 Handy tips for shopping abroad

Shopping in a foreign country can be an exhilarating experience: entering a different cultural landscape can result in finding amazing items, artefacts and materials that capture the imagination. On the other hand, there are also a number of common pitfalls to watch out for as a tourist shopper – from bartering and haggling to keeping your money safe, here are some hints and tips to help you get the most out of your adventures abroad.


Haggling is one of the most profitable ways to enjoy your shopping trip. The best strategy when hammering out a deal is to halve the price first suggested, and then negotiate from there. It helps to learn a few numbers in the local language, too, as shopkeepers will generally respond well to people making an effort to engage with the culture – just make sure to be extremely polite (but firm), as the vendor will be far more likely to give you the deal you’re looking for. You’ll get good deals in the markets of Bangkok if you know how to haggle.

Genuine items

When you are abroad, identifying if an item is the real deal can be tricky: for instance, it might be difficult to determine whether a designer bag in a shopping mall is genuine, or if an object in a market is really made of a specific material. To get around these issues, it helps to know where to go – do your research beforehand and ask your hotel concierge, who should be able to identify where the reputable shops and stalls are.

Keep your money safe

Unfortunately, tourists shopping abroad are a magnet for pickpockets and other petty criminals, particularly in large cities. When thinking about keeping your money safe, consider a money belt – positioned under your shirt, it’s far more difficult to access than a wallet or purse for an opportunistic thief. It also helps to take a second wallet with you, with a small amount of money inside: if you are stopped, you can hand the second one over, preserving the majority of your funds.

These tips should help to set you up for a safe and enjoyable trip, but you can also ensure that any shopping you undertake whilst away is even more hassle-free with a Gold Card from American Express. With no spending limit and no interest charges, the American Express Gold Card will also allow you to earn double reward points on virtually every purchase you make abroad!

What say you?