Tag Archives: cheap

4 Tips for Shopping While Abroad

18 Apr

By Kara Harms

I think I can accurately say that shopping is a hobby we all love. Nothing makes you feel happier than finding that PERFECT pair of shoes or skirt after spending maybe hours scouring the racks for what speaks to you the loudest. I personally sometimes feel like clothes are almost talking to me. They say things like “Kara, I am so pretty and cheap, buy me!”

Shopping while studying abroad or traveling is even worse. First off, you have to spend months living out of a suitcase, which doesn’t permit as much room for outfits as you want it to, so you are always jumping at an opportunity to get new things. Secondly, the clothes in other countries always seem better since they are Italian or French or English. I will always spend more money shopping abroad than I would if I were shopping in the Mall of America. It’s terrible.

So I wanted to compile some tips for you travel addicts or soon-to-be studying abroaders so you can survive shopping in your new country without getting wallet-raped. Since wallet rape hurts as much as those new heels do on cobblestone. Fact.

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4 Tips for Shopping Abroad

1. Ask yourself if you can find anything like this in the United States. If the answer is yes, you probably shouldn’t buy it.  Simple as that. You can find literally anything you need in America, so the art of gathering things abroad should be more focused on finding the truly original one of kind pieces. That is what fashion is all about, standing out in all the best ways. If someone could get the same style of skirt you bought in Greece at the Rosedale Forever 21, you would be better off saving your money for something else that will actually give you bragging rights.

2. Ask yourself if you can actually fit the stuff you want to buy into your suitcase. Whether you are traveling for a week or 4 months, the space you have to smoosh things into is limited. Remember how you could barely fit everything in before you even got to the airport? And now you have spent 4 months shopping and have even more things to smoosh? Yes, please, explain how that is all getting home. Like mentioned before you can literally get everything in the United States, so make sure you are getting only the cool stuff, and preferably small stuff.

3. Double-check the exchange rate. If you are in Europe, it is easy to get carried away at first. Those cute boots, the ones that are on sale for 40 Euro down the street, at first seem like a great deal since when can you get leather boots for $40? Then you realizes 40 Euro equals $52.25 and suddenly you are over budget.

4. Always barter down. There are a lot of markets across the world, especially in South America and it is expected that you will barter with the sellers. Personally, I am a ruthless barterer. I know exactly how much something is suppose to cost and I won’t pay more for it just because the seller knows I am American and he thinks he can pull one over on me. The best thing to remember while bartering is odds are there will be many other sellers who have almost the same thing. You can walk away if your seller won’t lower their price and find someone who will-and I promise you they will probably chase you down anyways to make the sale. Remember, you should be saving your money for more travel, or beer. Beer is a good thing to save money for.

Got any more tips? Please comment below!

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