To Haggle or Not To Haggle

Bazaar vendor, Esfahan, Iran

Bazaar vendor in Esfahan, Iran. Photo by kavanadb.

Picture this: You’re in an unnamed Asian country, buying food from a street vendor. The vendor quotes you a price which, compared to the price you’d pay for food back at home, is incredibly cheap. But you also know that the price he has quoted you is the “tourist price”, a figure that is much higher than the price he charges locals.

Do you try to haggle him down, or do you pay him the price he’s asking?

The Debate: Six bloggers go head to head

Craig Martin from the Indie Travel Podcast

Let me ask this: what currency have you been earning in? If you’ve been working in the local economy, you have every right to haggle your way down. But if you’ve been earning twice or thrice or fifty times
more than this vendor, it’s time to wake up and smell the durian, Mr Larusso.

International corporations have vested interests in ensuring we all get paid just enough to keep us productive and keep us from revolting. They’ve been especially efficient in the so-called developing markets, keeping prices conveniently low for tourists like ourselves.

But who am I to keep the inequality in place? To complain about an extra eighty cents? I’m not actively working to “seek justice and encourage the oppressed” but I can afford to pay a little extra for my street food. With minimum wages in Vietnam estimated at US$57 a month compared with average working wages of $18 an hour for American or British employees, I have no grounds for grandstanding.

This food is fresh, delicious and “incredibly cheap”. Pay your extra eighty cents and enjoy it along with your market capitalism.

References: Seek justice… is a quote from Isaiah 1:17 and the slogan of Tearfund New Zealand. Hourly wages sourced from here and here.

Melanie from Intrepid101

Sure, you have a college degree and they have three teeth. Someone in the transaction has the upper hand. It isn’t you, my friend.

Do you want to engage with real local people and leave your antiseptic double plastic-wrapped lifestyle behind? If you are an intrepid adventurer, not a sunburned-pink tour bus tourist yearning for their next Big Mac, haggle.

“But it is so cheap anyway. . .” Haggling over a purchase isn’t just about the money. Living life differently for a few days or weeks and stepping outside of the typical Western experience are why we travel. We aren’t drawn to third-world countries by the promise of diarrhea and squatting over pit toilets.

Worried that you will beat the price down so far the vendor loses money? You’ll be haggling with a vendor who has a lifetime of experience in the art and who knows his or her costs to the nth degree. Sure, you have a college degree and they have three teeth. Someone in the transaction has the upper hand. It isn’t you, my friend.

“But everyone here is so poor. . .” If you feel guilty, haggle for the experience, then pay the full asking price. The astounded locals won’t complain about that kind of eccentricity. Or consider donating the money you saved haggling on your whole trip to a local charity.

Remember, haggling is a local sport where everyone wins. Be intrepid and happy haggling!

Ben Hancock from The Daily Transit

Whether or not to haggle has been a question I’ve wrangled with since I first came to South Korea in 2004. I was told by friends from the time I arrived that bargaining down at street markets is the norm, not the exception. Having a decent command of the language, I’ve tried my hand at haggling (mostly for goods but sometimes for food) and succeeded a few times. I’ve also been over-charged and let it slide because, when it came down to it, I would’ve be squabbling over what barely amounted to a few dollars–and made myself look like a heel in the process.

And therein lies my reasoning behind (primarily) choosing not to haggle. Unless you’re scraping or have no access to further cash, there’s rarely a legitimate reason for travelers whose bank accounts are stacked with strong currency to demand they get the same price as locals. Providing you’re not getting wildly ripped off, just count on spending a bit more won, yuan or baht if simply because you can afford it and these people have ends to meet. Keep in mind that the average workers in most non-Western societies are still getting by on comparatively little. Paying a bit more on occasion is just part of the cost of travel.

Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere

Unless you’re scraping or have no access to further cash, there’s rarely a legitimate reason for travelers whose bank accounts are stacked with strong currency to demand they get the same price as locals.

A price is what a willing buyer will pay to a willing seller. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no “correct” or “right” price, or for that matter a “fair” price.

The only reason I can think of for not trying to negotiate a lower price is guilt. That somehow you, as a Westerner, feel bad about asking for a lower price from someone in a poorer country. The higher price you pay is usually a guilt tax. Local merchants take advantage of guilt and ignorance of tourists to charge more. I don’t blame merchants for trying to make a buck, but at the same time, there is no reason why you should have to pay more than you need to.

I have yet to meet anyone who had their feelings hurt during haggling. If anything, they will respect you more for playing the game well.

There is certainly a point at which haggling isn’t worth the effort. Spending 10 minutes to reduce the price an additional $0.25 probably isn’t worth it. Spending 10 min to reduce the price of something by $2.50 might be. Usually haggling can go much quicker. I am typing this in Dubai. The hotel I’m staying at was willing to drop the price by 1/3 seconds after telling them it was too expensive and I was going elsewhere. I’m sure I could have gotten it even cheaper had I tried.

There is nothing wrong with haggling. It is the way the world works.

Pickled Eel

So you are a local expert who knows the lives of the people you are interacting with? You know how much their sales to you are impacting their livelihood? You have read, oh so briefly from your travel guide (on the flight in) that it is OK to haggle. You know that haggling is an acceptable part of their culture? (The Life of Brian is no authority on the requirement to haggle!) You are an authority on the impact your trade has on their emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing? Of course you are, you culturally literate yet itinerant traveller, steeped in the finer nuances of this foreign culture you are quickly passing through.  So go ahead and haggle. Then test your motivation. Did you come away congratulating yourself that you had put it over the wiley old stall holder (whose whole wardrobe costs less than your fancy boots) and gotten a bargain. Do you recommend to your fellow travellers to visit the third stall on the right on such and such a lane because the locals are a “haggle push over?” Yup, you crafty, travel and worldly wise traveller, of course you do. It’s how you gain your travel spurs and your blog is all the more lively for it. Now, tell me how many local friends you have. But then, you probably are not looking for any.

Dave from The Longest Way Home

Haggle like a local, not just in Asia but the world over. It’s not just a financial thing, it can’t be. Take an Asian street vendors average bbq stick of ‘unknown’ meat. For a local it costs $0.05. From me he wants $0.50. I laugh at him as if he was having a joke. Being a seasoned traveller I should have already asked a local how much the bbq stick is before approaching and have gotten the real price first.

If I pay you the upmarket ‘Tourist’ price, then you will do it to others, setting a bad example. The mark up is huge, if I pay it, I will be drawing a lot of ‘bad’ attention to myself. I’ve seen certain ‘rich’ tourists not care about price, it makes them out to look stupid. As travellers we are roaming ambassadors to our countries – no wonder some have a bad rap.

Asia is a developing region, and other Asians are travelling more and more between their own countries so it’s not just a western thing. Haggling in Asia is a part of life for everyone; we as travellers are passing guests that can, and should enter into this great custom.

Your view

Do you haggle? Why, or why not? Share your views in the comments below, or write about it on your own blog.

If you do post about it on your own blog, or send me an email and I’ll link out to your response from here.

Here’s what bloggers have written about the topic:

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Discussion »

  • #1AnnaE

    Haggle, haggle, haggle.
    I didn’t come to an unnamed Asian country to pay full price. I don’t expect to pay the local price, but you can bet your last bhat, dinar or rupee, I’m not going to pay the tourist price either. And if I happen to speak the local language, then why not?

  • #2Curtis

    Good arguments on both sides, and even though I’m squarely on the side of haggling, reading the opposing arguments was enlightening.

    In the end, I definitely agree with Melanie, Dave, and Gary — haggling isn’t about charity or relative income, it’s about doing business and following local custom.

    When my wife and I traveled through Thailand last year, locals would quote us about four times the “Thai price” for pretty much everything. If you haggled, you’d get it down to about twice the local price, but seldom any lower. They enjoyed it as much as we did, and the practice often started new conversations and even friendships. We did plenty of repeat business with people after haggling through a first transaction, and certainly didn’t feel like we were exploiting anyone. At the same time, we saw plenty of locals snicker at the backs of farangs who paid $12 for a $3 T-shirt.

    If it’s about relative standard of living, should wealthy locals pay more for goods than poorer locals do? They don’t. And what about the flip side — if wealthy shoppers pay more, shouldn’t poorer shoppers get a discount? As a Canadian, I often wish I could ask European shopkeepers to cut their rates for me, but I don’t. (I realize that I’m living above the poverty level, but still, where do you draw the line?)

    If you feel guilty or sorry for people, there are a hundred ways to help them without treating their place of business like a begging bowl. Leave a tip. Recommend them to a friend (Pickled Eel: If you recommend a shopkeeper to your friends for any reason, he’ll probably appreciate it).

    Why not offer to help someone manage or market their business better? It only takes a few minutes to correct mistranslated English on a menu or sign — and helping them understand why “Steamed Crap with Beer” isn’t selling will be way more fun than shoving a few extra bills their way.

    Or you could donate your time or money to a worthwhile charity — there are plenty — or visit Kiva.org and make a micro-loan to help a struggling Asian entrepreneur succeed.

  • #3Lindsie

    It never even occurred to me to haggle for food in Asia.

    Goods? Of course! Food? No.

    I LOVED haggling in Asia. If a vendor wasn’t willing to sell me something for the price I was willing to pay – I simply walked away. Eight times out of ten they followed…and I usually paid half (or less) of their original asking price.

    The only time I didn’t haggle was at a market in Cambodia. The vendor quoted me a reasonable price right up front and I have to admit that I paid it – she was deaf and I just couldn’t bring myself to try and “talk” her down. I felt better paying my $3 for a beautiful silk scarf than I would have trying to get a deal.

    The next time I was at the market and dealing with a young, very savvy vendor, she quoted me $8 for a similar silk scarf. I laughed. And the haggling began….we ended up having such a great conversation. I asked her if some people were really stupid enough to pay that much and she told me that some tourists will pay $12. They don’t even try to negotiate. I did get her down to $3 and told her as I was parting with my money that I knew I was still paying too much. She just smiled and gave me a look that said, “you aren’t as stupid as some of them, but yes, you are still paying too much.”

    Definitely haggle. Then haggle some more. It’s fun!

  • #4Audrey

    Even though I didn’t respond to this panel question, the topic did spark a lively conversation with my husband. If I know I’m paying a higher price, I tend to haggle. It’s not the amount of money per se, it’s the principle of getting charged more than other people. If the vendor sees that a tourist knowingly agree to pay more than locals, where do the price increases stop?

    When we were in Varanasi (India), I bought some food off a kid at one of the ghats for an older man. I thought the price was high, so I told the vendor as much. He halved the price immediately. It still seemed too much, but I wasn’t 100% sure of the market rate so I paid it. Two local boys about the same age as the vendor passed by and saw the transaction. They came up to me and told me that I had still paid too much and confronted the vendor to return my money (he did). The boys told me it wasn’t right for him to charge me more.

    We’ve also found that prices change based on whether I’m the buyer (solo) or whether it’s my husband. I tend to get a more fair price right from the start. Guess the vendors assume the big, white guy has more money.

  • #5Ant

    Audrey I think you’re right. When I was in India I met up with my parents and my mum consistently got a fairer deal whereas me and my dad had to pull the sleeves up, smile and get haggling. So there you go folks, if you don’t haggle you’re (kind of) encouraging sexism (and probably a heap of other ism’s). Great debate, right through to some intelligent comments. Bravo, Eric

  • #6Gennaro

    Locals think visitors who don’t haggle are foolish. I’ve seen plenty poke fun at a customer who take the initial offer. They are not insulted by haggling. They are insulted in you’re not fair or if you haggle and walk away after they give you a fair offer.

    That being said, be respectful and understand that you are much wealthier in their eyes. After a couple of “negotiations” let it go and pay their price. It is often less than a dollar we’re talking about.

  • #7Dave

    Audrey & Ant,

    It’s a really good point you guys bring up. Personally, I much prefer to travel with a woman for this very reason (amongst other reasons too). The toothless man smiling away at my travel mate makes for easy haggling from a two sided front. Her foreign rapture, my sheer pocket tightness. He gets his kicks, we get our bargain.

    Likewise another way male & female traveling haggling tandem can work is when the lady likes to go shopping. The vendor knows the lady is the shopper, so most attention goes towards her. Meanwhile I knock back a few cheap haggles in the background.

    Just to even things up, when it comes to bargaining for a room, I found as a male, it was easier to get a cheaper price. And a lot of girls I traveled with didn’t like to bargain for rooms, as there were sometimes unwanted comments attached from the hotel owner towards her.

    Anyway, I now relinquish myself from any potential gender argument issues. Maybe it’s another debate in itself for a later installment!

    Kudo’s Eric!

  • #8Austin

    I say haggle for the fun of it. I’ve found haggling to be an enjoyable experience, even if you don’t get what you might consider to be a “deal”
    Once, in Singapore, I spent almost an hour talking, haggling, and having a great time, all just to buy a new lens for my camera ( as well as a few extra things I needed ) My sales guy was awesome, he had a great sense of humor and took great care of me. I think both of us walked away happy, monetarily and otherwise.

  • #9Francoise

    Full disclosure: I once spent 4 hours haggling over the price of a rug in the Mid East.

    I have to say “yes” to haggling. The value of an item is the meeting point between how much the buyer wants the item and how willing the seller is to part with it.

    Remember, it’s not a competition, but if you’re coming from a non-haggling culture, it’s easy to see it as a win or lose situation which can sour the experience.

    In the end, as long as you walk away with a tasty meal, there’s no need to get too worked up about the price.

  • #10Audrey

    Interesting discussion.

    My husband and I use the opposite roles when we’re haggling at a shop (souvenirs, clothes, trinkets, etc.). The vendors assume that I’m the shopper – cliche goes that women like to shop – when most of the time we’re there because of my husband needs to buy a gift for a niece or other family member. So, the price keeps dropping as I sit there uninterested or antsy to move on (which is not acting). My husband uses my apathy and refers to me as the boss as a way to get a great deal.

    You’re right about room prices. I tend to avoid that type of haggling – my husband is much better at it.

  • #11lara dunston

    Fantastic post! And some eloquent arguments presented. It’s a topic close to my heart – and wallet! – as I live in Dubai and write mostly on the Middle East.

    I’ve got haggling down to a fine art here, where it’s an essential part of the culture, and if you don’t participate in the bargaining process to some sales guys you’re just plain boring. They enjoy it! They think it’s FUN! So don’t feel guilty. Especially if you’re bargaining over a carpet. As the bloggers say above – they’re not going to sell it for anything less than it’s worth to them.

    Admittedly, I don’t always haggle – if I’m tired or simply can’t be bothered, I have days when if it’s not the right price I’ll simply walk away, or – if the price is ‘fair’ to me, I’ll pay. But when I’m in the mood, I enjoy it as much as the next carpet guy.

  • #12Jon - The DC Traveler

    I think haggling adds to a shopping experience in any travel experience, as long it’s culturally acceptable.

  • #13lara dunston

    Hey Erik, just letting you know I linked to this great debate: http://cooltravelguide.blogspot.com/2009/01/to-haggle-or-not-to-haggle.html

  • #14Sahi

    I’ve once read a story about someone living in Saudi Arabia for a few months. The story was that he would sit down near some vendor’s stall every day and they would greet each other. Then one day he buys something without haggling. From that moment on the vendor stopped greeting him. He found out the reason, bought a packet of matches, haggled over it and from that day on he was greeted again.

  • #15Rebecca

    I had the opportunity to teach in China for a short while (about 10 years ago). One of my Chinese students told me that I should never pay the first price quoted for anything. The student told me that the vendors would believe I was stupid if I didn’t haggle. They would also be insulted if I didn’t engage in the cultural activity of haggling.

    My favorite haggling story was on the day I visited the Great Wall. After climbing down from the Wall, I decided to buy something from one of the many vendors that were there. My translator was helping someone else from my group when I found what I wanted to buy. I looked around for her, but realized I was on my own. I pointed to what I wanted to buy and the vendor told me the price. Of course, I didn’t understand. He then took out a little calculator and punched in the price. When he showed it to me, I shook my head to show that it was unacceptable. He gave me the calculator and I punched in a lower price. He shook his head…and so it went–calculator haggling for a couple of rounds. When I got done (I had been willing to pay the first price, so whatever we agreed to was fine by me), I took out my money to pay. He indicated he had no change for the big bill I presented to him, so I started making a pile of things from his booth and offered him my yuan for the whole pile–he shook his head to indicate that it was unacceptable, so I took a few bracelets off the pile. Again, a few rounds and we struck the deal. When I finished, I realized that all of the other vendors were standing right behind me watching the process–they all cheered when we were done. I asked the translator if I had done something wrong. She told me that they were amazed that I could do the negotiation that well without a translator and that they held me in high esteem! In a sense, I had honored my vendor by engaging in the local practice!

  • #16Heather ( nomad kiwi)

    Great discussion .. I often haggle for things but never for food. Laughter and good humour helps and so does being able speak or understand the numbers in the language.

    However I sometimes haggle in Christchurch New Zealand (my home) too!

    I have put a link to this site & discussion from one of my blogs – check it out on http//kiwitravelwriter.wordpress.com

    kia ora from downunder in kiwiland

  • #17Oman

    It depends on the original price, its apparent fairness, who is selling it and my own circumstances. So when I am buying something grossly overpriced, that’s relatively inexpensive – from its maker I don’t haggle so much. If it’s a bit of kitsch churned out in China from a ‘tourist trap’ then haggle away.

  • #18Craig | travelvice.com

    My response to Eric when he asked me this question…

    “Isn’t there a third option? To walk away? Why waste the energy or money — am I that hungry?”

  • #19Kerrin

    Oh, DEFINITELY haggle! It’s part of the experience, immersing yourself in that culture, doing as the locals do… Not to mention paying the prices locals pay – or at least close to them. The vendors expect you to haggle! And don’t worry, right off the bat, you’ll know if they don’t! Ask other locals about typical prices before you go to a market, so you know what’s “fair.” And depending on what the vendor then offers you, you know how much haggling is needed. You are not trying to cheat anyone out of well earned money, you are just trying to continue the commercial exchange at the right level.

    And most of all, have fun. For me, haggling in Istanbul, Botswana, the Peloponnese, Brazil, even NYC… and tons of other spots around the world, led to interesting conversations, rich interactions and a more lively experience overall. I mean, who has been to Morocco and was not invited inside for a cup of sweet mint tea. “Come in, my friend, nothing to sell you, just a cup of tea with me, we talk, my friend…!” :)

    Great topic – and really excellent replies from all bloggers, on both sides. Great comments too…

  • #20Pickled Eel

    Just back from a week in Hong Kong where I led a group of teenagers helping out at Crossroads (an excellent charity at http://www.crossroads.org.hk) and spent two days with them in various markets – we stayed away from the shopping centres. They ALL had enormous fun haggling for their trinkets and baubles, taking on the grizzled veterans of haggle central in the Ladies or Night Markets. It was an interesting cultural experience for them with some hilarious conversations and interactions. These are “Westfield shopping centre kids” – they were never going to get into a serious haggle – but 10-20% off here and there made for some lively shopping, and them happy. Let’s now see just how long their haggle specials stay out of the donation bin at home!

  • #21C.Sykes

    I think a lot depends on how you haggle. I would do the same thing I do if I’m trying to get a lower price on a garage sale item here in the U.S.

    First, don’t insult the seller or the item. “That much for this junk?” If it’s junk, or bad food, or not worthy, why do you want it? Instead, look a bit hesitant, explain that the food looks delicious but you have a lot of other groceries to buy and see if the vendor offers you a lower price. If they do, thank them. If it’s an item you’re buying, tell the seller that it’s almost exactly what you want and you’re tempted….would they accept a little less?

    If they say, yes, thank them and buy the product.

    Cheaper prices, no insulting the seller or vendor, no rudeness.

  • #22BunnygotBlog

    Hello,

    I think there is a problem with most of the salesmen abroad.They don’t like to wait on you and if you are a tourist, the ruder they are.

    Cheers

  • #23Claudia

    Haggling is not my thing, I dont think I am good at it but admire people who can do it. If it is a case of culture, why not?

  • #24shakinkorea

    @Pickled Eel

    Your comments came across as brash and playing the “guilt card” many vendors have in mind. You claim that every traveler should have to pay the stupid tax on street items merely because we’re foreign, which is utterly ridiculous. From everywhere to Europe, Latin America, and Asia haggling is accepted, if not demanded, by the locals and tourists alike. To truly ingratiate yourself with a culture, do as the locals do, find out some comparable prices, and haggle.

    I’ve actually made friends and bonds with that people/culture by haggling; in Turkey while haggling I was invited in for traditional apple tea and conversation; in Korea I was offered additional “free” items and travel advice after my purchase; in Latin America some shopkeepers and I grabbed a cerveza after closing time (and I’m not a pushover to get this treatment). It’s normal. It’s okay to haggle – you are expected to – and the great part is, if it doesn’t work out, you can just walk away to the next find. As long as you stay amiable, and know when to walk away, you’re fine.

  • #25Rob

    In many well trodden regions it is becoming more and more difficult for vehement non-hagglers to argue a case of rich vs. poor.
    Granted in off the track places I have travelled to I am much less likely to haggle but when i see people on the south east asia route haggling hard I think fair enough.
    Put it this way – if i could sit down with my laptop and charge people 2 dollars for a new album that i downloaded off bit torrent and make potentially 1000s of percent mark up on selling cheap ass t-shirts on a street that literally swims with people i would.
    Think about taxi drivers on small islands you have visited driving 10 or more people 10 minutes down the road in their benched out pickups for the price of 3 dollars each. These guys arent paying any taxes on their earnings.
    Now, this is of course in very well trodden areas and like I said earlier I am never likely to shake down an old lady selling bananas for the sake of a few cents. This is just petty – but i think that there is a lot more grey area in the issue than simply ‘yes or no’.
    Many people you do business with may not be nearly as poor as you think

  • #26Rob

    you could argue that when norwegians go on holiday they should pay more wherever they go, be it the uk,france,spain,greece etc.

  • #27Issa

    Well, in our country(Iran), it is very common to do that.
    I mean you should do that.

    So this is to all travelers heading to Iran:
    Feel free to haggle as much as you can, No Worries.

  • #28klm

    @ bleeding hearts Craig Martin and Pickled Eel: I travel to India quite frequently and stay there for months at a time with a local family to whom I am very close care about deeply. I am no longer considered a tourist there, I do haggle and yes, I have many, many local friends. This is a particularly poor area of India (M.P.), yet the town itself is a high tourist destination.

    Prior to my lengthier stays with said family, my closest friend (their nephew), who also happens to be a licensed tour guide by profession, used to instruct me to hide around the corner while he bought say, cigarettes or toothpaste for me. Otherwise the difference between the Indian price and the tourist price was astronomical – sometimes several hundred rupees – the few cents our bleeding hearts here would have you believe. It was he who taught me Hindi, and one of the first phrases he had me learn was, “mai (name of town) yaham rehta hu. Mai tourist price nahi dunga. Mere saat khel mat chelo.” (“I live here in (name of town). I do not pay tourist prices. Don’t play those games with me.” He advised me, whenever I find myself traveling within India alone (without him, his family or our Indian friends), of the necessity of haggling. “You essentially live here on and off,” he said, “You could go broke paying the “gora” (look it up) prices.” He once asked me, “Why do some people pay more than they have to?” It’s expected and the goods are priced accordingly for such activity. It’s also not entirely about saving money, but you leave the store with the shopkeeper respecting you that much more. (In fact, the shopkeepers and the guides all have names for those who are too naive or guiltridden to haggle.

    And yes, there are other ways to assuage one’s guilt if you feel you must pay more. You’re neither really helping nor hurting him and his family by paying the extra, but you would be helping enormously by focusing on one particular family that you may wish to take an interest in. I have done this, and I have also donated a much-needed computer to the local schoolchildren in the nearby village. I also volunteer time to teach. These are all ways from which the whole community benefits. My final advice is to haggle within reason. Usually 25-30% is accepted; anything more is considered excessive.

  • #29Cosmos

    I had an experience in Nepal whilst I was travelling with a tight arse friend that left me ashamed and extremely upset.
    We were leaving the country that day and she said she would go downstairs from our hotel and find a taxi to take us to the airport as here are guys hanging around in the streets waiting for fares. She came back and said she had employed a man for the cost of 600 rupees which was about $10 which was a good price for a taxi to an airport. Anyway, we packed and went to check out and being a tight arse, she asked the reception staff how much a fare to the airport should be. When hey replied about 500 rupees she went crazy and raced downstairs to re. Negotiate the fare, shouting that he was trying to rip us off. I tried to tell her she couldn’t do that as she had already agreed but she went ahead. Anyway, she was unsuccessful as I though she would be and we went to the airport. I sat in the front and talked with the driver whilst she sat in the back, sulking. I asked about his life and he had a wife and children he had left behind in a poor, remote village to come to the city and earn money to send his children to school. I knew that he would be living in pretty basic accommodation and eating just enough to survive, sending his money home. I did not think he was ripping us off and couldn’t understand my companions mean spirited attitude. When it came time to pay I gave him a 1000 rupee note and didn’t want any change. I wished him luck and his family good health and my friend wouldn’t even thank him for the service. You know, she never paid me half the money for the trip either! I felt ashamed and sick at her attitude in a poor country and cannot understand such a mean, tight arse attitude. Haggle when buying expensive carpets sure, but not with an ordinary, hard working man trying to send his children to school for gods sake! In Nepal they are so poor and my friend just seemed greedy and selfish to me for arguing over one lousy dollar!

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      Naomi, David and their two sons are ‘on a slow roam around the world’. Though both successful, David didn’t want his children to view him as the dad who was always working. So, with the business and house sold, possessions relocated – the four set off to explore. Their style of travel allows them to live/work in comfort while spending quality time with Lucas and Easy (Ezekiel).

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      In 2008, the Annison family moved from the UK to New Zealand and bought a boat. In 2010, they upgraded to a camper van to explore the country. Though the cats stay home to help the elder son with the yard work and house, the remainder of the family (including the dogs) traverse the open roads of Kiwidom, searching for hidden treasures.

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