Throughout my travels, I have always been in search of the best markets and the best deals. Whether if it’s finding the best value on a little souvenir or if it’s finding a cute necklace or a sundress for my niece. I’m a girl, I’m thrifty and I love shopping. However, I do lack that sort of barter-quality that is necessary when traveling to foreign lands in order to negotiate for the best price. So, combining my niceties with my passion for travel is usually a recipe for financial disaster. And I get ripped off…alot.
It’s fine, I’m used to it. I always find a way to give myself peace of mind by telling myself that: a) $50 isn’t that expensive for this product anyways (back home it may be triple that) or that b) maybe that shop owner really needed the money and can feed his family now. Either way, here’s my list of the 5 places I’ve been to where I have been ripped off:
1) Marrakech, Morocco.
This culturally rich metropolis boasts one of the biggest markets in the continent of Africa. I, of course, went a little crazy and spent beyond my means. 2,580 Moroccan dirhams beyond my means to be exact. It happened as soon as I landed at the airport, when the taxi driver demanded $30 Canadian to be driven into the city center. All of the websites I researched said that I shouldn’t pay more than $10, but I did it anyways. No bartering happened, no problem, $30 in the hole. It went downhill from there: $50 on a handbag, money given to panhandlers, too much money given at food souks and the list continues.
I’m not going to limit this little blurb to any particular city I went to because the reality is that I got ripped off all over this country. From Mumbai to Goa to Agra. If you’re a pale North American and you are a girl, be aware of this. You stand out like it’s nobody’s business and you’re bound to lose a few thousand rupees in the process. India may or may not be the Bartering Capital of the World, so if you plan to go – be ready to negotiate EVERYTHING!
Mainly the city of La Antigua – the tourist capital of this lovely Central American country. The city only has one indoor market, and they come at you like fish on water when you walk through. “Miss buy this!” “You need this” “Beautiful American girl, come here.” By the way, I’m not American…but it works. I bought fresh ground coffee for about $20 Canadian a bag. When I got back to my hotel, the guy who works there told me I should’ve paid $5. Oops, story of my life.
4) Ventimiglia, Italy
This city is at the Northern tip of the Italian Riviera and has the biggest Black Market in all of Europe every Friday. The streets by the Mediterranean transform into winding markets and you can buy anything and everything. Of course, that comes with a price and be prepared to fork out all the euros you can for that leather bag. I know I did.
5) Barcelona, Spain
Relatively speaking, Barcelona is significantly cheaper than many other major tourist destinations in Europe. And travelers coming there from Paris for the first time or London may not know this, so think it’s fine to pay for something without negotiating a price. Mainly in the markets of course, but just be aware. Barcelona is also the pick-pocketing capital of Europe, so hold onto your wallet tightly, fellow travelers!