If you want to get better prices on things when you travel, look for shops that have cheaper real estate. As a traveler or tourist, you're very likely to spend most of your time on the major streets and roads.
These places have the highest prices.
One example that really struck me was in Saigon, Vietnam. On one of the main roads is a nice little restaurant. Next to it is a different shop, and then there's an alley.
If you walked down the alleyway a little bit, there's another restaurant - with the exact same menu, except the prices are 20-30% cheaper.
At the restaurant on the main road, there'd only be foreigners, mostly tourists. The one set back in the alleyway had more Vietnamese people and expatriates and savvy travelers.
It wasn't just the same menu - they used the same kitchen and everything. That's paying for their real estate.
It can feel kind of safe at first to eat and shop on the main road, but in the vast majority of international cities, you'll be fine if you wander around sidestreets. Prices will be 20%, 30%, sometimes even 90% lower for similar quality - sometimes for the exact same goods and services.
There's times when you want to pay higher prices for the same goods - a bar or nightclub with a great view, or one that draws a great crowd. When I'm shopping for vitamins in a country that doesn't have great English, I'll look for a more expensive pharmacy with good real estate, figuring it's more likely their vitamins and drugs are legit.
But 90% of the time, just wandering off the main streets gets you much the same quality for lower prices - sometimes better quality for lower prices. Remember it when you travel - if there's lots of foot traffic, the real estate will be expensive. And the real estate costs are always priced into the products you buy.
If in a foreign country, try to find restaurants the locals frequent.
The are often cheap and good.
Please do not believe the fear mongering - "you will get stomach trouble if you do not eat the local food" that is prevalent in many tourists. A local restaurant would not be able to survive if hygiene is bad or the food gives it's patrons the runs.
My experience shows that I got the best food at local restaurants and any stomach problems and generally bad food were had at tourist traps.
Tunisia - great food even from street vendors, stomach trouble from eating at the hotel one night
Turkey - Great food from small restaurants
Portugal - Found a small place selling fresh fish, frequented by local patrons
You might also try asking a restaurant owner for local specialties. We did this in a Turkish restaurant that only advertised tourist food - fish and chips, Schnitzel, you name it. Once we asked for local food, the owner's face lit up, as did the cook's and the meal was great.
First off, quick refresher - what is negotiation?
Good negotiation is about discovering things you value a low amount that the other party values a high amount, finding things they value a low amount that you value highly, and exchanging. I wrote about this in "How to Avoid Exchange-Based Relationships" -
A lot of people don’t understand good negotiating. They think it’s about getting the best price – no, no, no. Good negotiation is about figuring out what you can offer that’s worth more to the other person than you, and what they can offer that’s worth more to you than them.
it’s okay to have pure exchanges sometimes, like if you’re just buying something once. But if you can transcend that, move it beyond the exchange and into looking out for each other, that can be a beautiful thing.
New York City has always fascinated for me. It is the epitome of organized chaos. Thousands, hundreds of thousands of people crisscrossing through relatively narrow streets trying to get to the countless places that have to be visited. Walking from Lower East Side to Columbus Circle one sees the variety and sheer difference in neighborhoods New York holds; its like cities, insides cities, inside New York City. Ultimately New York City is fascinating because of what it represents and what the people do. New York City is an economic, innovation, artistic, design, and food center. Everyday, throughout the City, new foodie joints are opening up, coffee shops obsessed with making the bets espresso, Brokers obsessed with the stock market, Designers and Artists selling and painting, Small business' trying to fill incredibly small niches succeeding and failing. Overall the New York business scene is vibrant, with the restaurant scene being especially vibrant. I have been to New York countless times, and almost never eaten at the same place more than once. Every time ago there's a new trending restaurant a new bakery trying something new. Walking down a city block, one finds one average over 60% of the business are food or drink based. Ranging from Japanese bakeries such as Minamoto and takahachi to high-end restaurants like Per-se and the low-end Chinese $1- for-5 dumpling experience at Prosperity Dumpling, New York manages to fill the whole spectrum of restaurants numerous times over.
Many People consider New York and excessively expensive city, which would be hard to deny, but more and more I'm finding it affordable if one knows how to navigate through it. For one, Brooklyn manages to produce the very similar quality to Manhattan based restaurants and business while being much more affordable. The most expensive part of New York though are two things: Drinking and rent. Drinking out in NYC is considerably more expensive than drinking out in San Francisco or a city like Barcelona. Rents can also get absurd, especially if you want to live in Manhattan. albeit, One thing about NYC real estate is that its always in demand, With many apartments going up in price almost immediately after being bought, especially one bedroom or studio apartments, which are experiencing insane growth due to people living alone more frequently and for longer. The only ways to mitigate these two costs if either living farther away from Manhattan, or getting extra roommates in order to break up the cost. As for drinking: Don't drink. That or drink at home and cheaply. buy from bigger stores or provision stores, buy wholesale. Most of the major places in Manhattan actually get their niche liquors and beers from places in Brooklyn, find the source and the price will always be better.
But New York also has a dark side New York can consume you. Its high prices for going out and rent, as well as the long hours most employees are forced to work in order the keep the system moving, can lead to personal boom and bust cycles. I've meet dozens of people who work 10 hrs+ a day, always on call, and who have a hard time getting days off. People in NYC who don't earn a decent income live paycheck by paycheck, sometimes even having to take out loans and use other financial means that further entrench themselves. Of course, the of earn-spend-earn will continue to expand to fill the void. As one gets promoted, or finds a better job, the urge for eating out at more expensive places, or living in a more expensive place becomes alluring. And in a city like New York, a better, more expensive option is always on the table.
Ultimately, New York is a place that is teeming with ideas and life. The countless venues to have social fun, the numerous amount of small niche stores selling ridiculously specific products or artisan goods, the entrepreneurs coming up with innovative software, design and good, whether it be in interior design, software design or the combination of weird food elements. Walking in New York city never seems to disappoint, and in the end New York City might be considered one of the world's, if not the world's, most important city because of its cultural, economic and innovative importance. But, New York is not a City I would want to leave in. I would go there for a little bit at a time, like 1-2 months, but living and settling down in New York involves living a lifestyle that can be strenuous, fast-paced and surreal at times. New York can come to surround and define your life. With the city being so big, ever-present and hyper-stimulating, detachment from a reality can become prevalent. It