Budget Tip: Never Pay Full Price
If you are a foreign tourist, you will surely encounter one of the burning problems of Vietnam tourism – charging too high a fee. Overcharging happens in every way you can’t imagine. Your hotel room can cost 200% of its actual price while the cost of a meal can triple. If you walk into a store with no visible price tags, you pay lightly! Shop owners, no matter how friendly they are, always seem to have an irrational urge to overcharge you for anything you buy.
Local people believe that the cost of living in Vietnam has increased rapidly in recent years due to inflation, so it is acceptable for foreigners to set higher prices. While inflated prices are still relatively cheap for backpackers, a lot of people disagree with this opinion. However, don’t ruin your wonderful trip with the assumption that everyone around is deceiving you.
In fact, prices in Vietnam have become much more standard since the early 90’s. To avoid being overcharged, learn the names of some typical goods, drinks and dishes. After a few shopping sprees, you’ll find out the real price of almost anything. Compare a restaurant’s prices with the prices outlined in this article. If they are not the same, ask the server!
Another way is to watch locals buy the same goods before you pay for anything. Also, stick to some basic bargaining tactics: ask for a big discount and walk away. If the price is really close to yours, the seller will definitely call you back. Starting with as little as 60% of the list price, you’ll be sure to pay at least half of the original price!
Besides, always verify the price you pay. If you don’t understand what the seller is saying, you may have to pay a different price (usually a higher price) later on. Help yourself by getting into the habit of haggling! Never pay full price in Vietnam (except for goods with price labels in supermarkets). Otherwise, your budget could stealthily shrink every day, much to your dismay.
Read our Haggling Travel Tips for more insight into Vietnam’s shopping scene.