7 tips for markets around Europe

1. Make sure you have cash on you because most markets don’t take credit cards. Use the local cash as small vendors don’t give good exchange rates.

2. Always review the cost twice, one to ask how much it is and then confirm what they said the cost is. Make sure you’re doing the math because many will take advantage of aloof tourists.

3. Know where your belongings are and keep them close to you. Busy markets are a perfect place to grab your purse, or phone if you’re not paying attention.

4. Talk to the local vendors about their products. I often stop to buy one thing and then because I talked to the vendor I learned they had a few other products I didn’t know I needed. In Bruges I bought champagne 24K gold jelly. I had no idea I needed this, but when I learned it was available I had to have it. There will be something to do with it.

5. In case you’re in a city, or town where the language isn’t your native tongue, be prepared. Local artisans and vendors may not speak English. Make sure you know what you want in the native language before going to the market. In France over Thanksgiving I went to the market to find a turkey. I struggled to look up the word for turkey while standing at the booth. The internet service was poor so I tried to explain my order. The following week I went to pick up my turkey and ended up with a rooster. Story here

6. Expect to spend at least an hour. Many markets are large and have their stalls down many streets. There is a market in Lucca Italy where the street goes for almost a mile. I spend over two hours looking.

7. If you’re traveling in a group, split up in the market. The aisles are usually small and crowds make getting in and out of stalls difficult for multiple people who are trying to stay together. Do it solo and you will notice a much more enjoyable experience.

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