Shopping Like a Local

As someone who enjoys travel and shopping, and usually both all at once, I'm always curious about the trendy local places. Growing up in New Orleans, I learned that Magazine Street is the place to go for anything from a party frock to a new costume. The well known area is brimming with unique boutiques and local favorites. Stores like Funky Monkey, Wish, and Frock Candy are nestled between area coffee shops and quaint galleries. The shopping experience is definitely one of a kind. Once I moved to Dallas I had a major shopping paradigm shift. I couldn't find endless blocks of shops like Magazine Street offers. Boutiques were harder to come by, and the miles between my bus line and the nearest mall seemed like an eternity. Eventually I found my way around Dallas and wandered into the wonderful uptown neighborhood of what is known as West Village. It's a small square, a collective blend of restaurants, boutiques, and name brand stores. Aside from just shopping, West Village is the perfect spot for a relaxing Friday night, offering dinner options, a small theatre, and an active trolley which runs into the Arts District. This is definitely a destination to keep in mind next time you're passing through Dallas.

An even bigger shopping challenge than moving however, is shopping overseas or in an unfamiliar country. I've had the wonderful opportunity of traveling to other countries. In the Philippines I stood in awe inside the Mall of Asia. They had a Topshop before most Americans had even heard of the brand! Tomato? Cutest jeans I've ever spent twenty bucks on. Though each time I find myself outside of a mall and in a local market, I am simply puzzled about my shopping etiquette. Being the cheapskate that I am, my question is always the same, to haggle or not to haggle. To prevent myself from misinforming you the reader, I asked a close friend who has lived in and traveled to dozens of countries what her idea on this topic is. Her simple answer was "My only advice is when at the market in so developing nation don't bargain too hard; they have families to feed but 99% of the time you are getting ripped off." Well said! Though you do have control over what you're "getting ripped off" on. While in Haiti I bought several pieces of jewelry that are still in tact. All together the pieces probably cost about ten dollars. A worthy investment even if they do fall apart in time.

If you're planning a trip to a new destination and want to know how to shop like a local, the internet has never been more useful. Sites like Tripadvisor and Urbanspoon make it easier than ever to hear what people who have been there and done it really think. When traveling overseas always remember to have your currency traded at a bank and try not to bargain too hard!