A British Guide To Haggling – Part 4: Buying Abroad

Inside La Sommette Brocante Classic Brocante May 2017
Inside La Sommette Brocante

Buying stock abroad

Hunting and buying stock abroad can be a very rewarding experience. However, there are some essential guidelines to follow and keep in mind to be successful:

Where you go and how you travel

Europe is a great place to find and purchase antiques and vintage items. France would possibly rank highest for the volume of products available, quality and desirability of items. French items, in particular fabrics, cookware or kitchenalia, glassware and clocks are always in demand. The important thing to remember is to purchase at the right price to ensure you can make a profit.

Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and eastern Europe are also, in our experience, great countries to buy stock from. Research items that are common to the country or area is a great way to obtain stock at a cheaper cost, due to certain items being plentiful. Remember, items that are common and less desirable in one country, can be in demand, un-common and fetch a higher price in another.

The currency exchange rate

It is critical to know how much you exchanged you Pounds Stirling for the foreign currency, being used in the country you are trading. You can often get much better rates if you order higher quantities of currency. London also usually offers slightly better rates if you are located in or travelling through London on your journey. It’s always better to get a bit more than you plan on spending, as currency exchange whilst overseas can be more expensive.


How you intend to travel, can also affect where you can travel and how much stock you can bring back.

Air travel

Restrictions on baggage allowance, and customs import restrictions.

Coach travel

Restrictions on how much stock you can bring back. There are specialist coach buying trips available which can be very attractive, if you don’t want to drive abroad, need some guided introduction, and like to travel and socialise with like-minded traders. You are taken to some of the large continental flea markets, given tips and useful information, and escorted to help you achieve a pleasurable and successful buying experience.

Language barriers

The process of haggling and buying is the same as above in the UK. Some countries even encourage and expect haggling.

Take your time and don’t get confused or flustered. You can always go away to a quiet corner and ensure you have understood the figures.

Remember the currency exchange rate. e.g. 1 euro = 86p or other.

A lot of traders do speak English, but others don’t or won’t, so be prepared to work through a translation process. Learn the simple everyday words of the language, hello, thank you, goodbye, the price please, are other useful words. Translation apps are also useful if you use a smartphone.

A notebook and pen is also a useful tool when negotiating the price in numbers, passing it between seller and buyer until an agreed figure is reached.

When a deal is reached, a handshake (not essential these days) and cheery thank you is always good practice.

If you missed the earlier parts of our guide to haggling, you can view them below:

Part 3 – Antique Shops, Emporiums & Charity Shops

Part 2 – Car Boot Sales

Part 1 – Buying Grounds & 5 Top Tips