The companion you need for every business in Atwerpen

Several years ago, the city of Antwerpen, also Antwer or Anvers was a mere city with a several ‘invisible’ potentials. No one knows what is so good with the city until the escort agency business showing its nose to the public while moving the city into one of the respectable cities in Europe. This industry soon began the major earner to the city even to the country as well as the escort business became more and more popular. It is none other than the Antwerpen call girls who give the major impact to the city movement while giving the best service and best impression to their clients.

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Shopping Abroad A Travelers Guide

Some travelers get to know a place through its museums and monuments, others through its scenic landscapes orindexqqqa traditional cuisine. But for globetrotters who love to shop, there’s no truer way to experience a place than by haggling with merchants in a bazaar, browsing the handcrafted wares of local artisans or sampling designer duds at the poshest boutique in town.

Shopping in a foreign country can be exciting and rewarding, but it’s not without its pitfalls. The intricate art of haggling is often a challenge for visitors used to fixed prices at their mall at home, and the sea of cheap knock-offs and tacky souvenirs in just about any major tourist destination makes it difficult to tell when you’ve found a true local gem. Become a savvier shopper with our tips for avoiding fakes, haggling like a pro and getting your goods home at the end of your trip.

Finding Genuine Local Goods

How do you know whether that cute handbag is a genuine designer item or if you’re getting a good deal on that amazing carpet at the Turkish bazaar? Our rule of thumb is simple: research, research, research. Sure, window shopping and spontaneous spending are fun, but if you’re looking to make a major purchase, you’ll want to do your homework to make sure you’re getting a good deal — and the real deal.

If you know you’re in the market for a certain item, such as blown glass in Venice or a traditional kimono in Japan, do some reading ahead of time to learn what to look for when shopping at your destination. Which qualities ensure that the item is genuine? Which scams should you keep an eye out for? A good guidebook can be invaluable here, offering purchasing tips as well as recommendations for reputable shops and markets.

Another good bet is to consult the concierge at your hotel; he or she will be able to point you to trustworthy vendors that specialize in the types of goods you’re looking for. And, of course, the Internet offers a wealth of information on any type of shopping you can imagine. Hop online before your trip to gather the wisdom of other travelers.

Once at your destination, shop around before purchasing to familiarize yourself with the range of merchandise and prices available. (Hint: If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.) Tour guides often take travelers to preselected shops for purchasing souvenirs, but use caution — your guide may get a commission on anything you buy, often resulting in inflated prices. You may get a better deal at a shop you find on your own.

For big-ticket items such as jewelry and art, make sure to get a certificate of appraisal or authenticity at the time of purchase — and, if possible, pay for your goods with a credit card. That will help protect you if you get home and discover that an item isn’t actually worth what you paid for it.

Haggling

In North America and many parts of Europe, haggling is a bit of a dying art (unless you’re on a used car lot!). But throughout the rest of the world, bargaining and bartering are a vital part of any transaction — and you’re unlikely to get a good deal unless you can master your own negotiating skills.

It’s important to be familiar with the culture of the place you’re visiting, as your haggling strategy will vary a bit from country to country. For example, in some parts of the world, it pays to be assertive and forceful when negotiating a price; in others, you’ll do better keeping your tone soft and pleasant. Check your guidebook for a rundown on local haggling customs. CultureCrossing.net is another good source of information on cultural norms, listed by country.

No matter where you’re traveling, bring a positive attitude into the transaction. Think of haggling as a game — a competitive but ultimately fun and friendly exercise. Don’t get angry or insult the seller, even if the negotiations aren’t going your way. At the end of the day, both you and the merchant should feel happy with the outcome of the deal.

Never enter a haggling situation unprepared. By the time you approach the seller, you should have already shopped around and determined approximately how much the item you want to buy is worth. We suggest having two numbers in mind: the price you’d ideally like to pay and the maximum amount you’re willing to spend.

Here’s a handy tip: If you’re paying in cash, set aside the money that you’re prepared to spend and keep it in your wallet; move the rest of your bills elsewhere. This serves two purposes. You can give the merchant visual evidence that this amount is the most you can possibly pay (“See? This is all I have!”), and it also helps prevent you from going over your own self-imposed price limit.

On a related note, be sure to carry plenty of small bills so that you can pay the exact price of your item. Occasionally a merchant will claim that he can’t make change for larger bills, hoping to convince you to let him keep the excess amount.

Make the seller begin the negotiations by waiting for him to make the initial offer. If you’re not sure how much to counteroffer, a good rule of thumb is to halve the initial price and negotiate from there. (As noted above, though, this strategy may vary from country to country.)

Traveling with a companion? Discuss who’s going to do the talking and what you’re willing to pay before you enter the shop and start haggling — that way you can present a united front (and your husband won’t ruin the deal right off the bat with an opening offer that’s higher than the maximum you want to spend).

Don’t show too much interest in the item you’re negotiating for, no matter how desperately you want it. Looking too eager tells a savvy merchant that you’re willing to pay a pretty penny to avoid walking out without that must-have item. In fact, you should be willing to walk; when you do so, you’ll often find the merchant following you into the street with a new, lower counteroffer.

Don’t rush the transaction. Negotiating a deal that works for both parties can take time — so enjoy the process and go with the flow. (This is a tactical advantage too; if you appear to be in a hurry, the seller may think you’ll settle for a higher price just to get out of there.)

That said, if the negotiations have gone on for a while and you’ve reached a stalemate over the last $5 or $10 difference in price, it may be time to let it go. What will you regret more — leaving behind a unique memento of your trip or spending a few extra bucks? Remember, too: Odds are that if you’re traveling in a developing country, the merchant probably needs that additional $5 or $10 more than you do.

Getting Your Purchases Home

Dedicated shopaholics know to leave plenty of room in their suitcases for souvenirs — or even pack an additional bag to fit the extras. Duffel bags are a good bet to serve as your extra bag because they fold easily and don’t take up much space, but their flimsiness makes them appropriate only for dirty clothes and other unbreakable items, not your new porcelain vase. Valuable or delicate items should be wrapped carefully and stowed in your carry-on.

Occasionally you’ll purchase something that’s too large, heavy or fragile to carry home yourself. In these cases, you’ll need to decide between having the store ship the item for you (which isn’t always an option when buying from smaller merchants) and shipping it yourself.

If you’re having the merchant take care of the shipping, be sure to buy insurance for the item, pay with a credit card, and get an itemized receipt specifying exactly what you purchased and how it will be shipped.

If you’ll be doing the shipping yourself, pack the item careful and label the box with the contents of the package, the monetary value of those contents, and either “Personal Use Purchase” or “Unsolicited Gift” (for Customs purposes). Your hotel concierge may be able to mail the package for you; alternatively, you can visit the local post office or seek out the nearest UPS, DHL or FedEx office (visit their websites for a list of locations). Again, purchase insurance for your package and pay with a credit card for the utmost protection.

Paying Duty

Back in your own country, your goods will have to clear customs before you can bring them home. In general, U.S. residents are permitted to bring up to $800 worth of merchandise back from a trip without having to pay duty (numerous exceptions apply). For goods that you ship home, up to $200 is exempt from duty. Customs will inspect your packages when they arrive in the U.S., and if you owe duty you’ll have to pay it when your package is delivered.

Fighting Jet Lag: Tips from Our Readers

For seasoned globetrotters, jet lag is an all-too-familiar part of international travel — the fatigue, the disorientation, and especially that pesky inner alarm that wakes you up at 4 a.m. and sends you stumbling back to bed before dinnertime.

While there’s no real cure for jet lag, there are certain things you can do to minimize its effects — just ask our members! We turned to IndependentTraveler.com readers to see how they deal with jet lag and were surprised at the diversity of the responses. Some travelers pop pills, while others rely on medication of the alcoholic variety. Many of our readers strictly hold off on sleep until it’s bedtime in their new time zone, while others say the more naps, the merrier. Check out their tips and share your own!

Pill-Popping, Part I
“Having made two trips to Italy this year, I will recommend No-Jet-Lag pills. I found that if I followed the directions fairly closely they worked well.

“I cannot sleep on planes. I have always made it a practice when going to Europe to get off the plane, check into the hotel and then walk. I never did take a nap. With these pills, while I knew I had not had any sleep, I did not feel worn out and on both trips stayed up easily until 10 p.m. and had no trouble waking up at a decent time (6 a.m. or so) in the morning. I had none of the waking up at 2 a.m. and not being able to go back to sleep. Since I always wake up once or twice a night (an age thing), I was pleased that I had no trouble going back to sleep.”— Host Ciao

Tire Yourself Out
“Usually I am tired when I board a flight due to racing around making all of the arrangements to leave home for an extended length of time, as well as packing. So I often annoy the friends I travel with by falling asleep almost as soon as I fasten the seat belt. If there is ever any problem with being able to sleep, one of those little airline bottles of red wine will usually do the trick. I also keep something to read with me at all times so that if I can’t sleep immediately, I can read and that may make me sleepy again.

“When I arrive, I usually try to do something requiring me to remain active all day so that sleeping is impossible. Then I go to bed at the normal time for wherever I am. The next morning, I am on local time.

“I do have one tip that helps me to be able to be active my first day. I wear some travel socks available in most travel stores that improve circulation. I have poor circulation in my legs anyway, so swelling during long flights is a problem unless I wear these socks. If I can arrive with my lower legs and feet not feeling like clubs, it is easier to be up and active.” — Traveling Granny

Reset Your Internal Clock
“What I do is try to start shifting to the new time zone a day or two beforehand … go to bed earlier (or later, depending). And once I get to the new place, I try to force myself into the new schedule right away rather than napping or whatever.

“Oh, and obviously I do all the standard ‘take care of your body’ stuff like drinking lots of water, moving around on the plane and eating healthy.” — soliteyah

Pill-Popping, Part II
“I recently traveled to Chile (two-hour time difference during U.S. winter and their summer; no time difference during U.S. summer and Chilean winter). It was 2 1/2 hours to Miami and 8 1/2 hours to Santiago. Going I took an Ambien and slept almost not at all. Coming home I took nothing and slept at least briefly on both flights.

“You figure.

“I still haven’t figured out how to deal with jet lag and plane travel. I just wish they had a quiet section in coach where there would be just water and drinks, no dinner, no lights and no movies.” — LSKahn

Walk It Off
“When I got to Australia after nearly 24 hours in the air plus almost a day at LAX, it was 8 a.m. on a Monday morning, and I was all set to go to sleep. My innkeeper, a lovely woman, told me I wasn’t going to take a nap. I was going to have a shower and get changed, and she’d map out a fine walk for me that she knew would keep me out long enough — to try to get me on local time. Oh, how I wanted that nap, though it couldn’t match the feeling I had when the vista came up before my eyes — the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, sites I’d only ever seen in pictures.

“I have no cure for jet lag; my body just cannot take it anymore. But I’ll keep traveling and go slower the first day or two, depending upon whether or not it’s a big time change. I think drinking lots of water helps a bit; other than that, I think if one isn’t seated up in the premium cabins, where it’s actually possible to sleep, there’s no chance except to count down the hours till ya land.” — Host Bonjour

Z’s, Please!
“I can’t see how you can make up for a lack of sleep without sleeping. Staying up and that kind of thing seems to just exacerbate the problem. I travel with my daughter all over the world due to her fencing schedule. What we have finally found out through trial and error is to give ourselves a full day to acclimate before she has to fence. We leave the U.S. three days before competitions in Europe. Due to living on the West Coast it is a pretty drastic time change, usually 8 – 10 hours.

“We leave the first day (of course), then get there the next day. By the time we get to our destination it is usually mid-afternoon. We check into the hotel and take a nap. We then get up for dinner and pretend we are going to stay up late enough to sleep all night. We never do … we eat dinner and go crash again. Usually we wake up about 4 or 5 a.m. and are really hungry. I always pack snack foods for us. We chow down a bit and then go back to sleep.

“We get up for breakfast, and then go shopping for supplies and check out where we are. By 11 a.m. or so we are pooped out and take another nap. By the time we wake up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed we go down to the lobby and watch all the other fencers show up for the competition. They look terrible. We kind of laugh.” — Momster

A Little Help From Our Friends…
“What I do depends which direction I am going in! If it will be earlier in my destination, I try to get some sleep on the plane so I arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Nytol and a gin and tonic seem to help with that part!” — travelmel