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When travel.SE was shiny and new I asked a very similar question which became a point of controversy but in the end it has remained open and thought to be on-topic under the circumstances.

Sadly I left the tent I bought in Bulgaria in the van of some guys I travelled with for a couple of days. Happily it had served me well and wouldn't've been good in rain anyway.

But now I'm in Sarandë, southern Albania and will soon cross Greece to Turkey. Since Greece is less cheap I've been thinking it would be really nice to camp. But I have no idea which country will be better for buying a cheap tent. Last time I got the cheapest one in Carrefour. I don't think Albania has Carrefour and I don't know what chains if any they do have. I also don't know what cheap chains are in Greece. Maybe I can get something cheaper in Albania since it's a cheap country, but maybe the country is too poor for a camping culture and it will be easier to find in Greece? Being the Balkans it's not so easy to get a rational answer about a nearby country when asking a local for advice.

I just want cheap, doesn't have to last more than a few months. No North Face brand name type stuff required.

So Albania or Greece and what shops / stores / markets / chains / malls should I look out for?

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Is it easier and/or cheaper to replace my lost tent in Albania or Greece?

Greece.

Southern Albania is even more primitive than the rest of the country. My personal experience is somewhat dated and the roads at least have improved greatly since but when I was there it was almost impossible to find anything to buy, let alone a tent and I cannot envisage progress has yet reached the age of the supermarket, let alone a hypermarket. Google Maps is only aware of one shop (Telekom Shop) in the town.

Wikivoyage for shops has Myrtaj Shop.

However though attractive to tourists there seems to be little demand for tents in the area (the hills may still be dangerous) and without competition the price, if you could source one, would surely not be cheap.

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Generally speaking

The CIA World Factbook has a lot of facts about both countries:

Albania:

  • Inflation is low and stable.
  • GDP (purchasing power parity): $23.86 billion USD (2010 est.)
  • GDP - per capita (PPP): $8,000 USD (2010 est.)

Greece:

  • GDP (purchasing power parity): $318.1 USD billion (2010 est.)
  • GDP - per capita (PPP): $29,600 USD (2010 est.)

The GDP per capita is way higher in Greece, so I would assume that the general price level is also higher there. So from a budget point of view I would argue to buy the tent in Albania. The reasons are twofold: 1. To preserve your money and 2. to support the poor Albanian economy.

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    It might also depend on which of the two countries camping is a more popular activity. Expect higher prices in a country where camping equipment stores aren't easily found! – Ankur Banerjee Oct 31 '11 at 15:46
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    The problem turned out to be that I could not find tents for sale in either country, even when asking locals! – hippietrail Oct 31 '11 at 15:55

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