Weekend Plans? Map Out the Perfect Vintage Shopping Field Trip

As a hardcore vintage shopper, I know most of the flea market and thrift store spots in Los Angeles in and out and up and down. I have my favorites, but I was recently feeling like I needed to step out of my comfort zone a bit and get a little adventurous. 

Photo by: Graphic: Erica Reitman

Graphic: Erica Reitman

I decided to start planning some vintage shopping field trips. These trips have been such a fun way to check out some new areas, find fab vintage shopping sources and eat some delicious meals.

Here are some tips you can follow to plan your own vintage shopping field trips, no matter where you live.

 Pick Your Spot

If you're not sure where to start, take a look at a map of your surrounding area and choose a city or town that's 30 minutes to one hour away from where you live. If there's an area that you've always wanted to check out, start there! Especially if you know of an area nearby that has any fun tourist spots you were hoping to visit. If you're still not sure where to go, pick a spot and search "what to do in X" and see what comes up.

 Work Up an Appetite

Once you decide on where to go for your field trip, now it's time to start your research. I like to head out on my field trips early in the morning, so I always try to track down the best breakfast spot in whatever town I'll be hitting up. I use Yelp to track down a good restaurant. You can type in "best breakfast" or "best lunch" along with the city, then start scrolling through the results and reading the reviews. If you're not a Yelp fan (or you like to do double research!), Foursquare is another source that would be helpful in finding the perfect spot.

 Create an Itinerary

After I find my field trip breakfast stop, I start to research the thrift store and flea options in my chosen area. I like to do a three-prong approach of using Yelp, Foursquare and Google to search "best vintage shops in X." Once I find some good spots (I typically try to find at least three), I start to put together the itinerary for the day based on the location of each shop. Google Maps will help you figure out where to start first. If you're not having any luck finding vintage spots in the area you chose, try searching for Goodwill or The Salvation Army stores in the area. If you still can't find any good spots, it's time to go back to the map and pick another town!

 Have Even More Fun

Once my vintage itinerary is put together, I like to see if there are any other fun tourist spots in the city I chose that shouldn't be missed. I like to search for "things to do in X" or look for specific things like "farmstands in X" or "wine tasting in X" and see what comes up. If I'm lucky enough to find something else that I think looks like fun, I usually add that to the end of the itinerary and hit up that spot before heading home.

 More Tips to Try

Once my whole day is planned out, I like to take note of all of the addresses of each spot so that I can easily pop them into my car's navigator.

I always bring an extra empty tote bag or two in case I get lucky with my vintage shopping. I also keep an extra packing blanket in the car and some rope in case I find anything that's fragile or extra large.

I like to search "flea market in X" or "swap meet in X" to see if there are any special events going on on the day I’ll be there.

Have fun hitting the road on your vintage shopping field trip!

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