Flea Market Tips
Thrift
May 14, 2024

Flea Market Tips

Thrifting
Flea Market
Shopping
Vintage

Shopping at flea markets can be fun, but also a bit overwhelming. I'm sharing some of my tips to help you have a successful experience!

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I've been shopping at flea markets for years and love them! They're the perfect way to get my fix for hunting for vintage treasures, plus experience something a little outside of the norm of thrifting. While they can be a lot of fun, you do want to be prepared to shop, so you can be successful.

One of the hardest parts of shopping at a flea market is that they're normally outdoors, so weather is always a factor. Depending on what time of year the market is going, weather can be cold and rainy or extremely hot.

My best tip is to dress comfortably, including wearing good shoes for walking, but if there's going to be mud, you may want to include some boots in your outfit as well. I almost always take a change of clothes with me to leave in the car...just in case.

Also, layers are a great way to dress, so you can take off or add on, depending on what the weather is doing. Along with the right clothes, it can be good to add a rain jacket, stocking cap, gloves, and an umbrella to your stash.

supplies for going to the flea market. cooler bag, tape measure, wet wipes, cash, hand sanitizer

I normally take some sort of folding shopping cart with me to flea markets, since I don't want to have to physically carry everything with me. Most markets will stamp your hand, so you can go in and out as needed to unload, if your cart fills up.

In addition to the cart, I carry a backpack for my extras: snacks + water, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, tape measure, etc. I make sure to have an easily accessible spot for my cash as well. If you don't feel comfortable carrying your money behind your back, a small cross body would be a good idea as well.

I always take my credit card, checkbook, and plenty of cash to every event, since I never know what forms of payment people will accept. Also, technology doesn't always like to work, so having good old fashioned cash is a great idea. Cash is also king, since most credit card companies are charging big fees, which sellers are passing on to buyers.

Also, take lots of smaller bills. It's easier to haggle if you're not going to hand the seller a big bill and ask for change back. *Do remember, though, it takes a lot of time to source, clean, and haul these vintage treasures, so don't try to low-ball the sellers too much.

two blonde women at the what cheer flea market in Iowa with their vintage finds
blonde woman pulling a folding cart at a flea market
blonde woman standing in a field with a pull cart filled with vintage finds from a flea market a

Most markets will have food on the premises, but if you get hangry like I do, you'll want to have snacks available to you. It's also a great way to save money, if you don't want to have to buy food there.

I like the experience of getting to try what they have, so I don't pack a lunch or anything, but that is always an option. You could pack a cooler and use your lunch break as an opportunity to unload your purchases into your vehicle.

Speaking of vehicles...depending on what you're shopping for, you'll want to make sure you can fit your purchases in! I always make sure to take everything out of my car, have the seats folded down, and put down a blanket...just in case. I also bring along extra shopping bags and wrapping materials, since not everyone provides those things.

In addition, doing a pre-measure of your car will help you know if that really amazing piece is going to fit or not. At this point, I have a pretty good idea of what will and won't fit into my car. Just in case, the tape measure you bring along will definitely come in handy!

vintage pink ceramic vase
wooden shelves with well-worn quilts at a flea market
pink vintage hardware holder with two jars on top
collection of miniature books

While it's impossible to be completely prepared for what a flea market might throw at you (especially if it's at an outdoor venue), I think all of these tips will help you to have a much more enjoyable experience than going in without thinking about it ahead of time.

Every time I get annoyed that I'm hauling so much stuff along with me, something will happen and I'll need something from my "bag of tricks" and I'm so happy that I was prepared!

Not a complete list, but here are some of the things I find helpful to take along with me for shopping at a flea market:

FLEA MARKET CHECKLIST

  • Comfortable clothes + shoes (be sure to check the forecast)
  • Hat, gloves, rain jacket, rubber boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Pull cart
  • Backpack
  • Snacks + drinks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Umbrella
  • Cash (I take all forms of payment, just in case)
  • Tape measure
  • Shopping bags and wrap for breakables
  • Wet wipes

I hope you find these tips helpful the next time you're headed to the flea market! Is there anything you would add to the list?

Thrifting
Flea Market
Shopping
Vintage

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