How to Shop for Vintage and Antiques When You’re Traveling

by | Travel

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Taking a road trip? It’s my favorite way to shop for vintage home decor and furniture items! Check out some easy tips to help you make the most of your travels!​

Do you love taking road trips?  It’s become a favorite way to travel for our family and my kids have even learned to tolerate…maybe even appreciate, a little…some extra pieces tucked into our vehicle throughout the trip!

Over the years of taking road trips with our family, we have figured out a few tips and tricks that have helped us to add some great vintage pieces to our home!  They are the perfect “souvenirs” and I love how even the smallest pieces help tell our home story.

In case these tips could help anyone else, I’m sharing them here on the blog today for my monthly Thrifting with the Gals post!  I love joining these friends each month to share all of our favorite things about thrifting, vintage, and decor!  You’ll love visiting each of them today:

Jen from Midwest Life and Style is our guest host this month and you’re going to love her blog!  She also has a beautiful Instagram account where I always find lovely inspiration.

 I really enjoy following along with her casual, family-friendly style and I’ve loved getting to spend some time with her in person at the Haven Conference too!  We enjoyed some great tacos together last year!

Enough about that and back to decorating…haha!

How to Shop for Vintage and Antiques When You’re Traveling

1. Use your phone to help you shop for vintage pieces!

This is a fun and handy little tip.  My husband is actually the one who usually works his magic with this and it’s a great way to find places to shop that may not be advertised on road signs.

  1. Open up the map app on your phone.
  2. Move the map around to the area you want to shop.
  3. Search “antiques” or “vintage” or another favorite search term.
  4. VOILA!  You have a sorted shopping list plotted on a map!

2. Things to Bring From Home

There are a few things that I add to my road trip packing list that wouldn’t be there if I didn’t plan to hopefully shop for some vintage finds along the way!  Save this list to your packing organization for your next trip!

  • List of measurements from home (main walls, shelves, spaces you like to decorate or where you’re looking for specific pieces for)
  • Tape measure
  • Packing paper or a small roll of bubble wrap
  • If we have room, a plastic tote to keep small items from rolling around and to protect breakables (though to be honest, I try to just not purchase too many breakables if we are on a family trip…that can be a bit stressful!)

3. Use social media to help you shop for vintage items!

Once we’ve located a possible stop, I always check Facebook and Instagram to see if the store has an online presence.  I’ve been to great places that DON’T have social media, but if they happen to have pictures online, I can usually get somewhat of an idea if it’s my style or not.

I’ve also reached out to friends when we are traveling to see if they have any recommendations.  I know many of YOU have reached out to me for thrifting ideas here in South Florida!  It’s a great way to learn about places to go and a personal reference is always helpful!

4. Call ahead for store hours!

If time is an issue, I always try to call the store to check their hours.  Sometimes the hours are not updated online and we’ve definitely missed some great spots because we didn’t know the correct store hours!

To be honest, customer service is a big deal to me, so I can usually get an idea over the phone if I’m going to enjoy a stop or not!

5. What if your dream piece doesn’t fit in the car or your suitcase?

I don’t even want to start down the road of how many pieces I’ve had to leave behind!  However, we have also had a few “must-have” items shipped home and that can be a great solution.  If a shop owner is able to help you with shipping, that is especially wonderful, but often you need to arrange it on your own.  We have had great success with U-Ship in the past!

Tip: Be patient and make sure you have plenty of time, both on the processing end and then back home on the waiting end.  It is a process to arrange and you may not get your item right away.  If it’s “must-have” enough, it’ll be worth the wait!

6. Pay attention to pricing when you shop for vintage items on a road trip!

It is always so interesting to me. how different the prices are depending on the location.  In addition, the price of different kinds of items can vary so much too!  

For example, I can sometimes find ironstone for a steal in Florida because it isn’t as highly sought after.  However, an ironstone piece in an antique mall in the Carolinas could cost me a lot more.  At the same time, I bought vintage coral for a couple of dollars at a shop in North Carolina  where it would have cost over $30-40 here in Florida.

7. Shop for vintage items with purpose and intention.

Before I get started, let me just say that strolling and browsing just for the sake of it is one of the most relaxing things I can do.  I LOVE it!  When I say shop for vintage items with purpose and intention, I am referring mostly to your actual purchases.

ometimes I buy special things on a whim, but often, I have a place in mind where I can use it or I know it will tie in perfectly with my existing decor.  I am very careful with seasonal items, but if a piece is unique and I know I will use it for a long time to come, that sometimes gets added to my collection.

My family purchased this little stoneware piece for my birthday from an antique shop in Colorado!  I love it because I’ll always remember that special trip when I use it for decorating.  At the same time, it is something I can actually use because it goes perfectly with my collection!

Tip: Avoid buying just for the sake of buying.  Rather, focus on pieces that you know you can use and enjoy for a long time to come!

I hope this gives you a few tips and ideas for your next vintage-hunting road trip!  The fun is really in the unexpected and the discovery of new places, so enjoy!

I’ve included a lot of pictures in this post from that sweet antique shop in Silverton, Colorado. You’ll have to browse through and tell me what you would have wanted to bring home from this trip!

Hint: I wanted more than would ever fit in my suitcase and needed more time than my patient children could bear. 😂

Make sure to check out the other Thrifting with the Gals posts today!  There’s always loads of inspiration, styling ideas, DIY, and tips to help you get the most out of your thrifting experiences too!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  











(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Posts on Robyn’s French Nest may contain affiliate links. You can see our full disclosure details here.)

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