how to: plan a thriftcation

I’m heading out on a weekend-long road trip with my beau tomorrow and I’ve got to be honest—instead of thinking about the fancy condo waitin’ for us (there’s a fireplace!) or all the fun things we’ll do and see, I’ve been busy daydreaming about the thrifts we’ll be hitting on the way! It’s a cheap, addictive thrill, exploring out-of-town thrift stores. But in order to maximize your time and not miss any gems, there’s a fair amount of preparation to do before you hit the road. Since this topic’s fresh on my mind, tonight I thought I’d quickly share a few do’s and don’ts for thriftcation planning.


Ask around. Before I embark on any significant thrifting trip, I ask friends and acquaintances familiar with my destination for their suggestions. Don’t know anyone where you’re headed? That’s what Twitter is for! Another trick: Once you’re shopping around a small town thrift, ask an employee if there are any other stores in the area. More often than not, they’ll have great suggestions for you.

Do map out your route. Look to see what towns are on the way, and then look up to see what stores are easy to access from the highway. I have three must-stop-spots  between Minneapolis and my hometown that are within a painless five minutes of I-94. It just seems silly not to pop in when they’re right there!

Do update your apps. My most recent happy app discovery is the FREE Craigslist app. You can find details about the other iPhone apps I rely on when I’m out thrifting here.

Do keep your eyes open. Tons of estate sales, flea markets, garage sales and thrift store listings never find their way to the great world wide web. Gas-station signs, church bulletin boards, fliers on a telephone pole, ads in a community newspaper, sandwich board signs—look out for them all!


Don’t blow your budget just because you’re out of town. It’s easy to lose your head when you’re on the road, trust me, I know. Avoid buyer’s remorse by staying true to your normal high standards for quality.

Don’t ignore who you’re thrifting with. My boyfriend has a saintly level of patience when it comes to my thrifting addiction, but even the most heaven-sent companions have their limits. Don’t wear your partner in crime out or you might not have a buddy for your next trip!

Don’t forget to eat. Stopping for breakfast at a greasy spoon diner or breaking for a milkshake along the way make thrifting road trips way more fun, not to mention more memorable. (Have I mentioned I just like to eat?)

I hope these dos and don’ts come in handy the next time you set out to plan a road trip. As for me, I’d better sign off so I can finish packing…our 5 a.m. departure time is going to roll around before I know it. I hope y’all have beautiful weekends!



P.S. The photo above was taken last May at the Am Vets thrift store in Memphis, Tennessee, conveniently located just down the street from Graceland. :-)

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