5 tips for shopping on vacation.

Do you go shopping on vacation? I was cleaning out my closet recently when I realized something interesting: most of my very favorite pieces of clothing are things I’ve bought on trips.

I am a frequent vacation shopper, for many reasons. I’ve found Halston in New Orleans, cashmere in Vegas, and Vince in Seattle. Every time I wear one of these pieces, I fondly remember the city I was in, who I was with, the way I was feeling…each item is a great souvenir. In fact, I’m in DC right now, where I just snapped up these Rag and Bone classic Newbury booties on supercrazy sale.

shopping on vacation

I can’t believe how cheap these were at Saks Off 5th in DC!

Shopping on vacation can be awesome (great finds, fun times) or it can be awful (hours and money wasted). To maximize your chances of greatness, there are a few simple things you can do.

Top 5 Tips For Shopping On Vacation

  1. When in Rome…
    • This one’s easy. Headed to Miami? Stock up on bikinis and sunglasses. Going to Vancouver? Look for a winter coat. When you search for a city’s must-have pieces, you’ll find plenty of selection and sales, but when you flip the script, it’s easy to end up frustrated.
  2. Ask around
    • Now’s the time to poll your friends on Facebook for the best boutiques, thrift shops, shoe stores, etc. in the city you’ll be visiting. Getting personal recommendations from people who know your style is priceless. If you’re the first in your group to visit a city, never fear: Yelp is also your friend.
  3. Save space
    • You know the expression “Pack a pair and a spare”? Now’s the time to put this saying into action…but with a suitcase and a duffel. If you’re planning to go shopping on vacation, fold a small duffel bag into your suitcase. Case in point: this post, about the time my friend Hottie and I went wild in a Seattle thrift shop.
  4. Take your time
    • Usually, the best discoveries happen when you’re just wandering around. I’ve stumbled upon many a find while I was simply ambling through a cool neighborhood. This is also where most of my favorite pieces have come from.
  5. Don’t “Just Do It”
    • So you’re in New York, arguably the shopping capital of the world, and you’re just not feeling it? It’s all right – it happens to the best of us 🙂 Better to back away from the boutiques than to dive in an end up with something you don’t really need.

Do you have any tips for shopping on vacation? Share in the comments!


  1. Look for coupons in tourist magazines; i.e. the ones that the tourism board publishes. I don’t know if they do it anymore, but I found a coupon for a free G.L. tote bag. It was very touristy for Paris, but when I got back home….perfect for carrying my college books and notes!

    Also, look for local restaurant coupon freebies. In OBX, there’s free coffee. In Charleston, free appetizers. Look, while shopping one has to eat, right?

    And if one is hesitant to shop, why not focus on accessories? How about updating a scarf or hat? Or belt? Or earrings? Or even a key chain?? It doesn’t have to be expensive…just something perhaps a little bit different (i.e. reflects the local culture or place) to be memorable! For example, how about a nice pair of knitted gloves from Scotland? Or a cherry blossom scarf from Japan? If one is scared of buying a coat, then how about a cute little pendant from a local boutique? It adds charm without the stress.

    Don’t be afraid to be a little bit touristy in one’s purchases while travelling, either. You don’t live there- you’re visiting, right? So what if it might seem a little tacky to use an umbrella that has a picture of Monet’s Garden in Paris? When you get home and it rains, those flowers will bring a bright spot to a dreary day!

    One of my fave purchases in Paris was a shirt from Kookai. Loved that place! Just a simple little shirt that symbolized a happy year of my life.

    Go shopping people. Start small; no purchase has to be grand. Just something that brings a smile to your face when you get home!

    • Points Pixie says

      Icicle – Where should I start? As always, you are awesome. Thank you for the great suggestions. Thank you for being such a loyal reader over the years. And thank you for my favorite quote of the day, “Go shopping, people!”


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