One of my favourite things to do when I travel is to shop the local flea markets. There's nothing more thrilling than finding that one-of-a-kind piece on holiday.
Here are my top tips for successful fleaing
Most vendors don't have credit card facilities. If you are running short, you can always leave a deposit with a vendor and dash to an ATM to seal the deal.
Get There Early
You'll want to have first pick of the good stuff so check the market's website beforehand for opening times. But if you can't go until later, vendors often give good deals at the end of the day. This works well if you're not looking for anything in particular.
Vendors usually go down to around 10—15% per cent of their original asking price, so start by asking what's the best they can do. Don't insult them with an unreasonable offer.
Pack A Snack and Water
Many of the markets have great food stands but you may not want to stop rummaging for treasures if you're on a roll.
Dress the part
Wear comfortable walking shoes and layers, as the temperature may change. Bring a hat, and sunglasses and sunscreen. Don't wear expensive jewellery if you want to haggle.
Map it Out
Use a location map (check the market's website and print it out). Mark any vendors of interest so that you can find them again later. If you don't have a map, jot down market stall numbers.
A few of my favourites:
Italy / Lucca / Il Mercatino dell'Antiquariato a Lucca
The beautiful Italian town of Lucca hosts Il Mercatino dell'Antiquariato a Lucca (The Antiques Market in Lucca) once a month. You can find antiques, paintings, sculptures, linen, carpets, vintage silver, and crockery.
France / Paris / Puces de Porte de Vanves
Not as well known and much smaller than the Marche aux Puce de St-Ouen/ Puces de Clignancourt, this brocante is in a quiet corner of the city. Held Saturday & Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Also worth a visit is the Brocante de la place d'Aligre located in the heart of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine and near one of the most delightful food markets in Paris, the Marché d'Aligre.
Both of these flea markets are favoured by the locals more than tourists which means that there are less English-speaking vendors, so it's best to brush up on your Français! France has so many great brocantes that you will surely find one near where you're visiting.
United States / Los Angeles, CA / Rose Bowl Flea Market Pasadena
California's famous Rose Bowl Flea Market held on the second Sunday of every month—here you'll find everything from classic west coast Americana and great vintage collectables. There's even a make-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar!
United States / Brimfield, MA / Brimfield Antique Flea Market
America's oldest outdoor flea market, The Brimfield Flea Market is a colossal event that takes place over a week three times a year.
You can find just about anything here. It's a good idea to plan a few days to shop this market.
United States / New Milford, CT /The Elephant's Trunk Country Flea Market
New England's largest weekly flea market is a truly authentic experience. A wide selection of furniture, collectibles, vintage toys, crystal, crockery, silverware, and clothing.
Australia / Melbourne, VIC / The Camberwell Market
This market has a great variety of antiques, painting, vintage treasures, and furniture. Sundays, 7:00 a.m.