One of my favorite pastimes during the holidays: scouring new stores and flea markets for great decorations for my apartment. If you love looking for home decor while traveling, but are a little nervous about getting everything home safely, especially on a plane, we’re here to help you rip off the bandaid. Below, I’ll share my best tips on how to prepare for a shopping trip, what to look for on the go, and how to pack everything and let it shine in your space.
How to prepare for a shopping trip
A little research can go a long way. When I travel to a new area, I like to look for local home decor and vintage shops beforehand. Instagram, Google, and Pinterest are great places to start your search. Now that some of the preparatory work is done, you don’t have to spend your precious vacation time searching for new locales. Then, make a list of potential locations in the Notes section of your iPhone so you don’t forget which places looked interesting. Also, be sure to note which stores are located in which areas. This will help you save time and money when moving to a new city.
Things to keep in mind while traveling
As you might imagine, it’s best to choose small, light, and unbreakable items when traveling (which means heavy books and sculptures on your coffee table should be left behind, unless they’re truly unique!) . I also like to focus on things that aren’t often found in my local city, and as a result, I approach shopping when I travel with more care.
As time went on, I noticed that many home decor stores around the country tended to sell the same types of things. So while a wicker-wrapped glass may be adorable, you can probably leave it behind and find something similar in your hometown (without having to worry about it getting damaged on the flight home). there is no!). Rather, I like to pick up bargains that represent a particular region. Assuming they complement my decor. For example, when I visit friends who live in horse racing country in Virginia, I always love to explore all things equestrian-related.
How to take it home
In this context, you may be wondering how you should plan to bring your treasure back on board. To be honest, I feel like I’ve got this down to a science. If I plan on shopping while traveling (which I almost always do), I like to pack a small duffel bag or tote bag in my carry-on suitcase. No need to buy anything new here. Take a look inside your closet and see if you can find something that is collapsible, lightweight, and expandable to accommodate a significant number of items if needed. For example, a large Longchamp tote, a gym duffel bag, or a reusable TJ Maxx bag are good choices.
Place this bag at the bottom of your suitcase and plan to take it out on your return trip if necessary. This way, if you score big on your trip, you can leave your suitcase and bring this second bag in your carry-on along with your personal belongings. There will likely be a fee to check your luggage, but if you’re going to leave with a bag full of treasures, the $30 or so expense feels worth it.
Now comes the most important part. Style new discoveries in your space. I love scooping up nightstands, built-in shelves, coffee tables, and anything else I can display. For example, my collection of vintage brass candlesticks is organized on a sideboard. When I find cute little plates and figurines, I like to display them next to my pile of books to add some personality to my space. Matchbooks are fun to collect while traveling and are completely free. Be sure to pick up a few to commemorate the various restaurants you visited during your trip. When you get home, display your favorites on a crystal plate. They instantly add personality and charm to any vignette.