Map of Nepal

One of the greatest things about exploring a new town or city is the shopping! And we’re not talking about hitting the mall nope, it’s all about the thrift shops and flea markets. These are the ultimate shopping destinations for travellers, especially those who are on a budget or looking to purchase some unique, quirky items as a keepsake from their travels.

So what are the best things to buy at flea markets or thrift shops? Sometimes the amount of stuff on offer can be overwhelming, and it can be tough to separate the quality items from the junk. To streamline your thrifty shopping experience, keep an eye out for the following things you’ll likely find your best bargains among them.

Exploring the jewellery stands at a thrift shop or flea market can lead to some really great finds. Sure, a lot of it will be cheap, old, damaged or ugly but you’re sure to find some diamonds in the rough (perhaps even literally!).

It can be hard to tell whether pieces are valuable or not when sifting through a market or thrift shop, so don’t just try to find things you think might be worth something. Instead, concentrate on finding unique pieces that you really love and will actually wear.

Furniture and homewares
These kinds of items can be tricky to shop for while travelling, as you often can’t take bulky furniture or homewares on the road with you. However, there are some great bargains to be found, and if you find something unique that you really must have, you can always have it shipped home separately.

Keep an eye out for solid wood furniture, which is a great investment and can be easily spruced up. You’ll also likely find a great array of vintage or unusual homewares, which can make for great gifts for people back home.

Second-hand smartphones
That’s right flea markets and thrift shops aren’t necessarily all about vintage! You can now find tech items at many second-hand stores and markets, and at a much cheaper price than buying new. Smartphones are a great thing to look out for they cost thousands to buy brand new, but are often donated or sold by previous owners when a new model comes out, giving you an awesome bargain.

However, be aware that if you do happen to find a great-condition second-hand iPhone, you may need to unlock the iCloud account of the previous user in order to access all its features. Check out Why The Lucky Stiff for some handy tips on unlocking iCloud accounts.

Leather items
Leather is expensive there’s no doubt about that. Brand-new leather items are a luxury for most people, but if you shop smart while travelling, you may be able to find some great pieces for a fraction of the price!
Keep an eye out for things like boots, bags, jackets and belts, all of which would set you back a lot if bought brand-new. Thrift shop or market leather items will probably be a little worn in, but often that just adds to the vintage charm.

Ah, second-hand books a favourite with every thrift-shopper and market-dweller! Like furniture and homewares, books can make your baggage a little heavier while travelling, but if you find any gems, don’t leave them behind.
Keep an eye out for first editions, rare titles, and original or unusual covers when searching through the stacks of books. Often, people will donate unwanted books without knowing how special they are.
Happy second-hand shopping, travellers!

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