Outlet Mall Shopping: A New Kind of Vacation Adventure

When planning vacations, people usually visit theme parks, museums, beaches or other traditional vacation spots, however many more people are now planning activities around their hobbies and interests. Located directly off of many interstate highways, outlet malls are fast becoming a must see for shoppers searching for a great bargain. When planning to visit outlet malls, here are a few things to plan for to help make your trip a pleasant experience.

1. Try to plan your vacation around sales. Using the internet as your guide, many store offers sidewalk sales and other incentives for shoppers during the holidays or other peak times of the year. Some holiday promotions that have been advertised range from 70-90% off savings, to a specialty food retailer offering free Coke floats to any customers who stopped by. If it is a spur of the moment decision and you did not get time to plan ahead, make the mall office your first stop. If a member of the military, AAA, or AARP inquire if there are any special discounts available to you. Sometimes, these organizations qualify for discount coupon books or cards available only at mall offices.

2. Know when to go. Does the outlet have a senior or military discount day? If so, take advantages of these discounts and try to visit on that particular day. To maximize savings, find out if that state participates in a “sales tax holiday” program. These programs usually offer no sales tax on clothing items under $50 each. Most sales tax holidays are in the summer, just before the school year begins.

3. After you select your parking space, start shopping at the opposite end of where you parked you car. That way instead of having to walk back and forth to your car each time, you just have to walk down to one end once, and then come back up. If you find your packages are too heavy to shop, ask to leave them with the sales clerk in the shop you wish to browse in. Another idea is if you have a companion, take turns holding the bags outside of the shop while resting on a bench and then switch off. This way, both people get a chance to look and have their arms free. Whenever possible, make as few trips to the car, as your feet will thank you.

4. Another important thing to consider is timing. If you have a destination that offers both an indoor and outdoor mall and the climate is hot, visit the outdoor mall as early in the morning as possible, before the day warms up. Then, when it is hot visit the indoor mall and you will remain cool for the rest of the day.

While this is just a partial list of helpful hints, the important thing to remember about outlet shopping vacations is when in doubt call ahead. This is especially important for parents who may need stroller rental or handicapped travelers who may need wheelchairs or have other needs. Other considerations include the availability of comforts, such as having a food court, children’s area, or ATM for extra cash. With a little time and research, a shopping vacation is something that is worth repeating; after all new merchandise arrives on a daily basis.

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