Flea Market Essentials – Collecting 101

You never know what you might pick-up at a flea market!

Summer is the time of the flea market! Hunt for Peanuts goodies in an open air market, get some exercise and enjoy the weather. Good preparation is key to a successful day at the flea market.

What is a Flea Market?

Primarily, a flea market is a marketplace of second-hand goods. Each market has its own unique flavor where you may find food, plants, crafts, new cheap items and other show-related vendors. Most flea markets I attend are at county fairgrounds with vendors setting up shop in buildings, under tents or in the open. You may also find flea markets at convention centers, expo halls, school gyms and anywhere with good parking with lots of space for vendors. Flea markets are typically held on weekends for a limited number of days.

The advantage of a flea market is a lot of stuff all in one place. Each vendor has a space filled with their wares. Most items are easily accessed for close examinations of any flaws or missing pieces. If you find something you want, you buy directly from the vendor. Haggling and bundling is common, leading to better prices for the buyer.

Every flea market is a new experience! Antique and collectible specific flea markets are great for finding a variety of Peanuts items, but they may be priced higher for the collector crowd. A more general flea market may be sparse on the pristine vintage buys, but can sometimes yield a fruitful harvest at a lower price. You may come away with nothing, or you might need to visit the ATM for that can’t-pass-up purchase. The joy of a flea market is in the discovery, and it’s not always Peanuts collectibles!

You’ll find both new and old Peanuts collectibles!

Flea Market Essentials

Carry it with you

Comfortable Shoes

The larger the flea market, the more important it is to have comfortable shoes. You won’t find a new Snoopy if you’re resting your dog-tired feet. When outdoors, wear something that can stand up to dirt, puddles and everything in between. Lots of traffic can cause many hazards.

Money

Most flea markets are cash-only. At times, you’ll find some vendors that take credit cards. If you’ve built a relationship with a vendor, they may take a check from return buyers. Some flea markets have an ATM on site, but it will charge a service fee. Bring cash and you’ll be covered.

Reliable, Light Bag

Whether you’re carrying cash or precious Snoopy finds, you’ll want a reliable, light bag! Take only the essentials to give you more space and save your back. I use a Snoopy backpack (affiliate link). It has pockets for water bottles, is comfortable to wear and holds a lot of items! I used to wear a purse, but it would hurt my shoulder and it’s another thing to hold. The backpack is out of my way, yet keeps everything within reach.

Fully-charged Cell Phone

Communication is key if you’re traveling with a group! Whether you get separated, or just like to move at your own pace, a cell phone keeps you in contact. Sharing Snoopy sightings and making lunch plans are our main cell phone uses. Plus, having a camera can help you determine if you want to go back for anything you passed up earlier in the day.

Bundle multiple items and haggle your way to savings!

Peanuts Shirt

Wearing your Peanuts shirt, hat, or bag is a double-edged sword. On one hand, a vendor will point you in the direction of any Peanuts items they carry. On the other hand, the vendor may see you as a person willing to pay more for a Peanuts item. Perhaps, the vendor will give you a deal, knowing you’re a motivated buyer who will come back for more Peanuts collectibles. Be optimistic and wear your Peanuts shirt with pride!

Business Cards

Vendors don’t bring everything with them. Bring your business card with contact info and what you’re looking for. You might get a follow up and a great deal!

Water

Stay hydrated, and save some money, by bringing your own water.

An Open Mind

Enjoy the flea market and all it has to offer. You may not find what you were looking for, but you may find some surprises!

Other items I like to bring

Measuring tape. Tissues. Hand sanitizer. Pain killers. Pen. Backup phone battery. Boyfriend who runs things back to the car (Thanks Allen!). If you have suggestions, let me know!

Always be prepared for whatever pops up!

Keep it in the car

Peanuts Collector Guides

Unless you’re a newbie, keep your Peanuts Collector Guides in the car. They’ll be handy if you need them, but not an extra burden on your back.

Weather Gear

Check the forecast before going to a flea market! Bring the essentials for the weather conditions: sun screen, umbrellas, or warm layers. Vendors at flea markets have paid for their booth no matter the weather conditions. Rain and cold can sometimes lead to good bargains if you’re willing to brave the elements.

A Cart

A cart or wagon might seem like a great way to save your back. However, it may also be a pain to lug around and slow you down. Irregular ground, large crowds and tight aisles may become more frustrating with extra baggage. Carts are best used for picking up large purchases at the end of the day.

Snacks

Bringing snacks is a good way to save money and satisfy specific dietary needs. Most flea markets have food vendors, including fundraising local service groups. Support the local community and replenish your energy!

Extra Shoes

At the end of a long day of walking, a change of shoes can be a welcome change!

Sometimes you have to dig to find the Snoopy gold

Finding Flea Markets

Now that you know what to bring, where should you go? My boyfriend and I have been doing a lot more camping on the weekends and a flea market is a perfect way to find a new destination. I’ve been searching for great resources and found a few I’ll be using in future.

Fleaquest.com is a community for submitting flea markets, antique shops, thrift stores and more. Out of all the sites I found, this one is the easiest to use and looks great, too!

Not sure where to start? TheSpruce.com has some articles for peaking your interest in some of the bigger flea markets around the country.

Your state tourism website is a great place to look for flea markets. Smaller local affairs might yield great and inexpensive finds.

Google it! When hunting for bargains and treasures, hone your skills at your favorite search engine.

Share Your finds!

Are you a flea market fanatic? Share your favorite Peanuts finds and flea market recommendations on our Facebook page.

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