6 Tips for Surviving Festivals or Flea Markets
Do you love going to festivals and markets? Spring and Summer are the seasons for festivals, markets, and thrift sales. Below are a few of our 6 tips for surviving festivals or flea markets.
Here at Midwest Bliss, we select a few festivals or flea markets to attend each summer. These types of events are a great way to experience local history, food, and a great way to get off the beaten path.
Our experience attending such events has helped us survive festivals and markets quite well. You just have to plan ahead a little and be smart about making the most of your trip.
Below are our 6 Tips for Surviving Festivals or Flea Markets.
1. Plan lodging well in advance
If you are planning to attend a large event, maybe an annual event that draws lots of people and you plan to stay overnight, research lodging well in advance; sometimes up to a year in advance.
For example, we attended the Covered Bridge Festival in central Indiana last fall and the festival is quite large. Read that post HERE.
Initially, we hadn’t planned to stay overnight but thought it might be fun to spend a little more time at the event than time spent driving. Nope – lodging all booked up so we stayed pretty far from the event.
Also, be willing to lower your standards. Chain hotels will sell out the quickest, however, you can still find great deals at smaller, locally owned establishments. Now, lowering your standards doesn’t mean tolerating unsatisfactory conditions. Just be smart about it and READ REVIEWS.
2. Arrive early to the event
If crowds are not your thing – certainly not ours, then plan to arrive at the posted Open of the event.
Most people will not do this, either because they just do not want to, or they just can’t get out of bed early like you can.
Arriving early to the event helps you avoid the larger afternoon crowds.
Also, arriving early will help you find more of what you really want. Arriving later to the event could mean that if there is something you wanted to buy or see, it may be gone by the time you arrive. Beat the competition.
Another option is to attend the event on the last hours of the last day. Granted, you’ve missed a lot, but if you are looking for some really great deals, vendors might sell you something far below retail just so they do not have to load it back up and haul it home.
3. Park further away and walk or use public transportation
One of the fastest things to get you irritated on event day is parking. We all hate it but we all have to deal with it.
Be willing to walk a little. Find parking that is close to roads/streets that are easily accessible in the event you need to leave for some reason.
Once the event is in full swing, parking will be a premium and traffic congestion will have you pulling your hair out and yelling expletives as if you were speaking another language.
Using designated parking has its own inherent problems. Typically, there is either no assistance with parking or you encounter the sixteen-year-old who just obtained driving privileges telling you where and how to park.
Additionally, if you plan to leave as the majority of event goers are arriving, you’ll be sitting in your car waiting for long periods of time. Find convenient parking if you can and be willing to walk a little.
4. Avoid food trucks
This tip may sound contrary to one of the points made earlier about experiencing local food.
Food trucks and carts are a great way to sample some great food, but buyer beware. Most of these food trucks are weekend warriors just making extra money selling you a hotdog or corndog for $5.00. This is not what we meant by sampling local fare.
Seek out the food vendors from the area that uses the event as an opportunity to get new customers into their main locations. Most events, festivals, and markets will feature food vendors that have a local presence – find those and spend your money there.
We are not putting down the weekend food trucks at all. Just that you can find better quality food for about the same price – Why wouldn’t you want to do that?
5. Wear good shoes
This tip you might think would be obvious, but all too often we see event goers wearing heels, flip-flops, or other inappropriate footwear.
A quick way to a bad weekend is having painful feet or worse, stepping on something and injuring yourself.
You never know what you might encounter as far as the surfaces you’ll see at these types of events: rocks, mud, uneven surfaces, broken glass, and lots of other stuff that can really do damage to your feet if you aren’t prepared.
Wear something comfortable that you can walk or stand in for long periods of time. The first thing to get tired at an event or festival will likely be your feet.
5. Find an event map or local map
Large, established events will have this step taken care of. Find the event map and use it.
An event map will help you sort out the things you must see, want to see, could see, and must avoid seeing. Additionally, the event/local map will have parking mapped out AND should have suggested routes in and out of the event to help keep traffic moving.
Community residents do not necessarily enjoy having their town hijacked by tourists who just drive, park, and tear up yards at will. So, communities with large events will have met with event planners and handled all this well in advance.
If the event is well planned and managed, the event map should be available online. Find it and save the link or download it to a mobile device to help you navigate once you are in the area of the event.
Trust us, this last step is a real lifesaver when you are in an area you do not know well.
Well, there you have it, festival goers, 6 Tips for Surviving Festivals or Flea Markets.
Follow these simple steps and enjoy the warm festival season. Don’t forget to follow along with Midwest Bliss if you haven’t already.
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