I got four suitcases and two train cases, never paying more than $4 ea
Some Christmas bulbs
Some spoons, a couple of amber baby bottles and some crocheted doilies
I loved these two little wooden cats!
Smoky was curious just to see what I brought home. You can see the enamelware pans, baby shoes, small cabinet, coffee pots, silver tray, kitchen utensils, etc.
For eight days, car rental, hotels, gas, food, admission to Graceland, out of pocket, not including purchases was around $1100 each. I only spent $200-250 on all the things that I bought. I think that is a pretty reasonable vacation! If you want to do this next year, here are some things I learned:
It is hot. And I mean really HOT. Take water and stop often for cold drinks. Bring sun block and rain wear. Shoes need to be comfy and well broken in. Many of the places were muddy and I heard some people complaining about mud getting in their sandals. Pack some snacks. If you don't want to eat from the barbeque vendors that are at most of the locations, you will find restaurants are few and far between, with long lines and crowds. Most locations have porta-johns, that are hot and stinky at best. Take some butt wipes with you as well as hand sanitizer. We also found disinfecting cloths useful.
Before I left for the trip, I purchased a pull behind shopping cart. You know the wire ones that fold flat and can hold a couple of shopping bags. Well, I used it once and decided it was too much of a hassle. It was hard to navigate through the booths and the mud.
We did research. Sue was much better at this than me, printing maps, state info on attractions and lodging, and lots of info on the sale itself. Sometimes there is not great signage, so all that info helped. And use your cell phones. We were able to find lodging at the best prices at nearby locations as well as navigating to restaurants and attractions. Hotels were relatively inexpensive and with one exception, we were pleased. Check out Pinterest for tips and suggestions on the best shopping locations and things to bring.
For the most part, vendors were pleasant and expected and rather enjoyed negotiations. Sometimes I found that I could not negotiate the price that I wanted, but I would explain to the vendor that I am going to repurpose this item and then resell it, so they would either come down to my price point or explain why they couldn't. Treat the haggling as a game and have fun with it. It was also fun for us to ask questions. If we didn't know what something was or how it was used, we asked. It was very entertaining.
I think part of the reason that we enjoyed ourselves so much is that we didn't set any limits. We didn't have a particular item we were "needing" or a specific budget to adhere to. I guess if I had been buying furniture or big ticket items, that might have been different, and I might have felt some frustration if I didn't get what I wanted.
My last and best advice is this: Do this with someone you care about, someone that you share likes and dislikes with, someone you respect. My sister and I are different, but have similar values and travel well together. Make it fun!
Well my friends, off to the grocery store and to finish my laundry. Have a great week!