Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My Orlando, Florida Travel Tips: Shopping (10 Must Visit Stores That We Don't Have In The UK)

Orlando Florida Shopping Travel Tips

As a self declared shopaholic it was only a matter of time until my next Travel Tips post returned to one of my favourite pastimes; shopping. And trust me, it's certainly not the last Travel Tips post centred around shopping either. 

If you've not yet read my post on the best malls to visit in the Orlando area then be sure to (click here) to find out more. I also have two more shopping related Travel Tips posts in the works as we speak, one entirely dedicated to shopping at Sephora and the other on my favourite American department stores, both of which will go live in the next couple of months. But back to today's Orlando, Florida Travel Tips post. Here are the top ten stores, in my opinion, that you need to visit whilst you're in Orlando or the US more generally, that we don't have in the UK;


Wal Mart Shopping Tips

Wal Mart

I feel like this goes without saying but Wal Mart really is a must visit kind of store. Whether you're picking up groceries during your stay or just feel like wandering around the store to be mesmerised by all the products that they have under the one roof, you have to visit at least once. Anything that you could ever want or need you will be able to find in Wal Mart and of course, the prices are seriously unbelievable. When you start to compare like for like products that we can buy here in the UK that are available in the US too, it's frankly quite shocking how much us Brits pay in comparison.
We, as a family, would visit Wal Mart on an almost daily basis during our last trip and every time we would leave with something we hadn't even bargained on buying. Just looking at this photo, which includes one of my favourite American snacks; Lays, is making me both homesick for a country other than my native one and hungry. Hehe. Oh and did I mention that there are Wal Mart's with McDonald's in them? Unlike here, where I avoid McDonald's most of the time, McDonald's is real treat in the US. You've got to treat yo' self when you're on holiday, am I right?

Located: Throughout the US and Florida

Target Shopping Tips


Target is one of those stores that I could happily spend hours and hours in and I probably did over the duration of my stay. There are so many incredible aisles, the beauty aisles (as pictured above) are unreal, the homewear, stationary and entertainment aisles are jaw dropping and don't even get me started on the seasonal aisles! Target also have a great clothing, accessories and shoe range which I would definitely recommend checking out. I tend to head there straight away when I arrive in the store, mostly as it is the first big section that you are greeted with in the stores that I visited. Many of the Targets in and around Orlando are Super Targets meaning that they are colossally large and you could end up walking for what seems like miles, if you happen to have family members a bit like mine who tend to wander off on a tangent when shopping. Hehe. Oh and the fact that our local Target store had a Starbucks in it didn't hurt either.

TOP TIP: LOOK OUT FOR TARGET'S RED TAG DEALS: Target tends to be a little more expensive than Wal Mart when it comes to groceries but when they have their red tag deals on that's when there are some serious savings to be found. Look out for deals across the store as the red tag deals tend to pop up on different days depending on the department.

Located: Throughout the US and Florida


Old Navy Store

Old Navy

Old Navy, part of the same family as GAP and Banana Republic, is the store to go to if you're looking for basics or denim and I well and truly stocked up on their incredibly cosy hoodies when I last visited. And if you saw my Florida Fashion Haul post (link here) then you might remember that I also managed to pick up some fantastic leopard print slip on shoes too. It has quite a preppy yet relaxed aesthetic which I really adore and the pricing is just incredible and that's before you even start converting the dollar amounts into pounds.

TOP TIP: SIGN UP FOR THEIR EMAILS: If you have access to your emails when you're over in the States (there should be plenty of places to use Wifi) then you seriously need to make use of the email discounts on offer at Old Navy. There were some unbelievable deals in the emails, ones that I certainly made use of when I visited last year that literally saved me (and my family) hundreds of dollars.

Locations: The Florida Mall and Mall at Millenia

PINK Victoria's Secret Store


Whilst Victoria's Secret is slowly but surely making it's way to us over here in the UK (when will a Scottish store open?!), PINK, the younger sister of Victoria's Secret still seems to elude us here. And that's why I'm always so excited to visit the PINK stores whilst I'm over in the US. If you're looking for gym-wear, casual-wear or lounge-wear with some real personality then you definitely need to make a pit-stop in PINK. They also have a fantastic range of bags and accessories too. I picked up the greatest Mean Girls 'You Can't Drink With Us' water bottle whilst I was there last year (link here).

Locations: The Florida Mall and Mall at Millenia
TJ Maxx Store

TJ Maxx

Okay, so I'm well aware that we have TK Maxx here in the UK but TJ Maxx takes designer fashion, deals and discounts to a whole different level. I'm talking about massive savings on brands such as Missoni, Michael Kors, DKNY, Tory Burch, Balmain, DVF, Pucci and Chloe. I even managed to pick up a Marc by Marc Jacobs watch for $85 (link here), that's around £55 for a Marc by Marc Jacobs watch!! Let's just say that it's very difficult to enter a TJ Maxx store and not walk out with something. Their stationary section is also absolutely fantastic, especially if you love Pinterest-style quotes on notepads. Here's just a few of the ones that I picked up on my last TJ Maxx visit (link here).

TOP TIP: VISIT OFTEN AND VISIT MANY: Since stock levels and products vary so vastly between stores you really are best visiting as often as possible. I would really recommend visiting at least twice a week to make the most of the TJ Maxx experience. So, if you're on holiday for two weeks, I would seriously stop by at least three times to see what new stock has arrived in store. And the same can be said for visiting multiple TJ Maxx stores, especially as there are now several in and around the Orlando area. 

Located: Throughout the US and Florida

J.Crew Shopping Tips


J.Crew is a store that I always make sure to visit when I'm in the US, even if I can't really afford much from their store on my budget. Although saying that, you can't visit Orlando and not stop by the outlet stores, where you will find J.Crew pieces from previous collections or seasons heavily discounted. If the usual J.Crew prices are a bit out of your price range then I have a feeling that you will be very happy to learn that there are now two J.Crew outlet stores in the Orlando area. 

Locations: Orlando International Premium Outlets, Orlando Premium Outlets Vineland Ave. (J.Crew Factory) and Mall at Millenia (J.Crew)


Bath & Body Works Store

Bath & Body Works

I feel like this is a rite of passage for anyone visiting the US who loves bath and body products. And if that sounds like you then you might want to take or buy an additional case to bring all your Bath & Body Works goodies home with you safely. Sadly my luggage was already well over the limit, so much so that I did have to buy an additional and larger bag to bring home with me (but that's another story for another time) but I did manage to grab my favourite product from there when I was last there (link here). And if you only buy one thing (or five *hint hint*) from Bath & Body Works, then make it the Pocketbacs which are 5 for $5! In a way it would be rude not to pick at least five up. Hehe.

Locations: Mall at Millenia, The Florida Mall and Orlando International Premium Outlets

Walgreens Shopping Tips


Most of us use the word 'drugstore' to describe Boots and Superdrug here in the UK but it's only when you step through the doors of a store like Walgreens that you truly find out what a 'real' drugstore is like. Whilst most of the supermarkets have some great deals on make-up and beauty, it's always worthwhile checking out Walgreens first. My favourite part of any Walgreens store has to be the wall of cosmetics. For a beauty lover it really is pretty hard to resist. Oh and remember that you will find US drugstore brands, that are quite difficult to find over here, at your local Walgreens such as Milani, Physician's Formula and Covergirl, as well as US exclusives from some of your favourite beauty brands.

TOP TIP: PICK UP THE WEEKLY WALGREENS COUPON BOOKLET EVERY SUNDAY: Every Sunday Walgreens release their weekly coupon booklet packed full of coupons to be used exclusively in-store.

Located: Throughout the US and Florida


Michaels Shopping Tips


Last year, after watching one of Becca Rose's videos on YouTube where she showcased her own Florida Haul, I knew that I had to stop by Michaels. She bought gold foil stickers for goodness sake! I'd seen Michaels on every other visit but hadn't paid it much attention, which was something that I instantly regretted after stepping through the doors for the first time last year. Michaels really is the stuff of dreams! I'm already counting down the days until I next visit Florida (why does October 2016 feel so far away?!) as I have so many ideas for blog backgrounds that I would love to put into practice thanks to Michaels.

TOP TIP: DON'T BUY ANYTHING WITHOUT A COUPON: Okay, so I sound like one of those crazy coupouners from Extreme Couponing but trust me, you will kick yourself if you pay full price for anything in Michaels. You can sign up for coupons to be emailed directly to you and they also have a coupon section on their website which allows you to save the coupon to your phone and then have the cashier scan your phone to redeem it. Oh and then when you've made a purchase a coupon will print out with your receipt. I saved an incredible amount through the use of coupons alone during my last trip.

Located: Throughout the US and Florida

Barnes & Noble Store

Barnes & Noble

I don't know about you but there is something about about actually flicking through a book and spending hours literally browsing the shelves that I seriously miss when book shopping online. I'm still mourning the loss of Borders in Glasgow City Centre but then again, that's another story. Barnes & Noble is a store that I could lose hours and hours in. And they often have signed copies of big brand new releases too. Why oh why was I leaving the day that Lena Dunham's signed copies were arriving in store?

Locations: The Florida Mall and throughout the US and Florida

So there you have it, my ten favourite stores that we don't have here in the UK that you should definitely make a point of visiting when you next visit Orlando, Florida or the US more generally.

Next month My Orlando, Florida Travel Tips are back in Disney with a way of doing Disney for free; Downtown Disney. I can't wait to share my thoughts on Downtown Disney with you, so much so, that I'm just about to start getting that blog post together right after finishing this one. 

What are your favourite stores to visit in the US or which stores would you love to visit next? And are there any that you think that I might have missed off my top 10 list? 


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