What Is the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale?
In April of each year, Vera Bradley holds a massive outlet sale in the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, which is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At this sale, you can choose from an enormous selection of quilted purses, backpacks, suitcases, laptop cases, accessories, gift items and much more. Colors and styles vary, but typically include retired styles and fabric patterns as well as fabrics from recent seasons.
This well-organized five-day sale is extremely popular. Each year, over 60,000 people from all 50 states and several countries attend the sale.
How Can I Get to the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale?
Most shoppers drive to the sale, but you can also fly to Fort Wayne International Airport and rent a car. You will need a car to get to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Amtrak is not a practical alternative because the nearest train station is in Waterloo, Indiana, 25 miles from Fort Wayne.
How Far in Advance Should I Plan my Trip to the Sale?
If you plan to stay overnight in the Fort Wayne area, you should reserve your hotel room as soon as possible. A year before the sale is not too early. Many local hotels offer special discounts or packages for sale shoppers.
What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale?
Buy Tickets and Register
The first three days of the sale are ticketed days; you must buy tickets for each 2.5 hour shopping session you plan to attend. You must do this online at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale website. Tickets are $5 per session, plus applicable TicketMaster convenience fees. You do not need to buy tickets to shop on Saturday or Sunday.
If you want to buy something at the sale, you will also need to register. You can do this online before the sale or go to the registration kiosk at the sale. You will need a driver's license or other photo ID to register and check out.
Browse the Vera Bradley website or visit a store before you head to the sale. Look for patterns, colors and styles that you like. Make a shopping list and resolve to stick to it so that you don't exceed your budget. If you are shopping for other people, have them give you written, detailed lists and find out how much they want you to spend.
If you are flying to the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale, be sure you understand your airline's checked baggage policy before you start shopping. Checked bag fees could eat up all of your savings if you buy too many items. The US Postal Service has a shipping station at the sale. Consider mailing some of your purchases home if you are traveling by air.
If you want to stay overnight in Fort Wayne, book your room as soon as possible. Hotels near the Coliseum usually sell out.
Is the Sale Wheelchair Accessible?
Is There a Spending Limit?
Yes. Each shopper may spend up to $3,500 at the sale. This limit applies to the entire sale; it is not a daily limit.
How Much Can I Save?
It depends on when you shop. During the ticketed sessions, expect to save 40 to 60 percent off list price. On Saturday and Sunday, some items are marked down again, so you can save more, but the tables are not restocked, so your selections will be more limited. On certain days of the sale, special discounts are offered for military, law enforcement, health care professionals and educators. If you donate to a local charity partner while at the sale, you can get a special discount.
Do I Have to Pay to Park?
Yes. General parking costs $5, preferred parking costs $8 and RV or bus parking costs $15. There are no in / out privileges, and you must pay in cash.
Tips for Shopping the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale
Do not bring tote bags, shopping bags, carts or empty strollers. Staff members will give you a large plastic bag to use while shopping. When you check out, you will exchange that bag for a plastic bag of a different color.
Be prepared to stand in a very long line outside the Coliseum before your shopping session begins. Dress for the weather. You'll see die-hard shoppers who have been in line for hours, but don't worry - if you have a ticket to a session, you will get in.
Eat before you shop. Food is available at the venue, but there is nowhere to eat inside the shopping area.
Restrooms are available, but you may not carry your plastic shopping bag into the restroom.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Expect to stand in a long checkout line after you shop. If you shop for an entire ticketed session (2.5 hours) and then check out, you will be on your feet for well over three hours.
You may not write checks or use Vera Bradley gift cards as payment at the sale. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa and cash are all accepted.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary facility tour, meals and lodging for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, TripSavvy.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.