The New Holiday Inn: Outlet Malls

Road trips are the quintessential summer adventure. As a kid, my family would pile into the Chevy Cavalier to take summer road trips to exciting places like Topeka, Kansas, and Jonesboro, Arkansas. No matter where we were on the interstate, there was always a Holiday Inn at the next exit. Twenty years later, Holiday Inns have been replaced by Outlet Malls. The New Jersey Turnpike, between Exit 6 (PA Turnpike) and Exit 18 (George Washington Bridge) boasts at least four Outlet Malls, including the mammoth Jersey Garden Mall. Signs for Outlet Malls are sprinkled up and down 95 South. Even, Medford, Minnesota, population 788, has an outlet mall.

Are Outlet Malls the Holiday Inns of the millennium?

Apparently so. Retailers have finally figured out what budget fashionistas have known for years: when we are bored, we like to shop. And what could possibly be more boring that a five hour trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa? Although the quality of outlet malls varies from interstate to interstate, they’re a welcome alternative to urine-smelling rest stops.

Here’s my favorite outlet malls

Woodburry Commons Premium Outlets, Outside New York City

Franklin Mills, Philadelphia, PA

Jersey Gardens, Elizabeth, New Jersey

Canada One, Niagara Falls

Dixie Outlets, Toronto

Albertville Premium Outlets, Minnesota

Gurnee Mills, Outside of Chicago

Carlsbad Premium Outlets, San Diego

Fashion Outlets Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas Premium Outlets, Las Vegas