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9 Must-Haves When Packing for Trade Shows

Posted by Michael R. on Apr 25, 2016 2:10:41 PM

Break Out That Suitcase:

As a veteran company traveler, I have been asked to write a few words about what to pack for a trip when traveling to a Trade Show and some of my experiences on the road. 

Several things go into determining what gets packed for a trip, but there are "musts" that go into the process as well:

  • The first step in determining what I am packing is checking the weather and keeping an eye out for conditions and temps for the duration of my trip as I get closer.
  • The second factor is where I am going and what time of year it is.
  • The third is of course how long the trip will be. For me that could be anywhere from three and a half days to two and a half weeks.

 As I write this, I have a trip in 5 days. As per usual, my suitcase is already open and is half packed with the normal essentials (probably with a cat lying in it as well). As I have become very regimented over the years (10-15 shows a year for 18 years) , unpacking is usually the first thing I do when I arrive at the hotel. When I arrive back home, unpacking and laundry is also the first thing I do.  

Time to grab the essentials:

On to addressing the "musts" that go in either my suitcase or my work back pack (which basically consists of my entire office).

  1.  Power cord chargers for phone and computer.  Yes, I have somehow managed to forget them both once or twice. Either are major problems, especially since like me, your phone is probably your lifeline (GPS, all forms of communication, maps etc)
  2.  If you wear them, an extra pair of glasses. Yes, I have managed to lose a pair (twice) before, though not in awhile. (knock on wood).
  3. Having "Everything" in your sundries bag, extra razor blades, Q-Tips, eye glass cleaning solution, toenail clippers, pain meds, scissors, band-aids etc. Most or all you could get at a local pharmacy, but I DO try to be prepared ahead of time. I have a separate tooth brush, tooth paste and razor that never leave this bag, again so I don't forget.
  4. I bring full size shampoo and body wash (& shaving cream) sealed in ziplock bags as to not have that "shampoo opened in my bag" moment. Since I don't usually have just an overnight trip, it is rare that I don't check a bag which makes full size bottles more practical.
  5. Shoes needed for every occasion that will come up in that trip. Comfortable sneakers for walking during the move in and move out, dress shoes, and maybe sandals. Extra socks are always advisable.
  6. Besides our pink Company attire, choosing the "outside of show site" wear is important too. Jeans, dress pants, a dress shirt or two, a sweat shirt, sport coat, etc . Again, the length of show, evening itinerary and weather will dictate how it's packed. There was a time I rolled my clothes up in my suitcase to make more room. I prefer that my clothes are a little less wrinkled now.
  7. Bring a laundry bag. On long trips I tend so separate my whites into a smaller bag. I know, it sounds silly. Again, habits.
  8. Cigars in a portable humidor. What can I say....
  9. I would also suggest packing a snack or two BEFORE you get to the airport. This is a must if your flight is somewhat long. Airport prices for this can be like food prices on show site. Ouch!

Keeping Your Trip Stress Free:

What can you possibly expect or plan for when you travel that may come up "unexpectedly ? 

415062_10150559850213042_521465648_o.jpgAgain, make sure you check the weather forecast so there are no unforeseen weather swings. I have been in Las Vegas, Atlanta, and New Orleans when it has snowed, and Ft. Lauderdale in below freezing weather. I have also been a victim of lost luggage 6 times, twice permanently (was in sandal,s a T-shirt, and shorts for 2.5 days in New Orleans waiting. I blame Philadelphia!). I have had to sleep in an airport a few times, missed flights, and had them cancelled on me.  I have been been thrown out of my hotel room by cockroaches (I left). Tried to check into my hotel that no longer had rooms available, had a reservation for a rental car and the agency was out of cars, been locked out of my room, and even been locked INTO a restaurant while I was in the bathroom.  In short, you can't plan for some things.  At times your trip can feel like the Jerry Garcia quote "lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it's been". 

In summation, packing smartly for a trip, regardless of length is a big part of having a successful and stress free trip and work experience.

Safe travels to all, wherever your destination may be!


Topics: Trade Show Travel, Trade Show Tips

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