Trade Show Packing List: What to Bring to Your Next Event

The short duration of trade shows can catch new exhibitors off guard. Many arrive under prepared, which can lead to disaster. If you are new to trade shows, rather than risking an unsuccessful event, here are 36 items to put on your packing list.

The Absolute Essential Trade Show Items

1. Box cutter

Take it from the professionals, a box cutter is the number one life saving tool on the trade show floor.

2. Excessive business cards

Just when you think you have enough stacks of cards, grab one more box. You will be covered in case you misplace some or in case the perfect lead requests a full deck to pass out to other interested parties.

3. Pens and pencils

They tend to grow legs and wander away. Tuck away several extra packs for emergencies.

4. Stapler with staples

If you plan on passing out pamphlets, price sheets, or any other paper items, staple everything together along with your business cards for leads. That way all of your information is easily found.

5. Markers

Something bold and permanent is best. A marker is the multi-tasker of office supplies. Quickly black-out typos on price sheets, create a directional sign, or even cover a scuff on a black shoe.

6. A variety of tape

Much like markers, tape is something that lends itself to creative problem solving. When a sign refuses to remain posted or the hem of your pants falls out, tape comes to the rescue.

7. First-Aid kit

Bandages, pain relievers, eye drops, and disinfectant will keep you going through any small mishaps or mid-day headaches.

8. Sticky notes

Have several small notepads available throughout your booth, always within reach.

9. Scissors

This is another tool often forgotten but also often required. A good pair will help you slice a box open quickly or snip the tag off your new blazer.

10. Paper clips

The stapler is superior for organization, but paper clips have their place, too. You are likely to find yourself needing one for an unusual errand, such as fixing a loose screw on your eyeglasses.

11. Extension cords

If you don’t bring them with you, it is guaranteed that you will need them. Bring a few different sizes, including one that is several feet long.

12. Power strip or similar multi-outlet connectors

This goes along with extension cords. You may find your booth location only contains a single outlet.

13. Clipboards

A busy booth means fewer available writing surfaces. Clipboards keep your pitch moving smoothly when chatting with prospects.

14. Trash bags

A stash of large trash bags simplifies evening cleanups.

15. Plastic baggies

Likewise, a handful of several different sized plastic bags can help you stay organized.

16. Shopping bags

Nicely branded carrier bags, preferably paper or another recyclable material, are useful for exhibitors and attendees. When you see a lead struggling with an armload of pamphlets and freebies, you can save the day.

For Personal Comfort

17. Mints or a small toothbrush kit

Talking all weekend and grabbing quick lunches might lead to stale breath. Keep fresh with a pocketful of mints or take occasional dental hygiene breaks.

18. Safety pins

This is the only item that can help you out of a serious wardrobe malfunction. It is also one of the few items that is difficult to borrow in a pinch, so always have a few.

19. Detergent pen

You will spill something on your shirt, especially if it is white.

20. Extra shirts

Sometimes a detergent pen is not enough. In case of large stains or general un-freshness, a change of shirt is useful.

21. Hand sanitizer

Keep yourself healthy through the duration of the trade show. Booth attendees also appreciate a bottle of sanitizer available for use.

22. Cleaning wipes

These are handy for coffee spills and the occasional ink splatter.

23. Floss

Sometimes even a toothbrush doesn’t cut it.

24. Sunscreen

Not always a necessity, but if you are going to a trade show in the summer, you may find yourself outside more often that you’d think.

25. Bottled water

Don’t just bring soda and coffee. Plain water keeps you hydrated after a long day of meeting people.

26. Snacks

Your meal times might run late, or perhaps you find yourself without time to go grab lunch. Pick some single serving snacks like trail mix or bananas to keep everyone fueled throughout the day.

The Unexpected

27. Superglue

A single tiny tube might be the sole item that saves a display. It is something you won’t likely need, but if the occasion does arise, you’ll be eternally grateful for that small tube.

28. Dolly

Some venues can provide a moving dolly for you, but check beforehand. It is worth sparing your back.

29. Phone chargers

Extra phone chargers are not only great in case one goes missing, but sometimes trade show visitors run short of battery, too. Having a small charging station can put you in good graces.

30. Business card display or holder

One way to save money is by stacking your advertising materials and business cards on top of a table. That is also one way to look sloppy and quickly become disorganized. A few simple plastic display stands keeps your booth tidy and all paper materials accessible so that you can organize your trade show leads and follow up later.

31. Name tags

Some businesses balk at name tags, but when you’re interacting with hundreds or even thousands of new faces, this can set you apart.

32. Freebies

If you’re bringing trade show swag—don’t accidentally leave it behind.

33. Storage boxes

Much like a vacation, you may find yourself leaving with more items than you came in with. A plastic storage bin or even a cardboard box can help you pack it all away.

34. Box cutter

Although you have a handy pair of scissors, a box cutter proves a sturdier tool that is also versatile.

35. Paper towel rolls

From cleaning to wrapping fragile booth décor, paper towels will not go unused.

36. Screwdriver

A small set of common screwdrivers is great, but even just one flathead will do. While you may find yourself using it for its intended purpose, such as tightening a loose table leg, it can also become a powerful tool for creative problems solving.

Taking the time to prepare now can mean all the difference later. To learn more about how to get the most out of your event marketing experience, or to find custom trade show displays in Las Vegas, contact Structure Exhibits at 888.633.4162