Trade Show Packing: Do You Have All You Need?
As the trade show season revs up, consider if you've packed everything you'll need for an easy and successful trip.
Make a list. Check it twice.
You might think you're packing everything necessary. Review your schedule—meetings, appointments, events—and note what you'll need. While the trade show floor is typically business/business casual, events could be dressy, or have a theme, or be quite casual depending on location. Have clothing with you that suits local weather, for when you may be out and about. For the show floor, it's layers, layers, layers! Pack compatible items within a color scheme to get the most bang for the buck. Items that are adjusted easily from day to evening are also good.
Know which clothing items are "bulletproof."
If you have a jacket, skirt or pair of pants that manages to survive everything wrinkle- and fuzz-free, that's your go-to! You'll appreciate the time saved in not having to iron or figure out how to make a favorite piece look presentable after it's spent hours in your luggage ... Especially if your flight was delayed.
Dress for the occasion.
If you're heading straight to the trade show when you arrive, be dressed to hit the ground running. Wear something that's easy for the airport and flying, and comfortable and put-together for the floor. For women, leggings are often your friend, worn with a long jacket, dress or tunic.
Bring a small shoe wardrobe, if you like, but know that a nice pair of good flats will take you easily through a day of standing, walking, standing, walking. Bring shoes you will be comfortable in for long periods. You may not have an opportunity to go back to the room to change, and sore feet don't make for a good day.
A few of your favorite things.
Bring favorite toiletries, et cetera, as your luggage situation allows. There is comfort (and happier skin and hair) in using products you love and are used to. While hotel amenities are getting better, they may not always suit your needs.
You don't have to sacrifice style to look professional on the floor. Err on the side of too professional, if you must. You are representing yourself and your company! People want to work with those who look like they mean business. That doesn't mean you shouldn't add touches that people think of as you: a bow tie, a scarf, a statement jewelry item, a certain pattern as part of every outfit ...
Paper or plastic?
Keep plastic bags in your suitcase. That laundry bag from the closet of your previous stay? Use it again for transporting dirty laundry home. Small Ziplocs and other sealable bags are good for toiletries, ensuring clothing stays dry if a lotion or liquid leaks. Larger plastic bags keep shoes together or could be a "buffer" layer to help keep clothing neat.
Written by Amy L Charles, Editorial Director for Groups Today.