Building the Ultimate Trade Show Survival Tool Kit

Trade shows are expensive, and they take a ton of planning, but they also offer an exceptional opportunity to connect with customers, meet colleagues in the same industry, and make new business connections. Do your brand or business a favor and create a trade show survival tool kit that will save you time and money when the inevitable emergency arises. 


Trade shows can be overwhelming, even for the most experienced presenters. There are so many variables to consider: the size and layout of the venue, the number of attendees, the time of day, and the length of the show. With so much to juggle, it’s essential to be prepared. Building the ultimate trade show survival tool kit could be vital to your success at any trade show.  

As a presenter at a trade show, your goal is to make a lasting impression on potential customers and business partners. To do that, you need to be equipped with the right tools and resources. Here are some essential items, broken down into five categories, that you should include in your trade show survival tool kit: 


1. Technology

In today’s digital age, technology has become a crucial part of any business. When attending a trade show, having the right tech tools can make a significant difference. Here are some tech items to include in your survival kit: 

  • Laptop or Tablet: A laptop or tablet is essential for checking emails, taking notes, and presenting your products or services to potential customers. 
  • Smartphone: Your smartphone is your lifeline during trade shows. You can use it to communicate with colleagues, take pictures, and post updates on social media. 
  • Portable Charger: Keep your devices charged with a portable charger. It’s a lifesaver, especially when you can’t find an outlet. 
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot: Trade show Wi-Fi can be slow and unreliable. A portable Wi-Fi hotspot can ensure that you always have a reliable internet connection. 


2. Tools 

Trade shows require a lot of preparation, and you need to be ready to handle any situation. Here are some tools to include in your trade show survival kit: 

  • Business Cards: Business cards are a must-have for any trade show. They are an easy and efficient way to exchange contact information with potential customers and partners. 
  • Tape: Whether you need to hang a sign or fix a display, tape is a handy tool to have. 
  • Scissors: You never know when you’ll need to cut something–pack the scissors. 
  • Zip Ties: Zip ties are a versatile tool that can be used for many purposes, from securing cables to fixing broken displays. 


3. Personal Health/Hygiene

Trade shows can be long, tiring, and often crowded. It’s important to take care of your personal health and hygiene to ensure that you stay energized and healthy throughout the event. Here are some items to include in your personal health/hygiene kit: 

  • Water Bottle: Stay hydrated by bringing a refillable water bottle to the show. 
  • Healthy Snacks: Trade shows often offer unhealthy snacks that end up making you feel lousy. Pack non-perishable snacks that will keep you going like Kind bars, protein bars, etc. 
  • Hand Sanitizer: Trade shows can be a hotbed for germs, so keep some hand sanitizer nearby to prevent the spread of germs. 
  • Breath Mints: Meeting and talking to a lot of people means you’ll want your breath to be fresh. 
  • Comfortable Shoes: Trade shows mean long hours on your feet. Be sure to have a pair of lightweight comfortable shoes so your feet don’t need a break. 


4. Office Supplies 

Trade shows are all about promoting your business, and you want your business of presenting at a trade show to run smoothly. Having these office supplies on hand may save you from looking unprepared: 

  • Notebooks and Pens: Jotting down a quick idea, or the name of a new contact is easier and simpler than taking out your phone. Having a notebook handy to make these quick notes may be helpful. 
  • Super Glue: What tape or a zip tie might not be able to do, super glue might. 
  • Tacks or Push-Pins: These provide an easy way to temporarily hold up a banner, or fix loose signage. 


5. Miscellaneous

There are always items that don’t fit into any specific category but are still essential for your trade show survival tool kit. Here are some miscellaneous items to include: 

  • Surge Protectors
  • First-Aid Kit 
  • Sharpies
  • Resealable Plastic Bags 


Trade shows are exciting events that can propel your business or brand to the next level. Being prepared and considering what things you may need if an emergency arises (and it will), gives you the upper hand in making sure your trade show appearance is valuable. Check the inventory of your survival tool kit after each trade show to make sure you’re on top of any potential issues that could arise. 


Questions about how to make your trade show involvement the best it can be? Reach out to Earnest Images and let us help with your trade show needs! 

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