The Essential Trade Show Survival Checklist

Don’t get caught unprepared! Follow our go-to guide for all the necessary items you’ll need for a successful trade show experience.



Be sure to pack a sufficient amount and keep it organized! Folders are your friend.


Literature Holders

Don’t forget to bring your awesome (metal, not plastic!) literature displays. Visitors have a hard time seeing stacks placed on table tops. The nicer the display, the more likely they are to get seen.


Business Cards

Be sure all the booth members have a stack of business cards ready to go. Business card display holders aren’t a bad idea either, but keep them towards the back of the booth to keep people from poaching them for email addresses.



You can NEVER have enough pens at a trade show because they always walk off.

PRO-TIP: Create your own personal hiding spot where you can always find YOUR pen, or do something to it to make it so heinous that someone would be embarrassed to take it.


Visual Aid / Tablet / Computer

Don’t forget to pack some sort of visual aid like a tablet with a pre-installed slide show of your work. Also remember to pack some sort of security device to prevent it from being stolen.


Power Sources

Don’t forget to pack all the important chargers you’ll need for you computers, cell phones, tablets and any accessories you plan on bringing along. If you do a lot of shows, you might want to consider purchasing extra cables and just keeping them in a case ready to go.



Our number one must have! The placement of show electric is sometimes like being a rat in a maze trying to find the cheese. You may have paid for electric, but that’s no guarantee that the outlet will be anywhere near you. Plan for at least two extension cords and save yourself the hassle.



Trade shows can get long and depending on the number of booth staff you have, your breaks might be few and far between. Keep a good stash of snacks for the staff (not just for you!) to keep your team energy up.


Tote Organizers for Literature

Definitely invest in tote organizers with built in file hangers to organize and easily transport your literature. Be on the lookout for ones that are stackable, have locking handles or even wheels.


Portable Dolly

A travel dolly will do wonders to help you unpack/pack your vehicle.


Bungee Cord

I don’t think I’ve ever attended a trade show where a bungee cord did not come in handy. Seriously, buy three and keep them in your trade show box. You won’t regret it.


Packing Tape

A must have!! I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve gone to pack up from a trade show and realized that I had no packing tape. Buy a few rolls and keep it in your trade show box. And then threaten everyone with bodily harm if they even think of touching it.

PRO TIP: Pull three long pieces of tape off the roll before you pack everything up. Leave the last box for the tape gun, toss it in and use the three pieces to seal the box.



You’re going to have to label something.


Shipping Labels!!

You’ll want blank labels for boxes and pre-filled out labels for the shipping courier of your choice. Trust me when I tell you that the event staff can often be less than helpful if you forget your shipping labels. Plan ahead and get it on your pre-event checklist.


Staff Name Tags

Invest in professional staff name tags for booth attendees. They look much better than exhibitor badges and are much more professional.

PRO TIP: Pick name tags that attach with magnets rather than pins.



Ok, so this one might be more for the ladies, but I swear I have never attended a trade show where I wasn’t freezing cold for at least part of the day. Pack a tasteful sweater just in case.


Pictures for Social Media

Don’t forget to snap a few shots of your booth during the show to use on social media!

Want to Learn More About How to Nurture Your Trade Show Leads?

1. Check out this awesome VIDEO about trade show lead nurturing

2. Fill out the contact form below and we can help determine if lead nurturing might be a good fit for your company.

Jessica Dohm

Jessica Dohm

Founder, Dohmain Designs

About the Author

Jessica is the Director of Digital Marketing and Owner of Dohmain Designs. She is a small business sales and marketing expert specializing in business growth through intelligent website design and sales & marketing automation.

Jessica is a Certified Infusionsoft Partner, marketing automation and CRM expert with over 15 years of professional sales and marketing experience. In 2011, she combined that experience with innovative website design and created Dohmain Designs. She has worked with biotech giants, overseen the digital marketing for a popular Discovery Channel hit TV series, and helped hundreds of clients grow their business. Prior to creating Dohmain Designs, Jessica worked in the fast-paced biotech sector focusing primarily on technical sales and marketing, as well as providing complicated sales-focused CRM training across various disciplines.

Jessica is a member of her local Rotary Club where she has previously served as the Membership co-chair and currently serves as the Public Relations chair. Jessica truly believes in the "Service Above Self" Rotarian philosophy and strives to dedicate her time and talents to helping others, both in her personal and professional relationships.

She is located in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and works with clients all across North America. If you'd like to get in touch with Jessica, simply complete the contact form below.

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