All sizes and styles of trade show displays have different levels of portability, and different requirements for shipping and handling. While your method of transport may often be dictated by the type of trade show exhibits you’re bringing along, deciding how you want to ship (or if you want to ship) before you buy can help you streamline the process. Learning which types of trade show exhibits are best for each type of travel will help you make an educated choice at the beginning, saving you a headache later.
If You Travel By Car
Cars are a great way to get around, particularly on the East coast where many important cities are within driving distance. If you have a small company, or just starting out in your industry, or simply want to save a bit of cash, moving your trade show booths in your car could be a great choice.
The major drawback of car travel is that you can’t fit a very large unit inside a small trunk. If you have a sport utility vehicle you are in a slightly better position, but you are still pressed for space. In general, you want a tabletop unit if you intend to transport it in a car, and perhaps a small floor unit if you’re using an SUV. If you have a large unit like a custom stand, you don’t want to try putting it in the car.
If You Travel By Van Or Truck
Trucks and vans have the same advantage as a car, but offer slightly more space. You can usually rent these if your company doesn’t have them, and they are typically big enough to fit your average trade show displays. Because they can be rented, you may choose to use them on the occasion that you have a local show within driving distance, shipping commercially when it’s more convenient.
If You Travel By Airplane
Airplanes are possibly the most common method of transportation for serious convention presenters. If your company uses trade show exhibits as a backbone of your marketing program, you’re going to be traveling to both coasts and probably to other countries as part of your plan. If your units will be going on a plane, they need to be small enough that they’ll fit easily in cargo, or as a carryon. It is rare to see anything larger than a banner stand or pop up unit fit into carryon, as the size restrictions are very harsh.
Placing trade show booths in checked luggage is not a problem, provided they are adequately protected. Checked luggage is notoriously mistreated by the baggage handlers, so you’ll need a hard-sided case in order to keep your stand safe.
If You Are Planning To Ship
For some oversized stands, shipping is the best (or only) option. Shipping can be a hassle, but sometimes the unit is just too large to be realistically transported any other way. Try to avoid using a typical shipping company, and instead seek out one with experience transporting convention materials. If possible, find one with a national network of shipping hubs, so that it travels purely in the hands of experienced professionals.
Chris Harmen writes about Philadelphia trade show displays for Atlantic Exhibits, a leading designer and builder of trade show exhibits in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
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