What Not To Pack for Trade Show Season

Trade show season is upon us, which means many of us are gearing up to hit the road. Whether you’re heading out to win new clients or learn new business processes, most of us are BUSY. Amid all of the preparation for being out of the office, packing for these travels might be the last thing you’re worried about.

At least that’s the case with us.  

It’s totally fine to not stress about packing, but this often means packing is saved for the night before your flight. Which often leads to throwing everything you think you might possibly need into the bag. Then the next thing you know you’re sitting on your suitcase trying to get that dang zipper closed, praying it won’t split from your efforts.

Do you’re back (and your suitcase!) a favor and lighten your load a bit. Here are 5 things you can feel good about omitting from your trip.

5 Things to Leave at Home

  1. Uncomfortable, Impractical Shoes

We can hear the groans from here. We know, we know, some of you are amped to show off your shiniest kicks. But regardless of how fancy your favorite shoes look, don’t forget about the long hours you’re spending walking back and forth from your hotel room, across the hotel to different breakouts, and walking the aisles of trade show floors.

Chances are you have another pair of shoes that are built for that kind of road tred, and won’t crush your poor little tootsies.  Bring with you a sharp pair of comfortable shoes and chances are, your colleagues will thank you for not turning into a bit of a grouch.

  1. Brand Spankin’ New Shoes

This might seem like a repeat of #1, but no, this item worthy of its own bullet point. The absolute worst shoes for marching around for hours upon hours are brand new ones! Yeah, we get it, you just went to Nashville and you’re dying to show off your new country boots, but that leather is not ready for the long haul.

“But my new shoes aren’t leather!” Fine, great, but leather or not, you don’t know these shoes yet or how they will perform. We all know what happens when you get a blister. That sucker just doesn’t give up for the remainder of the trip, making whatever other shoe you try to wear next to unbearable.

It’s okay to leave the new shoes behind, they’ll be happily waiting for you when you get back!

  1. The “Just in Case” Gear

Think about where you’re going and do a quick check on the weather. Chances are good that the weather service isn’t out to get ya and will tell it like it is. Listen to the report and pack accordingly – there’s not going to be a twenty degree waver in either direction. If you’re going south, you don’t need that ankle-length parka. If you’re going north, leave the shorty shorts at home.

Aside from clothes, you probably don’t need all those random things you keep insisting on bringing anyway. Things like sewing kits, flashlights, 20 pair of underwear for a 3 day trip…you aren’t getting lost in Siberia, you’re heading to a decent hotel. They’ll have all that emergency swag if you actually do (but totally won’t) need it.

  1. Every Toiletry Known to Humankind

Holy smokes, do some of us overdo it (ahem, the present writer super guilty of this one). Bags on bags on bags of toiletries that, chances are, the hotel is going to provide you with. For the ladies, your skin will survive not having every toner, buffer and exfoliant you use at home – trust us, it’ll be fine. For the gentlemen…well, soap does come free, but if you’re that funky, sure, pack an extra bar.

  1. Too Many Clothes

The size of your suitcase doesn’t dictate how many things you need. This is honestly the hardest one to remember, and something we have to say out loud, focus on, and avoid. If you’re going for 4 days, you DON’T have to fill the suitcase to the brim! Really! You won’t run out of clothes!

Remember the 15%…or 10%…whatever the percent is, rule. Most people only wear a small percentage of what’s in their closet, and that’s often the same story for what’s in their suitcase. Think about the functions you’ll be attending, and pack accordingly.

All that to say, trade show season is a lot of fun, and a lot of running around. If you can get good at avoiding overpacking, you can do a lot of great things for your back, your possessions (not wearing them out!), and for fellow travelers you’re sharing space with.


Want to know where we’re heading this trade show season? Feel free to ask! Simply email [email protected] and we’d love to connect with you.