For companies in the wholesale and retail business, trade shows are an opportunity kick-start your sales and purchasing. But if you’re new to exhibiting at or attending trade shows, you might be wondering what you’ll need to bring with you.

You’re in luck: we’ve gathered a list of some of the most important trade show supplies that every exhibitor and attendee needs to bring with them in order to have a successful, worry-free trade show experience.

Trade Show Supplies for Exhibitors

Exhibiting at a trade show is a big commitment, both in terms of time and expense. It’s important to make the most of that investment. You’ll need to be well prepared and feeling your best. You’ll need supplies in these areas:

Booth Maintenance Supplies

These are the items that you need at every trade show for set up, tear down, and to maintain the booth while the show is going on. Many exhibitors keep these kinds of supplies in a toolbox that travels with the booth. These supplies include:

  • Velcro for your graphics. Invariably, these like to fall apart during shows and you will need to get them put back together fast.
  • Table linens. Make sure these are nice and thick to completely cover your venue tables.
  • Tape measure. To check your distances between booth components.
  • Hammer and screwdrivers
  • Utility knife
  • Packing tape
  • Extra light bulbs
  • Extra screws, nails and tacks
  • Duct tape

Office Supplies

Once the show starts, these are the items you will need to be able to keep things attractive, take orders, network and do business. These items can also travel with the booth in a plastic bin so that they won’t be forgotten (and to reduce your drayage bill). These items include:

  • Cleaning wipes
  • Windex and microfiber wipes
  • Booth schedule. Don’t rely on email for this, keep the schedule in the booth for easy reference. Make sure everyone’s cell phones are listed on the schedule.
  • First aid kit. You’ll need pain relievers, band-aids, and disinfectant. Check levels on pain relievers and bandages, as they tend to run out before other items.
  • Batteries, extension cords and device chargers
  • Zip-ties and Ziplocs

Sales and Marketing Supplies

The booth is set up, clean and organized. Now you are ready to meet and greet. You’ll need:

  • Tablets. Tablets are becoming an indispensable part of in-booth marketing, as an inexpensive and portable way to deliver presentations, take orders and more.
  • A full candy dish. A dish of candy is a great ice breaker, and a cheap way to attract people to your booth. Small, individually wrapped candies are best.
  • Giveaways. In addition to cards, you need something to keep your company top of mind. If your company uses giveaways, make sure to have more than enough on hand.
  • Product samples. Make sure these are attractively displayed and in good condition. When they start to look tired, replace.
  • Marketing collateral, spec sheets and promotional materials

Personal Supplies

This is what you need to survive the hours on your feet, greeting visitors and shaking hands, and still be feeling your best when the show is over.

  • Hand sanitizer. You’ll be shaking lots of hands, so get the big bottle. The moisturizing kind is best.
  • Cough drops or lozenges to soothe sore throats
  • Bottled water to prevent dehydration.
  • Granola or energy bars if you miss a lunch break.

Trade Show Supplies for Attendees

In addition to your personal packing list – clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc. – there are some items that are indispensable for all attendees at a tradeshow. Many of the items on this list are a good idea for exhibitors as well. This list includes:

  1. Comfortable shoes – We cannot stress this enough. You will be doing a lot of walking and standing, make sure you and your shoes can handle it.
  2. Portable chargers for your mobile devices – You’ll be using your phone to keep in touch with your office and make sure to follow any show-related hashtags on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to keep up to date on the latest news from the show floor. Finding an outlet in a crowded exhibit hall can be next to impossible. Carry a portable charger to make sure your devices stay juiced up.
  3. Business cards – Of course, everyone has to have these, but you’d be surprised how often they are forgotten.
  4. Water bottle and non-perishable snacks – Make sure you have these in case you get hungry. There is nothing worse than a long day on the trade show floor when you’re dehydrated and have low blood sugar.

That’s what is on our list. What’s on yours? Did we miss anything? Tell us about it in the comments.