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You spent months creating a plan, preparing your booth and staff and organizing your materials, and now you are ready for the trade show. Most exhibitors are well prepared and follow a checklist to make sure they have completed everything. However, even with the best planning there are unexpected last minute issues that come up, leaving you scrambling to find a solution. Creating an emergency trade show kit with items to keep on hand before, during and after the show helps you deal with these situations so you can keep things running smoothly at your booth. Your emergency kit should contain a variety of basic tools and materials to keep your booth and staff in prime condition. Although the contents of emergency kits can vary depending on your specific situation, the following items form the core of an emergency trade show kit and are a great place to start.


Make last minute booth repairs and changes in setup simply by bringing a few tools in your emergency kit. Exhibit assembly may not go according to plan, so some basic tools help you stay flexible and able to work through the situation. Be sure to include any specific tools you might need for your booth, as well as the following general purpose items:

  • Scissors
  • Allen wrenches
  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape
  • Packaging tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Flashlight
  • Wood glue
  • Hammer and nails
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Multi tool
  • Pliers
  • Screwdrivers (both Phillips and flathead)
  • Velcro

Exhibit Parts and Pieces

Exhibits can have moving parts or other breakable pieces. Prepare to fix any damage done to your booth during transport or during the trade show by bringing along some spare parts for your booth. Depending on your booth, this could include items like the following:

  • Light bulbs
  • Screws
  • Double sided tape
  • Touch-up paint
  • Extra hinges
  • Exhibit-specific connectors

Office Supplies

Pens and pencils have a way of disappearing and you do not want to end up searching for one to take down contact information while a potential client waits. Items like business cards also tend to run out faster than expected. Avoid these embarrassing situations and always be ready to connect with booth visitors by bringing additional office supplies in your kit, which should include the following:

  • Extra business cards
  • Paper clips
  • Notepads
  • Pens/pencils
  • Markers
  • Highlighters
  • Calculators
  • Tape
  • Glue sticks
  • Super glue
  • Binder clips
  • Rubber bands
  • Hand held paper punch
  • Stapler with extra staples
  • Additional giveaways and promotional supplies
  • Tacks or pushpins
  • White out
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Cleaning Supplies

Spills, trash and dust are inevitable, especially at trade shows with food and beverage samples, so be prepared with cleaning supplies to keep your booth looking great. Frequently wiping down tables, pens and other surfaces keeps them fresh and clean. Pack the following cleaning supplies in your emergency kit:

  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Adhesive remover
  • Carpet stain remover
  • Glass cleaner
  • Multipurpose cleaner

Health and Hygiene Items

You and your staff are critical to the success of your booth; having friendly, energetic staff makes a big difference in attracting visitors and potential clients to your exhibit. Help everyone stay healthy and functioning at their best by including some basic personal items in your kit. These items include the following:

  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Breath mints
  • Eye drops
  • Allergy and pain relief pills
  • A small first aid kit including bandages, burn gel, disinfectant, cotton pads, etc.
  • Throat lozenges
  • Bottled water

Communication Information

Make sure you know who to call if you need to talk to the show manager or security. Your emergency trade show kit should include the information needed to contact key people and make sure everyone stays informed, such as the following:

  • Staff schedule with contact information
  • List of back up staff with contact information
  • Contact lists for trade show organizers, floor coordinators, vendors and your sales team

Miscellaneous Items

A few additional supplies that are helpful to have around include:

  • Flash drives
  • Resealable plastic bags
  • A small sewing kit
  • Phone chargers
  • Small digital camera
  • Batteries
  • Surge protectors

Although we hope you’ll never have to use it, one of the benefits of an emergency trade show kit is that they are reusable. Once you create a kit, you only need to maintain it by replacing any items as needed after a show. Consider the size of your booth when creating your kit; for larger booths, you should have more than one kit so that they are readily accessible. Always make sure your staff know the location of the emergency kit and are prepared to use it when required. Setting up your emergency kit early gives you plenty of time to gather the items and make sure you have everything you need. Waiting until the last minute is more of a hassle and is likely to result in forgetting something.

No one knows trade shows like Nimlok Louisiana! We can help you prepare for your show from start to finish, and with an emergency kit packed to suit your booth’s needs, you’ll be ready to handle any last minute mishaps at your next trade show for a smooth and effective exhibit experience.