I’m getting ready to take a trip to Seattle for the Renegade show next weekend (If you live in Seattle, come say hi! Details here). I remember before I started traveling to shows I was like “how the hell do people do it?” so I thought I would share some things I have learned along the way for anyone who is interested in giving them a try.
CHOOSING A SHOW
When you’re deciding which travel shows to do there are a few things you can keep in mind. Most importantly, do you know someone who lives near that show? It is extremely beneficial to have a friend or family member’s house to stay at. This not only saves on hotel expenses, but it also can be a sense of comfort in what could possibly be a pretty stressful trip.
If you know someone who lives in the same city you also have the ability to ship product or display pieces directly to them. This can be useful when you have a heavy product or display pieces that won’t fit in your suitcase.
If you choose a show in a location where you don’t know anyone there are other things to be considered. How will you get around? Will you need to rent a car? Does the city have public transportation? Will you be able to lug your heavy suitcases around as you try to find your way to the show location (Enter me wandering around trying to find the correct train to take to the Portland airport when I did Crafty Wonderland. Traveling alone can be challenging!)
Also, keep in mind how many days the show runs. Travel shows are a lot of work, and you will get more out of your efforts with shows that are two days or more.
My displays for local shows and travel shows are completely different. My local show display includes a large, heavy pallet and wine crates. Neither of these are feasible for travel.
Brainstorm ways to display your products using things that you are able to take apart or collapse. For example, depending on your product, you could use a collapsable basket or a foldable wood display. You may also be able to find storage boxes that can double for both packing and displaying your products.
My friend Gina, of Acute Designs, suggests under packing because you can always buy inexpensive display items once you arrive (Ikea is your friend).
And as far as things like tables, chairs and tents, most shows will give vendors the option to rent these things at an affordable rate.
PREP AND PACK
The first thing I did when I decided to commit to a travel show was buy a bigger suitcase. Buy the biggest one you can find and write that shit off. And don’t forget the carry-on!
Perhaps more important than the size of your suitcase, is the weight. Make sure you know your airlines baggage weight limit so you are not charged (even more) for overweight items. I put my heaviest items (I can’t believe how much these weigh when in bulk) in my carry-on since airlines don’t weigh them. I also make sure to include my money container for security reasons.
Bonus tip: Southwest Airlines offers TWO free checked bags. I flew with them to Chicago Renegade.
And don’t forget the emergency supplies! My friend Erika, of Rouge and Whimsy, suggests tape, scissors, needly and thread, sunscreen, ibuprofen and snacks! You can use this free printable craft show check list to get you started.
I hope these tips help you if you are considering doing a travel show. The thought can be overwhelming but I promise, it is do-able. Let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to leave additional tips in the comments! xo JA