One thing I am renowned for when I travel is my HUGE suitcase I trail after me.  No chance of shoving that the plane’s overhead locker so it is straight to the check in desk for me. What could possibly be in there, how much does one girl need for a single night? LOTS. I am a display designer and project manager and I am packing the awesome.  Here are my 10 essentials you will need:

 1. Double sided tape.

3M make the best all round tapes and can even be picked up from the small hardware area in Woolworth’s.  Bonus: if you have been supplied with the very worst carpet tile known to man with metal or timber dust scattered across it and the supplier has buggared off for the day, use the sticky surface of the tape to extract the offending matter. Obviously not to be done across an ocean off carpet tiles (insist instead on a steam clean from the supplier) but good for the small niggly areas.

2. Water bottle.

You will get parched one site, hydrate even more than you typically would.

3. Paint and marker pens.

It is a given your hire furniture you have ordered will look like it has been used by barnyard animals when delivered to your stand.  You can either yell at the slack-jawed type that has bought the furniture or get busy on some fine penmanship. Take the colours of your stand (white, black and silver in the Posca range are good standbys) and do a bit of touch up.

4. Credit card.

From ordering last-minute items on site to buying you a margarita bigger than your head after the first day install, these are a must. Ramp it up by linking to frequent flyer points.

5. Velcro

I don’t care to know what the display industry did before Velcro but I suspect a lot of sore thumbs were involved jamming pins into hard surfaces. Buy in bulk and cut yourself a length before setting out for site.  Added bonus tip from my mate Shona: use the furry side to daub paint on walls for general touch up.  The furry side is a good match for a paint roller when caught in a pinch.

6. Tools.

I heartily recommend a tool kit like mine.

Diva’s pink tool kit

At the very least you will need a stanley knife (for opening boxes), a philips head screw driver (for fixing the rickety hire table) and a small spirit level (is that graphic really level?).

7. Over the counter drugs.

I would love to say that the trade show pounder of a headache can be relived through essential oils, a dream catcher and visualising calm blue oceans.  As if.  Nurofen works a treat for me and whatever you choice, I would caution you from taking anything with a warning on it about not operating machine while under the influence.  Being at a trade show dealing with peeps after a vivid night dreaming of George Clooney and his talking duck, is just a little too whacky.

8. Snacks.

The food available on site veers from the dire to the deep fried.  I swear I once ate a burger of cat at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre as it was not from any known source of origin I was familiar with.  Muesli / nut bars, fruit, cheese and cracker combos and yogurt are all good choice with the added bonus is that they are all readily available at a 7-11 near the trade show venue.  Chocolate and lollies are good but even the most sugared up Diva knows you have to make friends with your adrenal glands every now and then.

9. High visibility vest.

Oh I know they look dreadful and I always seem to present as having jaundice when I wear one.  But unless you want to be stuck in the go nowhere vortex of arguing with security staff jonesing on authority, whack one on.

10. Sense of humour.

Best tool to deal with trade show despair and muppets.  Ever.

Regardless if you have engaged the services of a stand designer and builder for your trade show stand, or if your resources are a little tight right now so you will be managing all this yourself, these tools are a must have and will save you time and grief.  Please add any other suggestions for on site must-haves in the comments below.

Another must have for me right now is this dark beauty from Mark Lanegan.

See you next week!