ClickCease Traveling with custom & portable trade show displays | Godfrey Group


For many businesses, trade show marketing is the most effective way to grow their customer base and increase their profitability. And whether you stay close to home or travel long distance, making a game plan for how to get all of your exhibit equipment to the site is a must. The amount of travel required for your trade shows of choice most likely plays an important role in choosing the equipment that best suits your needs.

Transporting your trade show exhibit: tips for successful travel

Make a plan.

To get all of the components of your exhibit to the trade show safely and on schedule, you’ll need to plan ahead.

  • Decide what you’ll need to ship to the trade show.
  • Determine which carrier best accommodates your needs and if they offer volume discounts for shipping a variety of items at the same time.
  • Clearly label all of your trade show items to avoid a headache on the showroom floor. 

Determine how to protect your display while in transit.

You’ve worked hard to design the perfect display to capture the attention of your ideal customer. Now you need to make sure the exhibit makes it safely to the show. Some displays can easily pack down into tote bags or plastic shipping containers. Others might require wooden crates. We discuss this in greater detail below.

Establish what insurance is right for you.

There are many insurance options available, but the three most common types for shipping trade show items include:

    • Carrier or Van Line Insurance: This type of insurance is typically included in the base price for the service the carrier or van line offers. It’s important to note, however, that in most cases this is a “limited liability” type coverage which means that the company may not cover the full cost of your materials. We’d advise that you examine the level of insurance that the carrier or van line provides so you can make an informed decision.
    • Extended liability insurance: Your shipping carrier may allow you to extend their liability coverage. It might cost a bit more, but it’ll guarantee that your materials are fully covered.
  • Corporate insurance: If you want your trade show materials covered from the time they ship to a show to the time they return to your headquarters, this is the right choice for you.

  • Execute efficient setup.

    There are a few things you can do to avoid unnecessary stress on setup day. 

      • Give yourself enough time. There’s truth to the old expression that haste makes waste. Plan ahead and give yourself sufficient time to carefully and thoughtfully assemble your materials to avoid mistakes and injuries.
  • Get to know the trade show layout. Knowing and understanding exactly how you need to set up your booth once you arrive is crucial for a swift and accurate setup.
  • Examine your materials as soon as possible. Whether you traveled with your materials in tow or had them shipped to you, you’ll want to make sure nothing was damaged in transit.   

  • Traveling with a portable trade show display

    While the terms custom trade show display and portable trade show display are not always mutually exclusive, there are some general tendencies when it comes to the two types of exhibits. Typically, a portable display is a standard product where the frame is a prefabricated structure with custom printed graphics that complete the portable display package. 

    These types of displays typically serve the 10x10 booth spaces and 10x20 booth spaces well, though some 10x20 exhibitors prefer to upgrade to a custom display. 

    Portable trade show displays are commonly packed into tote bags or plastic shipping cases with wheels for easy transport. These types of displays are usually simple enough for the exhibitor to set up on their own without having to hire additional labor.

    Should you need to ship your display, portable trade show displays are shippable with UPS and FedEx.

    Traveling with a custom trade show display

    Custom trade show displays are unique and designed from scratch specifically with the exhibitor’s product or service in mind. When you work with Godfrey Group on a custom display project, we provide you with a 3D design rendering so you can fully envision what your display will look and feel like once it’s completed.

    Traditionally, when an exhibitor moves into the 20x20 booth space, custom trade show displays are the norm. 

    Packing and shipping a custom trade show display is slightly different than working with a portable display. These displays typically pack down into wooden crates and require freight trucks for shipping, though there are some exceptions to this rule. Additionally, to load and unload these displays, a forklift is often required. 

    With that in mind, we have certainly produced many 10x10 trade show displays that required this type of packaging/shipping and on the flip side, we’ve delivered plenty of 20x20 displays that could easily be packed down into plastic shipping cases. So just be mindful that there is no true golden rule when it comes to your trade show display.

    Our account managers are always happy to discuss your trade show exhibiting needs, and we can work with you to determine whether a portable or custom trade show display is best for you!