Need to get materials to a trade show and back with minimal hassle? We put together this brief guide to trade show shipping best practices. Here at Approved Freight Forwarders (AFF), we have the experience and expertise to take care of all your shipping and storage needs for trade shows in Los Angeles as well as Hawaii trade shows. We can pick up your trade show displays from virtually any location in the U.S., pack up your trade show crates, create a custom storage schedule, and ensure your materials arrive on time and intact.

What are you bringing?

First, decide what you’ll need and the best way to get it there. While you’ll need to ship cumbersome items like trade show displays, consider bringing fragile items such as electronics with you on the plane. You can pack these things in your luggage – just make sure they don’t put you over the weight limit!

Pack it up

You don’t want to arrive at the show to find that your displays and materials have been damaged! Make sure you pack your items properly, using plenty of bubble wrap and foam padding for protection. Ideally, everything should be packed into a single crate. However, if you have multiple boxes and crates, it might be a good idea to use a pallet. Label all boxes, crates, and pallets with your company name, the destination, and the name of the trade show in case anything gets separated. If you don’t feel confident packing up your materials, let us help! We’re experts at assembling sturdy trade show crates.

Select a carrier

The next step is to choose a reliable company to ship your trade show materials. Check with the trade show for restrictions – some shows let you select your own carrier, while others may suggest or even require you use a certain company. When you’re choosing a carrier, you’ll want to look for these four things.

Single source carrier:

Look for a company that does it all, especially if you’re shipping materials overseas. Single source carriers can pick up your freight, load it onto the ship, transport it to the destination, take it off the ship, and deliver it to the trade show venue. Single source carriers like Approved have eyes and hands on your shipment every step of the way.


When you’re on a tight schedule, you’ll want to be able to track and trace your shipment in real time. Visibility is another major advantage of using a single source carrier. Approved can keep you updated on the status of your shipment throughout the entire process, so you’ll never have to wonder where your items are or if they’ll make it to the venue in time.


Trade shows often have a small window in which items can be shipped in and out. Outside of this window, you’ll face outrageous storage fees. A 3PL (third-party logistics) company can offer storage as well as shipping services. Approved can store your items at our warehouses before, after, and in between trade shows for little to no cost, saving you from high fees.


Choose a company that’s willing to work with you and will provide innovative solutions for your trade show shipping needs. Maybe you need to ship items to Hawaii trade shows, but you’re not located near any West Coast ports – we can come pick up your items no matter where in the U.S. you are. Or maybe you have a few trade shows that aren’t too far apart – we can store your materials in between shows to cut down on shipping costs. Approved will work with you to create a customized shipping and storage schedule that fits your needs and budget.


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