Moving Trade Show Displays Across International Borders: What You Need To Know

Traveling internationally is a very different experience from domestic travel. In the same way, moving trade show displays across international borders is very different from domestic shipping procedures. As you have probably discovered, commercial trade show booth shipping can be a challenge even within your own country. Once you move overseas, you have to add extra time for the foreign government’s restrictions and added possible delays. These guidelines will help you achieve the fastest movement with the least hassle.Check Each Country’s RegulationsThe most important thing to remember about international shipping is that every single country will have their own regulations covering things that enter or leave its borders. Some countries may have treaties with your own nation that are designed to expedite entrance and exit, but some will not. The best resources for determining what your trade show displays will encounter is your own country’s Department of State and the foreign customs office. Your Department of State will tell you exactly what countries you may enter, and what (if any) treaties you have with them. They will also warn you of any known travel dangers and associated problems. The foreign customs office will probably not be so user-friendly, but can be a helpful source of information nonetheless.Explore Visa Requirements EarlyIf you are taking your trade show exhibits to another country, you might be considered as engaging in business in that country’s borders, and might thus require a special visa. Visas are typically obtained by visiting the other country’s embassy or a special Consulate General, depending on your location. Guidelines for obtaining a visa are typically available on the destination country’s website, but you may also be able to learn more by contacting your Department of State.Keep in mind that visas can take a long time to be approved and may cost money. You will likely need one for every staff member you take with you for your trade show exhibits, and you will have to pay separately for each. In addition, some countries may require you to obtain a visa no matter what the reason for your travel. There is no general rule here; the only way to know for sure is to check on a case-by-case basis.Bringing Your Trade Show Booth On The Plane May Be EasierSome countries may choose to hold a shipped item for observation or processing, and might even tax its first entry into the country. For this reason, many exhibitors will bring their trade show displays as a carryon whenever possible. Carryon items and checked luggage are subject to search by customs agents and possible scans in the airport, but won’t usually have the hassle that can accompany shipped trade show exhibits. Although a very large booth cannot be moved this way, if your unit is small enough that air travel is feasible, it is almost universally the best idea for international travel.If you are aware of the potential challenges, traveling internationally with your trade show booth can be a hassle-free and very rewarding experience. You gain international exposure for your products, and you’re also able to interact with a corner of your industry and market that you rarely get to see. While this kind of journey can be a somewhat expensive prospect, the reward usually more than makes up for the costs.