Taking Trade Show Displays On A Plane: Air Cargo Packing Basics For Every Type Of Trade Show Booth

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Airline travel is the most common form of conveyance to distant conventions and expos, and with good reason: it’s fast, it’s efficient, and it’s one of the safest methods of transit available. For humans, staying safe on a plane is a simple task. You simply sit back in your seat and enjoy a flight, complete with refreshments and staff to help you enjoy your trip. For your trade show booth, it takes a bit more to have an enjoyable journey. Many companies choose to bring their trade show displays along on the plane, and are able to enjoy a much higher degree of certainty about their stand’s arrival time at a lower cost. At the same time, many are unaware that trade show exhibits that travel on a plane must be carefully packed and protected. If properly wrapped for travel, an airline flight can be a great way to move your unit cross country – but the wrapping stage is absolutely critical.Two Different Ways To Send Your Trade Show Booth On A PlaneIf you’ve ever flown on a plane before, you know that there are two main types of cargo: carryon bags and checked luggage. Carryons are limited in size and number, but they’re brought onto the plane with you and can stay with you (and potentially in your site, if you like) throughout the flight. In contrast, checked luggage has much less restrictive limitations on its size, and much more liberal restrictions on how much can be checked per passenger. You may end up paying a nominal fee ($50 or so) for additional checked luggage, but it’s usually cheaper than shipping your unit.  Carryon luggage is typically as safe as if you packed your trade show displays in a car. It’s very hard for them to suffer damage, even if they’re packed in just a light carrying case. Checked luggage is more difficult to protect because airline baggage handlers are notoriously harsh with such bags. While your suitcase might have limited options for protection, your exhibits can be much better suited for these harsh conditions. You simply need to be willing to invest in the necessary gear.Custom Carrying Cases For Trade Show DisplaysThe best option for protection is a hard-sided custom fit carrying case. This case will be crush resistant, giving your trade show exhibits the ultimate degree of protection against damage from other luggage and from any accidents during handling. Inside, the case should securely protect the elements of your booth from hitting each other, preferably with the use of foam or some other impact-resistant agent. These cases are not cheap, but they’ll serve you well for future flights and for any future shipping, if needed.Inexpensive Airline Travel For Trade Show ExhibitsEven though you have to purchase a case for your unit, you are still likely to find that sending it via plane is less expensive than sending it via a traditional shipping option. Simply ensure that your case has the proper dimensions to fit either as a carryon or as a piece of checked baggage. Typically, banner stands are the only units small enough to fit as carryons, but the exact dimensions should always be confirmed before you fly. With a strong case and a good plan, you’ll be able to enjoy the friendly skies with your unit safely in tow. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Harmen writes about trade show displays in Miami for Skyline, a leading designer and producer of Miami trade show exhibits. Clients ship Skyline designs all around the country and world for both local and international needs.  

Copyright (c) 2009 OnlineBizU.com

Despite my best efforts, this past week I lost both my primary and secondary computer systems. After losing my primary desktop several years ago, I vowed I would never let myself be caught without an operating PC. As they say, „the road to h*ll is paved with good intentions,“ and I once again was caught with my proverbial pants down without an operating computer when my desktop, which had been exhibiting some problem signs in the last month, died suddenly and would not turn on.

I then went to my laptop, which I had admittedly been lazy about keeping updated, and turned it on. Immediately the Windows update process started, and asked me install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Having done that successfully on my desktop, I wasn’t too worried about any installation problems on the laptop. However, upon completing the installation, the blue screen of death appeared, which is NEVER a good sign with a Windows-based system.

After trying for about an hour without success to revive my laptop (which is only 8 months old and still under warranty), I knew that I was in trouble and starting looking for alternatives. Fortunately, my husband keeps a laptop on hand that he uses for gaming when we travel, and he generously offered to let me install my programs and files on it until I could repair one of my computers.

After finally acknowledging that there was no way I could have foreseen this situation, I decided that I needed to s*ck it up, get over, and move on. So, I’m making do with a partially customized laptop that will do until one or the other of my PCs is returned.

Despite having gone through similar situations previously, I still learned a few new things along the way about data recovery and computer backup. Here are the 10 most effective tools that saved my bacon during my recent computer meltdown.

1. Automatic backup software. I’ve been using 2 online backups, Carbonite and Syncplicity. I have had to restore from Carbonite previously, and I found the process to be lengthy and somewhat confusing. So, several months ago I began using Syncplicity because it offers online access to all backed up files as well as the ability to synchronize an unlimited number of computers. However, it has taken a week to restore 20 GB of data with Syncplicity, and some of the data was wasn’t really restored, despite what Syncplicity told me in my account. However, I can easily download this missing info to my computer from the online vault. One process that makes this backup system easier is that I store all of my data files in My Docs so I don’t have to hunt them down in Program Files, or wherever they are typically stored.

2. Email client software. I still use the dinosaur Eudora for my email client. Old habits die hard, I suppose. However, somehow I missed marking some key Eudora folders to back up, and so I was initially using my webmail access providing by my hosting company to access email because of this oversight with Eudora. I began to tire of that quickly, as I had no way to create additional folders in those systems, so I then decided to manually configure Eudora and open folders and emails as I need them in the program. This experience has made me very tempted to change all of my incoming and outgoing email servers on all domains to Gmail just to have access to everything online, come hurricane, flood, tornado, or computer crash.

3. Bookmark service. I’m an avid researcher and resource collector, so having access to my bookmarks, or favorites file, is vital to my day-to-day operations. I had been using Spurl, but because of frequent periodic outages of their service, I’ve changed to Foxmarks. I like that this service offers me the ability to access all of these online, as well as have them at my fingertips any time I need them from my Bookmarks menu as well as easily synchronize them to any computer.

4. Contact management. Even though I don’t use Outlook for email, I do use it for calendar and contact management. I had been using Plaxo as an online backup for my contacts, but it doesn’t permit me to store my notes about each contact. I’ve been using Airset now for several months, and it regularly syncs my contacts (with notes) and my calendar to their online service. I found this much more convenient than trying to restore a backup PST file to Outlook and then repeating that again when my primary computer is returned. Instead, I just make changes to contacts and my calendar on Airset, and I’ll just sync that to Outlook on my desktop.

5. Passwords. I’ve been using Roboform for years to help me manage my passwords. I’ve got my Roboform data in My Docs, so it was a breeze to reinstall Roboform and copy the data folder to the new computer and permit me to access all of the sites requiring a password and username. Finally, something that worked seamlessly!

6. Project Management. Smartsheet has been my project management service for the last few months. I love that it has the ability to create an item and allow you to attach a document and discussion to that item. Rather than having to hunt down information about a project, all I had to do was log into my Smartsheet account and there it was.

7. Software licenses. Roughly 99% of the new software I install is downloaded and I don’t get a physical copy on CD. Therefore, I make sure that I have the downloaded version in a My Downloads folder that’s a part of My Docs file, which is backed up regularly. And, I make a PDF copy of the software license that I get by email and store in a Software folder, also in My Docs. Lastly, I purchased a very inexpensive program, Registration Vault, that lets me store all of my software license and purchase info and permits me to back up my data to My Docs. As I had to reinstall software on a new computer, it was easy to restore the Registration Vault files, get my software license number, and have a fully functioning piece of software within minutes.

8. Accounting. I use Quickbooks for my accounting needs, and while they do offer an online version, I haven’t yet moved to that. Instead, I back up Quickbooks after every use in the My Docs folder. When I needed to invoice consulting clients at the beginning of this month, all I had to do was reinstall Quickbooks and restore my latest backup. I instantly had everything I needed again at my fingertips.

9. Alternate free services. Some software I use, like CuteFTP and TraxTime, don’t permit data backups. So, I really do have to start all over with my FTP info and my time tracking info when my computer dies. Rather than installing these programs on the new computer, I just used some free alternatives to get me through. FireFTP, a Firefox add-on, has worked quite well for me as my FTP client, and MyHours.com has stood in fairly well for TraxTime, although it requires a few more steps for operation than TraxTime.

10. Email marketing. While not a tool, I discovered that both text and HTML versions of email broadcasts matter in email marketing. I wasn’t initially able to get my normal email client up and running, so I was reading my email from my webmail systems. I’ve got 2 hosting accounts, and the newer one has a fairly sophisticated webmail system and let me read HTML emails with no problem. The other, however, doesn’t permit HTML viewing. So, those emails sent only in HTML were ones that I was unable to read. If you’re wise and your email marketing program permits you to send emails out in both plain text and HTML, do it, even though it might seem like a needless pain. You just never know how members of your list might be forced to ready your emails.

As you might gather, I’ve discovered that online services have provided me with the greatest backup to help me through this computer crisis. My lesson? Duplicate as much as you can in online systems. In this way, you’ll have access to your data when you travel, when you have a computer crashBusiness Management Articles, or when you’re faced with a natural disaster.

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