I will never forget the time I was exhibiting in Germany and came down with a very bad cold. At home this would have not been a big deal. However, being in another country, without my family, the comforts of home, and having to work long days in our trade show exhibit made a simple cold unbearable.
I don’t get sick often, I think in part because I lead a healthy lifestyle. However, it is so easy to stay away from healthy habits when traveling, right? Since that trip to Germany I have learned some things that I try to stick by to prevent sickness or at least to stay prepared if I do get sick.
- Sleep. We all know we need sleep right? But it is so hard to do when we are traveling! Particularly when you are traveling internationally. It is easy to do as I did and decide there is simply too much to see and do and “maybe it is just better if I stay up so I can get used to the new time zone sooner.” My hard-earned lesson on sleep is: Take a quick nap if you really need it. Staying up for 24 hours straight will not help you be more productive, trust me. Bring a face mask to cover your eyes from light and ear plugs to block out hotel noise and some sort of alarm so you are not afraid to oversleep.
- Drink. I don’t mean alcohol. Water, tea, juice are all good choices to keep you hydrated and healthy during your trip. I have a friend who swears that most ailments can be cured with water. You have a headache… you must need more water. You have an upset stomach… drink water. You feel tired… drink water. While I don’t quite subscribe to her belief that water cures all, I have found that often drinking water helps — if not completely alleviates — all of these symptoms.
- Breaks. It is so easy to go, go, go when you are traveling for work. There is so much to do and often deadlines do not allow for breaks. Still, if you don’t take time for breaks it is more likely you will make a mistake or run yourself ragged. My grandpa had a saying: “Slow down because I need to get there fast.” I now know what he meant. Something as simple as taking time for a cup of coffee, a walk around the building or even a few deep breaths during a stressful time can be invaluable.
- Medicine. Of course we all bring any prescription medication we may take on a regular basis when we travel. However, bringing a few common over-the-counter meds for common ailments can mean the difference between a successful and comfortable trade show booth staffing experience or not. My common staples are: Ibuprofen, moleskin (for blisters), icy hot or pain patch for strained or tired muscles.
- Clean. Even the cleanest venues and hotels have germs that may overwhelm your system when you are tired. Washing hands often can make such a difference. We all know it, but it is easy to forget when you are rushing from the trade show, after shaking so many hands, to stop in the bathroom and wash your hands before rushing off to your next destination. While I am not a big fan of antibacterial lotions this is the one time that I do use them if I don’t have time to find and then run across the trade show hall to the bathroom.
- Shoes. Comfort is a must when it comes to shoes. Make sure they are broken in and try to bring at least one extra pair. One of the best tricks I’ve learned to prevent blisters is to have a different pair of shoes to change into after the show and, ideally, another pair of shoes for the next day. This way it gives your shoes a chance to dry out and if you happened to get a blister the second pair is less likely to rub directly onto it.
- Good bugs. You’ve heard the jokes about people getting violently sick when they travel abroad. The only problem is that it is not funny at all when it happens to you. While, thanks to my Teflon-coated stomach, this has not happen to me yet I will now share my top strategy for keeping my travel companions healthy enough to work or play: Yogurt. According to Rodale.com in their article, The Truth about Probiotics, “Studies have found that some individual strains of probiotic bacteria can help digestion and boost immunity, even warding off allergies and colds.” Basically keeping some good bacteria in your gut will help you fend off some of the ill effects of running at breakneck speeds to make your trade show presence profitable.
Even with a median number of 8.1 shows a year, almost twice as many exhibit marketers would like to travel more for work (34.7%) compared to less travel (18%). Read more about how the job is changing for exhibit marketers like you in the free white paper, The Evolving Role of Exhibit Marketers, by clicking here.