In 2009 I attended my very first ABC Kids Expo as media for Dirty Diaper Laundry. Looking back I can’t believe that a. they approved my tiny little blog as media (what were they thinking?!) and b. that I was ballsy enough to fly solo with my 9 month old for an enormous expo. The ABC Kids Expo is a trade only event that caters to the juvenile products market. Everything from car seats, breast pumps, clothing, diapers, and anything in between is there. The BIG brands (think Graco) are there along with first year exhibitors. It’s over a MILLION square feet of booths and it’s EXHAUSTING but a lot of fun!
The 2015 expo will be my 5th event and it never gets easier. As a buyer or media attending the show it’s not only mentally taxing but physically exhausting as well. With 4 events under my belt here are my suggested items for anyone going for the first year that may help with your last minute packing plans!
First and Foremost- Comfortable Shoes
I can recall one particular expo that resulted in almost crippling blisters and foot pain when the shoes I thought were comfortable turned against me. Not only that, but my back-up shoes were just as miserable If you’re buying shoes just for the event give them full-time wear to break them in before the event and suss out any potential pain points. Once you get a blister you are screwed, choose wisely. Loafers or ballet flats have worked well for me in the past.
Compile a First Aid Kit
Bandages, headache/hangover pills, lubricating eye drops (none of that Visine junk), and any other items that you expect you MIGHT need- bring them. For me, I also pack grab antacids in case the delicious Vegas food I eat decides to bring the heart burn. If you have bandaids on hand and a friend complains of a blister you can become their hero.
Back-Up External Phone Charger
Instagramming and Periscoping around the show is fun but it can deplete your phone’s battery. No one has time to sit by a wall with a MILLION square feet of exhibitors to explore! Have your extra battery pack and the cord ready to charge your phone from your bag or purse while you knock out those appointments. Mophie is a popular brand and you might still have time to get it from Amazon prime if you buy today!
All the KIND Bars
The food at ABC Kids Expo is either fried, or a salad made who knows when from a plastic bowl. If you don’t have the time or energy to seek food off-site you can subsist on KIND bars or the like. If you’re in a booth or have friends with one you can pack a healthy lunch and be in even better shape.
A Las Vegas Monorail Pass
If you’re staying on the Vegas strip or plan on hopping from casino to casino the Monorail week pass is a must. It costs around $30 and will let you take the monorail around Las Vegas as often as you’d like for the time frame. Be warned that many of the stops are “near” other casinos but by “near” they mean a 20 minute walk. It’s still a valuable tool in your tool belt to survive Vegas and it’s way easier than navigating the NYC Subway system. ABC Kids attendees get a discounted rate.
A Full Starbucks Gold Card
Go ahead and add $50-$100 to your Starbucks App, you’re gonna need it. There’s a Starbucks in the lobby of the convention center on the first level- get there 30 minutes before the show opens or opt for off-peak hours. If anyone wants to load my card up for me I’ll give you my password…
A White Noise App
I often have roomies for ABC Kids because Vegas isn’t cheap… to cancel out any snores or the sound of your roomie getting up to pee in the middle of the night have a white noise app on your phone. Even the free ones are useful!
Keep a water bottle on you or plan on stopping for the free water offered by generous booths because between the Vegas dry air and the piped in air in the convention center the chances you will lose your voice by the end of the event are high. I also find the movement of the floor on Level 2 messes with my balance and causes me to feel vertigo… no idea how to fix that one!
Those are my essentials for surviving ABC Kids. It’s always wonderful to see the many friends I’ve made in this industry and it’s worth the tolls it can take on you.
I don’t have the secret to getting over the time change for those of us on the East Coast (see you at 4 am VEGAS time when my body says good morning) but at least you can learn from a veteran’s previous blunders. Even if I do everything right I always leave this event feeling drained and exhausted in every way but each year I get better and better at surviving.
I’m looking forward to sharing the newest products LIVE on periscope- be sure to follow @KimRosas!