Within the US and Canada, many clients have pop up displays that they choose to hand-carry with them onto an airplane. Others often choose to ship these items via FedEx. In fact, many of the major exhibition venues in the USA have FedEx Kinkos offices onsite, which makes for a convenient and cost effective shipping alternative. For someone wishing to do the same when traveling to a show overseas, your plans may have to change a bit, but there are still some possibilities. Here are some hints to make your hand-carry options a success: Religious Countries Any country whose leadership is highly influenced by religion will have strong restrictions and limitations on hand-carrying goods. In general, the purpose of Customs in these countries is to limit and control any type of media. Because of this, when hand-carrying to these regions, you can expect: - Bureaucratic and time consuming processes for Customs clearance - X - ray machines set up for any visitor entering the country, and you must x-ray both your hand-carry and checked luggage. - All hand-carry items are subject to lengthy Customs processes, so if you are only showing up 24 hours before the show starts, be careful. - Official documents stamped and sealed by local origin Chamber of Commerce are often required. - Duty and taxes may apply, and it may be on what Customs assesses as the value, not what you declare. Single Party Governments Because countries that are under a one party rule (ie. kingdoms, dictatorships, communist countries) have extremely restrictive processes, I do not recommend hand- carrying your exhibit. Western Europe and Asia Most of Europe and Asia is very accommodating with hand-carry items as they often are strong promoters of international trade shows. Generally, you should have no issues with hand-carrying your exhibit. Some important notes if you choose to hand-carry in Western Europe and Asia: - Be sure to carry your original pro forma invoices with "replacement" costs or a value that reflects the depreciated purchase price or a reasonable price of your goods. - Use an ATA Carnet if your goods are expensive or if you are traveling to multiple European cities. - Allow one or two business days for clearance if the goods are siezed for a formal Customs process. - Most likely, you will be able to proceed with the hand-carried goods to your destination along with your normal baggage process. - Keep in mind that flights within Europe have very restrictive cargo sizing for hand-carry baggage and their in-cabin luggage facilities are very limited. Latin America Because Customs clearance can be a very expensive and lengthy process of 2-5 working days, hand-carrying to Latin America is not usually recommended. The above rules are general, but be sure to check with your in country rep or your partners to verify what can and cannot be done. And of course if you need any help, TWI is always available to assist you! -- Greg Keh is Executive Vice President of TWI Group, Inc., the premiere specialist in international tradeshow logistics. To contact Greg, or to find out how TWI Group can help with your upcoming tradeshow shipments, please call our Las Vegas Headquarters at 702.691.9000.