8 Tips for International Shipping for Meetings

As meeting planners, we put a lot of thought into the onsite experience. We research the latest and greatest gifts that will wow our attendees. We work tirelessly with our clients to design the perfect collateral. We account for all the supplies we will need onsite to run a smooth program. After all of this detailed planning, our program’s success hinges on our shipments arriving at the destination on-time. Here are eight tips for international shipping for meetings and events.

1. Know your destination

Many countries have import restrictions that prohibit certain items from entering the country. Some items that are commonly prohibited are food and beverage products, raw materials, medicines, natural fibers, and dangerous goods. For international shipping for meetings, make sure your items will clear customs by researching your destination’s import restrictions. For example, Mexico has strict restrictions on textile products entering the country; however, adding your event logo to your items will help your shipment clear customs.

2. Calculate import taxes

A tariff (import duty or tax) is another form of an import restriction designed to control the quantity or value of goods entering a country. Import taxes vary by country and can also vary by item. These taxes can have a significant impact on your budget, so it’s best to be aware of these costs before you start purchasing items you plan to import.

3. Use a shipping broker

When you have international shipping for meetings, a shipping broker is helpful for many reasons, one being that they have an import license. Most venues cannot accept the responsibility of imported goods; therefore, an import license is needed for your shipment to clear customs. A shipping broker will also intervene if your shipment encounters issues in customs. A trusted broker will have the knowledge and experience working with the local authorities to clear the shipment.

4. Cushion your timeline

Preparing your shipment typically takes longer than expected. If using a shipping broker, confirm when they need your shipment to take inventory. Always allow a few extra days in case any issues arise in customs. It never hurts for your shipment to reach your venue a few days early.

5. Take inventory

Taking inventory of your international shipping for meetings items should be done in an organized and systematic way. Plan before packing up your boxes. Pack similar items together and double-check your shipping invoice to make sure it’s accurate. This will save you time onsite when you’re unpacking your boxes and taking inventory.


international shipping for meetings boxes

6. Pack like a pro

Because your boxes will be opened in customs, organize the contents of each box, and clearly label your boxes. Make it easy for the customs agent to identify what’s inside each box. A happy customs agent is the key to international shipping for meetings! Your boxes are traveling a long way, so filling each box helps the contents inside to remain snug and secure. You may be tempted to carry-on some last-minute trip materials or promo items, but an airport customs agent can easily confiscate these. Always ship as much, if not everything, ahead of time.

7. Complete your paperwork

The extra effort required to complete your shipping invoice correctly is worth it. If your shipping invoice isn’t accurate or complete, your shipment can get stuck in customs, and you’ll spend hours working on getting it cleared.

8. Source locally

When possible, try to find something locally. Instead of buying 200 beach bags in the US and shipping them to your destination, buy them locally. Not only will you save time and money, but you can also add a local flair by using products unique to the destination. Ask your local partners for ideas.


For more help with planning, check out our Meetings & Events page. We will be happy to help you provide that little something extra to make your meetings and events perfect.

Luci Robinson

Author Luci Robinson

Program Manager | Expertise is creating memorable incentive programs, providing excellent customer service and executing unforgettable events.

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