During the early weeks of February, almost all of the buyers and sellers in the jewelry world travel to Tucson, Arizona for the various Tucson Gem Shows. If you haven’t attended the Tucson Shows before, it’s very easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer size and scale of the shows. Whether you are traveling to Tucson for the first time or the twentieth, here are some tips for helping you conquer the Tucson Shows.

Avoid the Sickness

The Tucson shows are held during the winter months with a lot of people from different areas of the world. Add in air travel, close proximity with people and touching gemstones and beads that countless other people have also touched to the mix and the shows become a breeding ground for illness.

Avoid the crud and come prepared with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and your special vitamins and supplements so you can stay well. Nobody will be offended if you are constantly sanitizing your hands. In fact, you may make more friends by offering to share.

Flat Rate Shipping

If you are planning to do a lot of shipping and don’t want to risk going overweight on your checked bag, buy flat-rate boxes from the post office and ship home. Flat rate boxes are a great way to avoid high shipping costs and can help you save space if you’re flying home.

Carry Cash to Stay on Budget

If you are on a strict budget, carry cash, and only use cash at the shows. Items add up very quickly and it’s amazing how quickly and easily you can spend money if you’re charging everything to a card. Cash will help you stay accountable if you’re on a tight budget. Trust me on this; I have yet to stick to my original budget when traveling to Tucson.

Make Dinner Reservations

Tucson is a busy town when the gem shows aren’t going on. When you add the thousands who travel to the gem shows, it means that many of the popular restaurants that are already busy get even busier. Avoid waiting for a dinner table if you’re dining out and make a reservation ahead of time.

Plan your Trip

Many of the gem shows have isles of booths and it’s very easy to get turned around. If you are attending for the first time, save time wandering around and searching by picking up a copy of the Tucson Show Guide (TSG). The TSG is conveniently located at the entrance of every show on set racks. I don’t just love TSG because I happen to know the editor, but because it is truly the best tool for navigating the shows.

Each issue includes helpful show lists, maps of each venue, and a shuttle schedule. It really is a must-have tool for everyone traveling to the jewelry shows. I will personally take time to study the maps of shows with my favorite vendors so I know where to find them. It saves me the time from wandering without a purpose and helps maximize my time.

What other tips do you have for traveling to Tucson? Share them below in the comments!

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