38 Things Every Planner Needs In Their Event Survival Kit

August 9, 2020  |  by:

Events can get pretty crazy, and planners must be prepared. That’s where the event survival kit comes in. To be ready for anything, planners keep a few handy items on their person at all times – like these!

Event planners are notorious for their ability to adapt. Their readiness for unexpected situations can make – or break – an event. Since event planners are expected to fix problems, they need more than MacGyver-like thinking. They need an event survival kit armed with tools to combat technical difficulties, VIP requests, catering issues, and more.

Many professional event planners can relate to this topic. They all have their own version of emergency or survival kits that are a strategic mix of past experiences and anticipated conundrums. Take our word for it, it’s better to be over-prepared. It only adds to your credibility and builds your client’s trust in you!

Bags for the Event Survival Kit
Photo by Dids

When Do You Need An Event Survival Kit?

Is “all the time” an acceptable answer? But really. As a professional event planner, it’s your duty to be prepared, and that includes showing up with everything it takes. After all, your clients paid for your help! Depending on the event, you can add or remove certain items. For example, you won’t need sunscreen at an indoor event.

Some planners even have two kits. One planner from Special D Events in Michigan said, “We have two ‘take boxes’ that we pack for every event. One has office supplies, and the other has beauty supplies. Between the two, we have just about everything someone could need.”

What kind of “kit” works well? Large, hardshell makeup cases work great because they’re spacious and durable. Some even use fishing tackle boxes! These options work well because they are designed with fold-out drawers and built-in compartments. It may be inconvenient to lug around at times, but in one or two events, this kit will become your best friend.

Read More: 5 Common Problems That Can Ruin Your Event

Technical Must-Haves

cables
Photo by Lucian Alexe

Even though some venues offer AV help, it’s always smart to have a few technical tools on hand for on-the-fly needs. Here are some items for your emergency kit to solve common technical problems.  

  • HDMI chords
  • Adapter cables for both Mac and PC laptops
  • iPhone and Android phone chargers (or a USB with multiple heads)
  • Portable USB charger packs (p.s. These make great giveaways!)
  • Batteries (AA, AAA) for microphones or walkie-talkies
  • Extension power chord
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Portable WIFI hotspot device (or a great data plan on your phone!)
  • Light ring (to help make your event Instagram-able!)

Attendee & Speaker Necessities 

sewing kit
Photo by Annie Spratt

Humans are… Well, human! We spill things, get bad breath, and accidentally rip our pants. Overcome mishaps and protect your attendees and speakers from unnecessary embarrassment with personal items like these:

  • Stain remover pen
  • Lint roller
  • Band-aid (because nothing clears a dance floor like blisters!)
  • Safety pins or double-sided tape
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Deodorant or body spray
  • Sunscreen or bug spray
  • General First Aid kit
  • Floss, disposable toothbrushes, or mouthwash
  • Breath mints or gum
  • Protein bars or emergency snacks
  • Feminine products

Planning & Organization Event Survival Kit Items

pencils
Photo by Nik

There’s nothing like good ol’ fashioned office supplies. As an event planner, the world is your office, so you need to bring it with you. Your kit should have some of these desk staples, plus printed day-of-event documents for simple referencing.

  • Day-of-event documents:
    • Attendee/guest list
    • Sponsors and vendors list
    • Event agenda (or use a virtual timeline!)
    • Contact information (venue, drivers, caterers, etc.)
    • BEO & other contracts
  • Pens, pencils, scissors, Sharpies
  • Paper, notebooks, or Post-It notes
  • Clipboard
  • Labels or nametags
  • All-purpose cleansing and glass wipes
  • Superglue and scotch tape

Miscellaneous Event Survival Kit Items

tools for the Event Survival Kit
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM

Unexpected situations call for random fixes! Here are some extra odds and ends to include in your event survival kit to cover all the bases.

  • Collapsable easel
  • Extra signage
  • Tape measure
  • Lighter
  • Zip ties
  • Multi-head screwdriver or other essential tools

Event planners are organized, prepared, and above all: problem-solvers. They are ready for anything because of careful planning and learning from their mistakes. So take this list to start your event survival kit and add your own unique items. Then, you’ll be ready for anything!

Amanda Larson, CED, is a Certified Event Designer, marketer, and content creator. With a degree in journalism and special events management, Amanda has worked in marketing and events for both international startups and Fortune500 companies. She specializes in digital branding, copywriting, and graphic design freelancing for clients globally.

You can read other articles by Amanda here:

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