While peripherally related to Flying with a poster tube as a hand luggage, I am trying to avoid this. I would like to print my poster at the conference. I am considering this for two reasons. First, it means I don't have to fly with the poster. Second, it gives me a few extra days to work on the poster.

I can see three potential drawbacks.

  1. Being unable to print the poster when you get to the conference. I have lots of experience printing posters at my university, but no experience in the conference city
  2. Not being prepared/able to return with the poster to hang in the lab
  3. Getting reimbursed for printing charges

As for point 1, the conference is in a major US city with at least 4 Kinkos (large scale professional print shops) within reasonable walking distance of the venue. My poster is not until day 4 of the conference and I am arriving 1 day early. On point 2, I do not plan on hanging this poster in my lab. I am a little worried about getting reimbursed, but our on-line reimbursement system has a category for printing charges. If I cannot get reimbursed, I am willing to pay out of pocket.

Am I missing anything that can go horrendously wrong with this plan?

  • 4
    How could it possibly go wrong? Feb 11, 2013 at 12:41
  • 2
    I assume you are bringing an electronic copy of the poster with you, say, on a USB memory stick or hard drive. These could be damaged or lost. You might want to e-mail yourself a copy of the poster to be safe.
    – JRN
    Feb 11, 2013 at 14:37
  • 3
    All hail to Dropbox
    – Eekhoorn
    Feb 11, 2013 at 16:42
  • 3
    Regarding flying with posters, I have two words for you: cloth posters!
    – F'x
    Feb 11, 2013 at 17:24
  • 1
    I agree with @F'x. Canvas posters are the best solution. They look exactly the same, but fold up in your luggage. Problem solved
    – Falko
    Feb 12, 2013 at 5:58

7 Answers 7


Reimbursement is related to a particular institute's policy; and taking by plane - to a particular airline's policy, so I won't speak about it.

Being unable to print the poster when you get to the conference.

Possible problems with printing facilities:

  • they may by further from the conference venue than expected (or not as easy to get to them, or masked so it's they are not easy to find even if you are nearby),
  • delays larger than you expect (at least assume "the next day", in general or due to other prints ordered),
  • page can be out-of-date, or they may be not working for some reason,
  • they may not print A0 format (permanently or temporarily),
  • local holidays (or local customs related to working hours) may be different.

(I printed posters on-site two times, and it went almost without problems; some of people I knew had problems, especially with instant printing and poster sizes).

  • 3
    +1 for local holidays (especially if you go to a different country)
    – Suresh
    Feb 11, 2013 at 20:18
  • 2
    I think this is the best answer, but I also think that having enough time to handle travel delays and/or sickness is important.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 13, 2013 at 16:24

If you're not worried about transporting the poster or getting reimbursed, and the destination city has the same facilities as your home location, then there's no functional difference between printing locally and remotely.

In other words, once you define away all the differences, the two scenarios are the same :)


Printing at a conference is absolutely no problem. Many conference centers and associated hotels have print shops and Kinko's sprinkled around specifically for people at conferences and meetings to use for print posters, handouts, and other things. You can usually call and in advance and send in some material if you like and it will be ready to print out when you arrive.

In fact, the times I've gone to Kinko's near a conference on similar errands, there were other people from the conference waiting in line to do the same thing.

If you're presenting the first morning of the conference and getting in the night before, you might want to roll it up. Otherwise, you'll lose no sleep and shouldn't have an issue. The only real downside is that it will probably be more expensive than doing it at your university.


I had your problem 1 when I accidentally forgot the poster tube in the taxi when I arrived at my hotel. The problem was I arrived on Saturday and the poster session was on Sunday. For your case, where you have four days, there probably shouldn't be a problem, especially with so many print shops within walking distance. You could even perhaps arrange for the poster to be sent online before your arrival, and pick it up when you get there.


This is not to scare you but what if you fall sick and lose the 3 or 4 extra days you have.

Remember it is a new place you are going so things may not be as familiar as at home.

Its good to prepare in advance. Perhaps you can forward your poster in advance and collect it on your arrival.

  • 1
    If Daniel falls so unbelievably sick he can't find time to print his poster over 3-4 days, he probably shouldn't show up to present it or can ask a colleague instead.
    – mako
    Feb 12, 2013 at 0:16
  • @BenjaminMakoHill Didn't he ask what could horrendously go wrong! Feb 12, 2013 at 0:35
  • 1
    Oh yes! And he could be hit by a meteor and incinerated instantly as well. This would also keep him from printing his poster. ;)
    – mako
    Feb 12, 2013 at 0:38
  • @BenjaminMakoHill The statistical probability of that happening is quite low though :) Feb 12, 2013 at 1:59
  • I think 3-4 days protects me, but anything less than 2-3 days may not be enough . A one day delay on a flight and being sick the next day might mean you have no poster for a colleague to present
    – StrongBad
    Feb 13, 2013 at 16:23

I do not see any reason why you would not be able to print your poster at arrival. In the past, I have used fedex (or whatever is easy) to ship the poster to my hotel. That way, the poster is waiting for you when you get there. You do not have to carry it on the plane and no need to stress about Kinkos not wanting to print your posters...


The plan's fine.

Be sure to check if you only need to submit the poster to print and then return to get it, or if they require you to verify a proof first. Some print shops may refuse to print unless you sign off on the proof first, so be sure you ask about that so you can plan if you need to make more than one trip.

If you want to be the local hero, buy thumbtacks and scotch tape for your poster while you're out and be the envy of all of the poster presenters, as well as the conference organizers, who will undoubtedly have forgotten to bring one or both of those things. ;)

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