1. Load your calendar. Look for upcoming expos online and add the dates to your calendar so you can plan ahead. The Melbourne Pregnancy Babies and Childrenís Expo, One Fine Baby Family and Lifestyle Fair, and the Essential Baby & Toddler Show are three of the biggest in Victoria and are held every year.
2. Do your research. For the expos mentioned above, vendors will be listed on their websites weeks or even months prior to the event. Make a list of products you are looking for and companies that will be in attendance and sell that product. Read online reviews and make note of prices. Good items to test/ sample/ compare at expos: prams, car seats, reusable nappies, toddler food, creams and lotions (especially for babies with sensitive skin)
3. Create a designated expo e-mail address. You will need an e-mail address to register for the expo and enter draws for prizes. Having a separate account keeps your main inbox clear of all expo content, but still gives you access to deals that the vendors may have on offer after the event.
4. Buy your ticket in advance. This way, itís usually free and you donít have to go if your plans change. Most expos also offer educational seminars (infant CPR, breastfeeding, safe sleeping, etc.) and some of these may require booking in advance, so be sure to check online.
5. Choose your time and day wisely. If an expo goes from Friday to Sunday, try to go on Friday as soon as it opens. Selection will be best and the crowds far more manageable. Going Sunday afternoon is another good option if you want the best deals. Many vendors want to get rid of stock and will offer discounts.
6. Donít go in a big group. While it may sound like the perfect excursion for a motherís group, it really isnít. The more people you have in your group, the harder it will be to navigate and make the most of your visit. Two to three people is best.
7. Take all freebies and enter all competitions. You can always sell or donate what you donít want or need.
8. Do a lap of the expo first without making any major purchases so that you can compare items and prices. If vendors pressure you to buy something, ask for them to write the item and price on a brochure or business card. It will give them hope and allow you to avoid being rude.
9. Compare prices online using your phone. Be cautious about buying big ticket items like car seats and prams as they may be more difficult to return if they are defective. Ask about return policies and procedures. Keep in mind that stores like Baby Bunting price match and Babies Rí Us beats all advertised prices by 10% so, if a company advertises their prices online, you may be able to get it cheaper elsewhere. Also, donít forget that most vendors extend their offers for a few days after the expo finishes. You may have to pay shipping fees, but it does take the pressure off of buying something on the spot if youíre not 100% sure.
10. Take your time and enjoy yourself. Baby expos are designed for families, with ample change facilities and play areas. Many have live entertainment and food on site. High chairs are a hot commodity at peak times, so be prepared to feed young children on your lap, in the pram, or on the floor. Even if you leave empty-handed, rest assured that you are that much closer to becoming an expo expert in your own right.
Eastern Pregnancy & Baby Expo Karralyka Centre in Ringwood
Sunday 4th February 2018
Melbourne Pregnancy Babies and Childrenís Expo The Melbourne Exhibition Centre, South Wharf
24-25 February 2018
Essential Baby & Toddler Show Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
27-29 April 2018