USANA11: Kathleen Rockney’s Convention Travel Tips

Written by on August 8, 2011 in Convention, USANA11

The countdown is on: 16 days until the 2011 USANA International Convention kicks off. It’s the 19th time USANA’s hosted this annual event, and each year we’re excited to see so many familiar faces in Salt Lake City, Utah.

But we’re equally excited to meet people who are experiencing Convention for the first time!

What is Convention, exactly? It’s four action-packed days of learning important things, meeting new people, and reinforcing the reasons you became part of the USANA Family in the first place.

Convention is also a fast-paced, information-rich, full-throttle adventure. There’s so much happening that at times it can seem a bit overwhelming.

Your Guide

With a little planning, you’ll be prepared to take full advantage of everything Convention has to offer. And to help you along the way, Kathleen Rockney, a USANA Gold Director who will be attending her 17th Convention, graciously shared with What’s Up, USANA? readers her list of Convention Travel Tips.

If you know Kathleen, you probably heard that her husband, Bill, was involved in a serious automobile accident on July 13. She tells us that he is slowly recuperating and they appreciate all the kind messages left on Kathleen’s Facebook wall. “This is truly a USANA Family,” she writes. “I plan to be at Convention to gather up all the hugs I can get!”

The social media team can’t wait to see you, Kathleen! We’re wishing you and Bill the best. Thank you again for sharing your tips.

Here we go…

First … three websites to access:

  • USANA Convention Website — Includes agenda, speakers, training stage seminars, breakout sessions, FAQs, and hotel reservations to view or modify. The specific training stage seminar and breakout session topics are coming soon, so you can pre-plan that portion!
  • Transportation Security Administration — At this time, we are still allowed 3-ounce liquid/gel bottles in carry-on IF we put them all in a quart-sized clear ziplock bag, and they fit comfortably in one ziplock per passenger. Your separate prescription meds can be put in another ziplock for easy clearing by the agents there. NOTE: We now may leave our laptops INSIDE their bags, if the bags comply with TSA guidelines.
  • Weather Underground — Keep watching the weather reports so you can be prepared for possible rain. Also, August can be HOT during the day, and chilly at night. From 95 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, down to 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Next … confirm your reservations:

  • The week or so before Convention, confirm your airline reservation. A few days before, it’s helpful to confirm your hotel reservation directly with the hotel (not before, because they don’t yet have the reservation list from Passkey). Find out if your hotel provides airport-to-hotel shuttle service. There is an inexpensive downtown hotel shuttle service at the airport, in case your hotel doesn’t offer one for free. Or 3 of you can share a taxi for the short 15-minute trip to downtown. It’s $8 one way per person for the Xpress shuttle, and about $20 + tip for a taxi.

And now, tips to help you get the most out of an incredible event …

  1. Pack comfortable shoes. Definitely pack more than one pair because the Salt Palace and EnergySolutions Arena (commonly referred to as The ESA) are HUGE! (The TSA recommends that all shoes be packed ON TOP of your suitcase contents in case the suitcase needs to be opened for inspection.)
  2. Dress in layers. Always have a sweater or a jacket with you for inside the cool convention center. The last few years, the Salt Palace was VERY chilly. Have an umbrella as well. I’ve been caught in a few showers running from the hotel into the center. A few years ago, we had frequent showers including awards night!
  3. Keep an eye on the weather. Check Salt Lake City weather the week before you pack because a shifting weather pattern begins in late August in Utah. (And, I mean SHIFTING! Could be very hot, could be cold. Could be BOTH!)
  4. Bring an empty small suitcase. Or a large purse or even a collapsible duffel bag or tote for bringing home purchased items in carry-on. USANA always has sales in their store inside the Salt Palace — both product sales and business tool sales. Bringing these items home with you on the airplane saves on shipping (Check for extra fees for checked luggage. More and more airlines are charging even for the first checked bag, though some offer a discount if you check in early online or if you pay for your ticket with their supported credit card.). In recent years, USANA has had more easy options for direct shipping if you do prefer to ship home. New: A UPS station is in the USANA shopping area in the Salt Palace, and a USPS post office (with free priority mail boxes) is within walking distance. Direct shipping might be cheaper nowadays than paying for a checked bag.
  5. General attire is smart business casual.The USANA convention website gives good guidelines. But, remember that you are representing USANA to the public as you wear your convention badge. So, kick it up a notch and leave the jeans or shorts for another time. Dress for success! And bring your latest rank pin to wear proudly!
    • 5a. USANAfest dress. This year’s Wednesday evening opening concert — USANAfest — is again outdoors on the ESA plaza. Do dress in layers that night. This is one night where jeans are totally fine! BTW, if you haven’t made airline reservations, make sure you consider either a Tuesday arrival or early Wednesday arrival so you’re rested for this first NETWORKING event!
    • 5b. Awards Ceremony dress. For the Thursday night awards ceremony, think “Oscars!” Dress as if YOU are walking across that stage (And, hopefully, many of you will be!) Men in suits or tuxes. Women in semi-formal cocktail dresses or full-length gowns. And, remember that there is a live band party afterward at the Salt Palace, so be prepared to boogie!
  6. Bring the camera. Always have your camera with you for that spur-of-the-moment photo op with Dr. Wentz or other leaders. Be sure you bring your camera charger with you as well to recharge at the hotel.
  7. Bring extra pens for writing, and notebook paper. Often USANA provides notepaper or leaves space in the convention booklet for notes, but it never hurts to bring your own. Plan to take lots of notes and even journal your experiences (and your feelings in the middle of the experience). Hot tip: Bring a mini-flashlight to jot down notes when the lights are down.
  8. Bring a tote bag for your pens, paper, binders, etc. Again, in some years past, they provided tote bags. But, I remember tossing in that spare tote bag the years that they DIDN’T provide them. Boy, was I glad I did! Many folks the last few years bought USANA rolling tote bags at the USANA merchandise store — very easy on the back, but hard on the toes you might run over. So, use caution while using them.
  9. Buy bottled water once you arrive, and drinks LOTS and lots of it.One year, I suffered altitude sickness at the Salt Palace, which required a trip to the ER. The doctor said that dehydration was a major cause. Plus, going from sea level (I live near the ocean) to the higher altitudes of Salt Lake City. You must hydrate yourself at all times!
  10. Bring USANA Nutrition Bars to snack on. These are great on the airplane, once you arrive in SLC, and during convention sessions. I do not mind hearing the crackling of a Nutrition Bar wrapper during the sessions! ;-)
  11. Bring Nutrimeal. This is great to not only save $, but to also enjoy a very healthy breakfast and/or lunch in your hotel room! Our gusset bags for Nutrimeal are perfect for packing! My husband Bill and I like to pre-mix our favorite combination of flavors into one gusset bag each (remember to put the scoop inside) and then reinforce the ziplock with extra masking tape. Or, you can bring Nutrimeal and/or Fibergy Plus in their separate gusset bags or ziplock bags with scoops inside. For packing, we place them inside a gallon-sized ziplock, just in case of powder leakage.
    • 11a. Bring a BlenderBottle®. Great to mix your shake with hotel ice and your bottled water. My fave travel appliance is an electric hand-blender wand from either Braun or Oster because I prefer the consistency that my blender provides. It works great in crushing hotel room ice and making a nice, slushy drink. The last several years there was also a USANA smoothie booth in the Salt Palace where you could purchase blended USANA drinks with optional fruit added.
    • 11b. Bring your Rev3! Now that we have Rev3 Surge packs, feel free to bring a handful of them to add to your mid-morning or mid-afternoon water!
  12. Bring 1-2 Sensé facial care Preludes for your basic skin-care needs. Bring your Sensé shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel and hand therapy as well to keep your hair/body moisturized in the dry higher altitude. Of course, include your USANA toothpaste as well! (The individual Prelude tubes are perfect for your one quart-sized ziplock allowed in carry-on. Just remove the tubes from their Prelude holders. Most of our regular-sized facial products also meet the 3 oz. or less rule for carry-on.)
  13. USANA vitamins. On recent airline trips, I’ve put two days worth of vitamins in two baggies inside my one quart ziplock bag allowed in carry-on, and packed all my other vitamins in a checked-in piece of luggage (my former carry-on bag). I devote that one checked-in bag to vitamins, toiletries, my USANA shakes and bars, any other healthy snacks — items that I wouldn’t want “leaking” onto clothing that is in a separate piece of luggage. Technically, our tablets should be fine in carry-on (CoQuinine, Palmetto Plus and BiOmega might be considered a gel, though), but I want to be 100% sure of clearing the TSA agents. And, two days worth of vitamins will hold me over in case checked-in luggage is temporarily lost. Hot tip: The handy Healthpak 100 and MyHealthpak pillow packs are perfect for traveling in carry-on!
  14. Use your breaks to shop. The USANA Store will have products and business tools. As new products are announced, there will be more product specials at the USANA Store. So, on Wednesday I do my serious logo merchandise purchasing (because some items will sell out). And I do any current product purchasing that I need/want/or is on sale. The rest of the time, I add purchases as new products or sales tools are introduced. Special “plug” for product: If you see Cappuccino Nutrimeal available, buy TONS, so I can convince Kevin Guest to make it a “regular” flavor! LOL! 40-41 gusset bags are a one-year’s supply!
  15. Current airport regulations. For those of you who haven’t been on a plane for a while, airline security rules have eased a bit for a few items. We can now travel with nail clippers, tweezers, eye-glass repair kits, etc., in carry-on. Also, be aware airports still require that your luggage be unlocked. A good alternative is to purchase a TSA-approved lock. It keeps your luggage safely locked and closed, and the airport has its own key to unlock it, if they feel the need to search your checked-in bags. Otherwise, use a strong twist-tie to at least keep your suitcase zippers closed, yet unlocked. I also pack a few extra TSA locks, because sometimes the agents lose or break my approved TSA lock somehow in the clearing process.
  16. Bring a cell phone. Cell phones are a godsend at convention. So before you go to convention, swap cell phone numbers with everyone you know that you might want to contact for lunch or a meeting. Also, be very aware that cell phones should be turned off or put on vibrate inside all the meetings and seminars. That’s just etiquette! And, remember to pack your cell phone charger to recharge back in your hotel room.
  17. Bring your laptop. There has been no free Internet Café at convention for many years, so bring your laptop for your hotel room. That way you can correspond with business partners who couldn’t make it. If you can’t bring it, there are computer kiosks or work stations in some of the hotels, and in the Salt Palace (for a small fee at the Salt Palace).
  18. Go on a tour. Carve out time to tour USANA Corporate Headquarters. There are free home office bus tours all day Wednesday, Friday evening, and Saturday evening. Buses leave from the corner of the Salt Palace that faces the Shilo Inn. My favorite time is Wednesday … before the serious networking and meetings begin.
  19. Keep those receipts. Remember to keep all your convention receipts for business expenses: hotel, shuttle, airfare, all meals, business tool receipts.
  20. Carry Kleenex. Keep a little Kleenex handy. Some of those speakers will touch your heart.

And, finally…

Think of this as your time, to absorb, to network, to have fun, to grow! Leave your worries behind and give yourself the best convention experience ever! After all, this is our mega-speaker celebration!

What an incredible — and valuable — list! If you have any to add tips to add, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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Tim Haran

About the Author

About the Author: Tim oversees operations of USANA’s award-winning social media department, focusing on increasing community engagement and working to ensure the company’s social media efforts are in line with overall corporate objectives. He is a former sports journalist and current Cubs fan. .

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  1. Thank you for the kind emails! Enjoy these tips!

  2. Kevin Smith says:

    Great advice from Kathleen! I’d like to add some preparation tips for post convention.

    First: Anticipate “Emotional Lag.” Something like Jet Lag. If you know it’s coming, you will be ready. Ask everyone you know RIGHT NOW if they want immediate announcements and updates from the trainings you will be attending. Many groups plan a Super Saturday to recap all of the Convention News. INVITE everyone you know to sit in on “a special meeting of the breaking news for which we’ve all been waiting.” Having this self-imposed leadership responsibility pre-arranged before going to convention will help avoid the lag. The best way to process the full impact of convention is to SHARE it as soon as possible.

    Second: Ask all of your customers BEFORE YOU GO if they want to “stock up” on convention specials. You will gladly help place orders for them while supplies last. Also, prepare a list of questions from family and friends so they will know you are attending a convention for their benefit.

    Third: Take with some extra money to PRE-REGISTER for 2012 (unconfirmed August 22-25)… Whatever the price, you can avoid alot of stress in the following months. If you can, find out who wants to go NEXT YEAR, and you can arrange special pricing for them (Big Anniversary Celebration!!) Tell them they can have an awesome trip to Utah next August if they start saving about $3 a day right now. (Most of it may be tax deductible.)

    Fourth: Stay healthy with proper hydration (Remember, not all bottled water is created equal. The ones I’ve found to be the most reliably pure while traveling are AquaFina, Dasani and Smartwater. Get the biggest bottles available, keep them cool, refill your own stainless bottles. Add fresh lemon juice if possible.) Eat well and sleep well… So you will have a speedy and focused Convention Recovery! September can be a BIG month.

  3. Dear Kathleen,

    Thank you so much for the tips, very valuable as this is my first trip ever to the International Convention (our team of 4), but won’t be our last.

    Van Le-Hugh

  4. Thanks Kathleen for the great tips! We went last year and even though our great leader told us we were going to be doing a lot of walking, there were not enough words to describe the amount of miles you put in during your time going from one venue to another. Take good walking shoes and defineitely have rollers on your bags!

  5. I hope your husband’s health be better, and thanks for the tips.

  6. Rachel says:

    Thank you for the terrific information.

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