The countdown is on: 29 days until the 2012 USANA International Convention blasts off.
For those who have been living under a rock the past several months, USANA is celebrating its 20th anniversary!
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a busier time in my five years at USANA, and I definitely haven’t experienced a convention like the one that’s planned for Aug. 15-18, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah!
Whether you’re a first-timer or a Convention pro, there’s always so much to see and do it can seem a bit overwhelming.
Not to worry; we’ve got you covered.
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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 18th Convention, graciously shares with What’s Up, USANA? readers her list of Convention Travel Tips (she’s updated information from last year’s hugely popular post).
Here we go…
By Kathleen Rockney, USANA Gold Director
We’re just weeks away from a life-changing Convention, so I thought I’d send out my annual Convention tips list … with a few updates from last year!
(Drum-roll, please …)
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 general daily schedule and training stage schedules are now posted, so you can pre-plan your days. Check these frequently as schedules are subject to change.
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — 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 Ziploc bag, and they fit comfortably in one Ziploc per passenger. Your separate prescription meds can be put in another Ziploc 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 airfare reservation. A few days before, it’s helpful to confirm your hotel reservation directly with the hotel (not before, because they won’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 three of you can share a taxi for the 15-minute trip to downtown. It’s $8 one way per person for the Xpress shuttle, and about $20 + tip for a taxi, regardless of number of passengers.
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 Energy Solutions Arena (aka ESA and formerly called the Delta Center) 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 during the special Thursday night event!
3. Keep an eye on the weather. Check Salt Lake City weather the week before you pack because mid-August begins a shifting weather pattern 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 — product sales, logo merchandise 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.). NOTE: In recent years, USANA has offered more easy options for direct shipping, if you do prefer to ship home. A UPS station is now in the USANA cashier area in the Salt Palace, and a USPS post office (with free priority mail boxes) is within walking distance. I know a few Associates actually bring flattened priority mail boxes with them, along with some good tape. Direct shipping might be cheaper nowadays, than paying for a checked bag.
5. General attire is smart business casual. 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!
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5A. **NEW** USANAfest outdoors. This year’s Wednesday evening opening concert — USANAfest — is again outdoors, but this time it’s at the USANA Amphitheatre, which can get colder around sunset! FREE private buses (pick-up probably at the Salt Palace on the corner across from the Shilo Inn) will transport us back to the 1980s (it’s an 80s-themed concert!), so break out those shoulder pads and big hair-styles! Seriously, do dress in layers that night. This is one night where jeans are totally fine! Hot Tip: If you haven’t yet 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. **NEW** Thursday night event. BIG CHANGE for Thursday night! The former Awards “Oscars Style” evening is being replaced by an evening general session with the key Convention awards. Following that will be a full-blown party called “Just Dance.” Word on the street is that most folks will attend the evening session in their party attire, and award nominees for that night will dress formally. For those of you up for other awards, don’t worry. They will be interspersed throughout our other general sessions, so you will get your special moment!
6. Bring your camera. Always have your camera with you for that spur-of-the-moment photo op with Dr. Wentz or other leaders — and to post photos on Facebook showing your friends all the fun you’re having! 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 their 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 if you think you might want to take notes when the lights are down! If you have a smartphone, there are free flashlight apps to help you.
8. Bring a tote bag for your pens, paper, binders, etc. Again, in some years past, USANA 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 have bought USANA rolling tote bags at the USANA Store — very easy on the back, but hard on the toes you might run over. Use caution while maneuvering them.
9. Buy bottled water once you arrive, and drinks 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! Hot Tip: Some inventive Associates pack a water pitcher with filter, then they filter their hotel water and just keep refilling BPA-free bottles for fresh, filtered water at all times. If that isn’t possible, try to buy 1-2 large 2.5 gallon jugs of distilled water from a local grocery store and refill your BPA-free bottles from that.
10. Bring USANA Nutrition Bars to snack on. These are great on the airplane and once you get to 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 Ziploc with extra masking tape. Or, you can bring Nutrimeal and/or Fibergy Plus in their separate gusset bags or Ziploc bags with scoops inside. For packing, we place them inside a gallon-sized Ziploc, just in case of powder leakage.
11A. Bring a BlenderBottle®. Great to mix your shake with hotel ice and your bottled/filtered 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. Bring a handful of the lightweight surge packs to add to your mid-morning or mid-afternoon water!
12. Bring your Sensé facial care products! Also bring your Sensé shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel and hand therapy to keep your hair/body moisturized in the dry higher altitude. Of course, include your USANA toothpaste as well! (Most of our regular-sized facial products meet the 3-ounce or less rule for carry-on.)
13. **NEW** USANA vitamins. If you take your USANA vitamins via a Healthpak or MyHealthpak, you should now be fine with packing them in carry-on. They appear tamper-proof that way. If you still fill a pill tray with USANA supplements, and wish to have that in carry-on, just to be safe I recommend that you not include your BiOmega, Palmetto Plus or CoQuinone on the slight chance that a TSA agent deems those a gel. On our last trip, I put our pill tray in carry-on, then had a baggie with all our gel-type USANA vitamins in my allowable 3-ounce Ziploc. Or you could simply pack the gel vitamins in checked luggage.
14. Use your breaks to shop. The USANA Store will have USANA products, logo merchandise and business tools. As new products are announced, there will be more product specials at the USANA Store. On Wednesday, I do my serious logo merchandise purchasing. I also 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 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 your 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. Hot Tip: During the sessions, tweeting and Facebooking are encouraged (quietly), to report news immediately and to create a buzzzzzz! Use the #USANA12 hash tag.
17. Bring your laptop. There has been no free Internet Café at Convention in the past, but bring your laptop for your hotel room. That way you can correspond with business partners who couldn’t make it. Or, 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). Most hotels have free Wi-Fi and any nearby Starbucks has free Wi-Fi as well. But check with your particular hotel so you aren’t surprised by Internet connection fees. Hot Tip: There are a handful of computers next to the social media booth in the USANA Store that are available for you to check your e-mail or update your Facebook.
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, leaving 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 your receipts. Remember to keep all your Convention receipts for business expenses: hotel, shuttle, airfare, all meals, and business tool receipts.
20. Carry Kleenex. Keep a little Kleenex handy. Some of the speakers will touch your heart.
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!
How About You?
Other seasoned convention goers, please feel free to add to my list!
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