Kathleen Rockney’s Famous Convention Travel Tips #USANA19
This year’s convention theme – USANA Live!
We are WEEKS away from a LIFE-CHANGING convention, so I thought I’d send out my annual convention tips list now, with a few changes since last year! So … (Drum-roll, please …)
It’s time to DUST OFF my annual convention travel tips, and send it out NOW, so you can make some pre-convention clothing, shoes and luggage choices in plenty of time!
From a seasoned “conventioneer” (this will be my 25th consecutive USANA convention), the following is a list that I’ve compiled over time to help you prepare and pack for the International USANA Convention in August.
First four websites to access:
- USANA Global Convention Our convention info now has its own website! It includes general agenda, speakers, travel information and hotel reservations. We will also get more detailed information via the USANA Live smartphone app, so download that to your smartphone, iPad, etc., now. It will have a huge update around July 31 or August 1, and then will update more as things change. REMINDER: Set your app’s notifications to “push”, so you get alerts throughout Convention.
- TSA Security Screening Guidelines – Under “Security Screening“, the “liquids rules” section is a must! At this time, we are still only allowed 3.4-ounce (100 ml) liquid/gel bottles in carry-on if we put them all comfortably in one quart-sized clear Ziploc bag per passenger. Your separate prescription medicines, including spare contact lens, can be put in another Ziploc for easy clearing by the agents. And, remember, laptops may remain INSIDE their bags, if the bags comply with TSA guidelines.
- *BIG HINT* TSA PreCheck– I strongly advise that you look into this ASAP. By getting a TSA pre-check clearance, you will be able to take the shorter security line through the TSA area of many airports. Please initiate your application now. It could be up to 4 weeks to get your code, if they can’t automatically confirm your fingerprints. Once you get your code, add it to your plane reservation before your flight and before you print any boarding passes.
- Weather Underground– Keep watching the weather reports, so you can be prepared for anything. Mid-August in Salt Lake City can be hot during the day, and chilly at night. A 30 degree swing in temperature is not uncommon. Also, add “Salt Lake City” or zip code 84101 to your Smartphone’s weather app, so you get up-to-the-moment weather information.
Airfare and Hotel and Transportation:
The week or so before convention, confirm your airfare reservation online. After August 7 when Passkey sends their block of reservations to all the hotels, you can also confirm your hotel reservation directly with the hotel. They will go by name and arrival date, and not the Passkey confirmation number. Also, see if your hotel provides airport-to-hotel shuttle service or any other concierge services that you might need or want.
Decide on transportation to your hotel. Xpress Shuttle is an inexpensive downtown hotel shuttle service at the airport, in case your hotel doesn’t offer free shuttles. Or 2-3 of you can share a taxi or Uber/Lyft for the short 15 minute trip to downtown. It is $13 + tip one way per person for the Xpress shuttle, and about $25 + tip for a taxi full of friends.
NOTE: Uber and Lyft are licensed to pick up airport passengers, so you can use your app to estimate their fare and request a pickup.
Clothing Choices and Packing Tips:
|NOTE: The Vivint Arena has initiated very tight security for all entering that building, which might affect the size of items that you bring. Just some quick notes of items that are banned in the arena:
· No open containers of drinks (sealed water bottles and Rev3 cans are okay)
· No foods (Nutrimeal in sealed pouch and EMPTY blender bottle are okay)
· No large tote bags (nothing larger than 18” by 14” by 8”)
· No obviously dangerous items, especially nothing that could be tossed
- Pack comfortable shoes, definitely more than one pair, because the Salt Palace and Vivint arena are HUGE! (Airline TSA recommends that all shoes be packed on or near the top of your suitcase contents, for easier x-ray and further inspections.)
- Pack items to dress in layers. Always have a sweater or a jacket with you for inside the cool convention center. Pack an umbrella as well. I’ve been caught in a few showers running from the hotel into the Salt Palace or arena.
- Bring an empty small suitcase or large purse or even a collapsible duffle bag or tote for bringing home purchased items in carry-on. Bringing these items home with you on the airplane saves on shipping (check for extra airline fees for checked in luggage).
NOTE: Most airlines charge for all checked bags, so shipping your goodies home might actually be less expensive. If you do prefer to ship home, a UPS shipping station is now in or near the USANA shopping area in the Salt Palace, and a USPS post office (with free priority mail boxes) is within walking distance.
- If you haven’t flown for several years, airline security has been lifted for a few items such as nail clippers, tweezers, eye-glass repair kits, etc., in carry-on. Airports still require that your checked in luggage be unlocked. A good alternative is to purchase a TSA-approved lock. 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 in the clearing process.
- 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 scruffy jeans or shorts for another time. Dress for success! And, bring your latest rank pin to wear proudly!
SIX fun exceptions to business attire
Wednesday evening USANA LIVE Welcome Party – The opening celebration will be indoors at the Salt Palace (probably the Grand Ballroom) 6:30-9:30 PM. Grab a healthy early supper – hmmm, maybe a USANA Nutrimeal (see below) to avoid the junk food! This is one night where casual is totally fine! If you haven’t made airline reservations, make sure you consider at least an early Wednesday arrival, so you’re rested for this first NETWORKING event!
Thursday morning General Session – Proudly wear your country’s t-shirt, paired with your own long shorts, pants or skirt! You can find a link to some of the countries’ shirts in your HUB under “Contests & Events”, “Event Registration”. Order yours today and pick it up in the Salt Palace before this morning session.
Thursday night in the Arena – The Americas and Europe Awards “Oscars Style” Show! Dress in your finest! Cocktail dresses or long dresses for women and suits or sports jackets for men are encouraged (these are suggestions – not required). Plan to arrive early for a red carpet photo. Red carpet starts at 5:30pm. Event starts at 7:00pm.
Friday night USA party – USANA is hosting a USA Team Party, from 7:30pm-10pm at the Marriott at 75 S W Temple (right across from the Salt Palace) and it has a “Roaring 20’s” theme. Put together a fun flapper dress or Great Gatsby outfit for this networking event. Light appetizers will be available. Please RSVP for this event, so they can plan on food. You will find a place to reserve your FREE spot at this USA party in your HUB, under “Contests & Events” and then “Event Registration” or “US Convention Party”.
Saturday morning Champions for Change 5k Race – Pack your workout clothing and walking/running shoes because this year’s 7:00am 5K “Champions for Change” race will again benefit USANA’s True Health Foundation! Pre-register now on the Hub in the “Event Registration” section, then pick up your number and commemorative T-shirt at the True Health Foundation booth when you arrive at Convention. Proceeds from your entry fee and any further donations you gather, go to the Foundation. There will also be True Health Foundation service projects going on. Ask at their booth!
Saturday afternoon Final General Session – GLOBAL NEON PARTY! Wear white so you can glow, glow, glow, under the black light disco extravaganza on the Vivint Arena floor! There will be lots of neon, glow-in-the-dark accessories handed out as well.
- Keep your camera/smartphone with you for that spur-of-the-moment photo op with Dr. Wentz or other leaders. Be sure you bring your camera, phone, and charger with you as well, to recharge at the hotel.
*NEW* I’m now recommending that you also invest in a purse-sized or pocket-sized battery charger for your phone, so you don’t have to search for electrical outlets during training sessions.
- Bring pens, notebook paper and a flat binder for note-taking – or use your Smartphone, tablet or iPad. Sometimes USANA provides note paper in their convention booklets, but be prepared just in case they don’t. Plan to take LOTS of notes and even journal your experiences – and your feelings – in the middle of the experience.
- Bring a tote bag for your pens, paper, binder, etc., to carry around convention – but remember to keep it smaller than 18x14x8 in inches.
*HINT* Also, bring a ribbon or key fob to attach to your tote bag, so you can easily identify yours in a sea of look-alike bags. Again, in some years past, they provided tote bags. But, I remember tossing in that spare bag in the years that they DIDN’T provide them. Boy, was I glad I did!
- Remember your USANA business cards! You’ll want to swap as many cards as you can, as you connect with other USANA Associates, corporate leaders and staff.
- Eating/drinking tips:
Buy bottled water for your room once you arrive, and drink lots and lots of water to remain hydrated in Salt Lake City’s altitude and dry climate. Some folks pack a portable water pitcher with filter, to filter their hotel water. USANA will set up huge containers of water throughout the Salt Palace for our use. Pack a BPA-free plastic bottle or a glass water bottle so you can also refill at those stations to carry your water around with you.
Bring and/or buy healthy snacks for your hotel room and for the “hungries” during sessions. Of course, USANA’s WholeBio Microbiome bars are a great option. I pack at least 8-10 of them in a Ziploc bag in my checked in luggage.
Bring USANA Nutrimeal shakes – both to save $$ and to enjoy a very healthy meal in your hotel room! Our collapsible shake bags (both large size and single-serve size) are PERFECT for packing! My husband Bill and I like to pre-mix our favorite combinations of flavors into one gusset bag each (remember to put the scoop inside) and then reinforce its opening with extra masking tape. Or, you can bring the shakes in their original bags with scoops inside, to mix and match as you desire. For packing, we place them inside another gallon-sized Ziploc, just in case of powder leakage.
Bring a shaker-type larger bottle/glass (the shaker-blender bottle sold by USANA is PERFECT!) to mix your shake with hotel ice and your bottled/filtered water. My favorite travel appliance is an electric hand-blender wand/stick from either Braun or Oster, because I prefer the consistency that a blender creates. It is lightweight – about the size of a curling iron – and it works great in crushing hotel room ice for a thick shake. I only have to wash the wand and blending glass afterwards. The last several years, USANA also offered a Smoothie booth in the Salt Palace to purchase Nutrimeal drinks.
Bring a handful of Rev3 lightweight surge packs to add to your mid-morning or mid-afternoon water for that additional healthy “lift”! (If you bring the cans, you’ll be swamped by Rev3-starved friends!)
- Bring your Celavive facial care products! Also bring your Sensé shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel and hand therapy to keep your hair and body moisturized in the dry higher altitude. Of course, include your USANA toothpaste as well! (Most of our regular-sized facial products meet the 3.4 oz. or less rule for carry-on. The rest needs to go in checked-in baggage.)
- Bring your USANA vitamins! Our HealthPak and MyHealthPak are easy to pack. I put two days’ worth of vitamins in my one quart Ziploc bag allowed in carry-on, and pack my other vitamins in a checked-in piece of luggage. Our vitamin tablets should be fine in carry-on, but CoQuinone, Palmetto Plus and BiOmega might be considered a gel by TSA.
- Use your breaks – especially Wednesday – to shop, shop, shop at the USANA Store in the Salt Palace. On Wednesday, I do my logo merchandise shopping. And, I do any current product purchasing that I need/want, or that I see is on sale. Throughout the rest of the time, I add purchases as new products or sales tools are introduced. Some folks print out their country’s price sheet, so they can compare prices to US dollars. NOTE: Our sales tools are primarily digital now, so very few sales tools will be available for purchase at the USANA Store.
*BIG HINT* – Part of the hold-up of long cash register lines the last few years was caused by people not knowing in which business center leg they wanted to put their purchases. The cashiers were taking time to look up their volumes, recite them to the Associate, wait for the decision of which leg, and then ringing them up. PLEASE figure out your volumes and placement choice using your smartphone before you get to check out!
Tax receipt tip for USA: Since products that we consume aren’t tax deductible, but logo merchandise and business tools are, I separate them out at the cashier and run them as two separate orders. That way, I can file the receipts easily as either “business” or “personal” expenditures.
- Cell phones are a godsend at convention. So, before you go, swap cell phone numbers with everyone you know that you might want to contact for lunch or a meeting. Please turn off your phones or put them on vibrate inside all the meetings and seminars. That’s just etiquette! And again, remember to pack your CELL PHONE CHARGER, and optimally your portable cell phone charging station. During the sessions, texting and tweeting and Facebooking are encouraged (quietly), to report news immediately and to create a buzzzzzz!
- Bring your laptop or iPad for your hotel room to correspond with business partners who couldn’t make it. Or, if you can’t bring one, 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). Most hotels have free Wi-Fi, and any nearby Starbucks has free Wi-Fi as well.
- Carve out time to tour USANA Headquarters. There are FREE home office bus tours all day Wednesday, Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday evening, leaving from the corner of the Salt Palace that faces the Holiday Inn Express. My favorite time is Wednesday, before the serious networking and meetings begin.
- Again, remember to keep all your convention receipts for business expenses: hotel, shuttle/taxi/Uber, airfare, meals, business tools and logo merchandise receipts.
- 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 annual celebration – our last global one for three years – and it is truly a gift from corporate to us!