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2011 Countdown to National Conference

raebates

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Chefa, I travel by car, so it's not an issue for me. I'd check with your airline to ask which they would suggest.

Pchockeymom, it's my pleasure. I can't watch those "look at all of the critters you're living with" shows. They creep me out. But, I did get catch one that talked about the things that often aren't cleaned.
 

raebates

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Chefa, I travel by car, so it's not an issue for me. I'd check with your airline to ask which they would suggest.

Pchockeymom, it's my pleasure. I can't watch those "look at all of the critters you're living with" shows. They creep me out. But, I did get catch one that talked about the things that often aren't cleaned.
 

raebates

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Today is May 25. There are 43 days until the start of National Conference.

From personal experience, make sure the room's clock radio isn't set to full volume on a mariachi station unless that's really how the people in your room prefer to be awakened.

Seriously, talk about morning routines with your roommates. I'm an early riser, but I'm very quiet. I get up and get completely ready, waking my roommates at the time they've requested. Knowing what you'll do helps you to avoid a mad dash (and mad roommates) in the morning.
 

raebates

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Today is May 25. There are 43 days until the start of National Conference.

From personal experience, make sure the room's clock radio isn't set to full volume on a mariachi station unless that's really how the people in your room prefer to be awakened.

Seriously, talk about morning routines with your roommates. I'm an early riser, but I'm very quiet. I get up and get completely ready, waking my roommates at the time they've requested. Knowing what you'll do helps you to avoid a mad dash (and mad roommates) in the morning.
 

Chef Bobby

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I haven't read the entire thread, but unless you're a heavy sleeper, you might want to bring ear plugs. Also before you comit to a room and room mates understand that the conference rooms are just double beds. We had someone that never got any sleep from not being used to sleeping that close to someone other than a spouse.
 

esavvymom

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I haven't read the entire thread, but unless you're a heavy sleeper, you might want to bring ear plugs. Also before you comit to a room and room mates understand that the conference rooms are just double beds. We had someone that never got any sleep from not being used to sleeping that close to someone other than a spouse.

Why do hotels do that these days? Who owns a Double-bed anymore?! Upscale hotels and they still have cheap-a** double beds. :) Just sayin'....

Good tips! This will be my first year rooming with others, so I am going to be reading back through the thread for the tips that I failed to make note of!

Rae.... you rock!
 

Chef Kearns

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Oh Rae, you are such a dear, sweet heart for posting these daily tips!! What a special thing for people who are attending their first conference or their first trip away from their family. Or people who are just nervous about traveling. You are getting a crown for this one my friend!! MUAH!! <3
 

Becca_in_MD

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Why do hotels do that these days? Who owns a Double-bed anymore?! Upscale hotels and they still have cheap-a** double beds. :) Just sayin'....

No kidding!! I think they don't expect 4 people to room together anymore. If it's a couple, they'll take a king. Two adults will take 2 doubles. If you've got kids, they have to share a double and the parents squeeze into a double. I did find a room a couple of years ago for a girlfriend trip with 2 queen beds for 3 of us. I feel bad for couples who stay as guests in my house because the bed is only a double.
 

RoseAndrews

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I officially got my airline tickets today! I am new and soooo excited. Is there somewhere general where cheffers meet and greet? I know so many of you by lurking and reading I would love to see you all in person!

These countdown tips are awesome!
 

Chef Bobby

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I officially got my airline tickets today! I am new and soooo excited. Is there somewhere general where cheffers meet and greet? I know so many of you by lurking and reading I would love to see you all in person!

These countdown tips are awesome!

The last I heard, we were going to meet in the general dining area of the McCormick Center Thusday after the last session and figure out where to go from there. There is a meet and greet thread.
 

Chef Bobby

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No kidding!! I think they don't expect 4 people to room together anymore. If it's a couple, they'll take a king. Two adults will take 2 doubles. If you've got kids, they have to share a double and the parents squeeze into a double. I did find a room a couple of years ago for a girlfriend trip with 2 queen beds for 3 of us. I feel bad for couples who stay as guests in my house because the bed is only a double.

My wife will be going to Chicago with me this year. We tried to get another type of room besides double beds through PC and couldn't. Now I have to pay a bundle for a king bed room.
 

raebates

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Thank you, ChefKearns. Actually, it's not a lot of work. The first year I did the countdown I sought out travel tips. After NC I put them in a Word document. Now I just have to update any changes and then copy and paste. It also helps to keep me on track. ;)

Bobby, thanks for the reminder. The reservations say they're 2 double beds, but people don't always read things. The double bed is fine for me and my roommates. But, we know one another well and are each comfortable sharing.
 

raebates

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Today is May 26. There are 42 days until National Conference. That's right--it's 6 weeks from today!

Traveling by bus? Check to make sure what their boarding procedures are. On many lines there aren't assigned seats, and they tend to overbook. It may be necessary for you to line up for departure as much as an hour before your departure time. You don't want to delay your arrival because you didn't get a seat. Heck, you could miss out on meeting some of your fellow Cheffers.
 

raebates

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Today is May 27. There are 41 days until National Conference.

Once you get to the hotel be sure to ask for the phone number for a good cab company. Program that number into your phone. That way you can call for a cab without any problem, no matter where you are. You may not need it, but it could be a lifesaver if you do.
 

wadesgirl

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Today is May 26. There are 42 days until National Conference. That's right--it's 6 weeks from today!

Traveling by bus? Check to make sure what their boarding procedures are. On many lines there aren't assigned seats, and they tend to overbook. It may be necessary for you to line up for departure as much as an hour before your departure time. You don't want to delay your arrival because you didn't get a seat. Heck, you could miss out on meeting some of your fellow Cheffers.

In Canada it was a little different! We took a Coach Canada bus to Niagara Falls and on it had one stop there and one stop back. Well on the way back we were all ready full leaving the falls but they still had to stop at the 2nd stop. A few people got off but not enough for everybody that needed to get on the bus. The driver ended up just letting the rest of the people stand or sit in the aisle!! :eek: There is no way in America with all the regulations and lawsuits that they would ever even consider that. That bad part was we got stuck in traffic on the way home so the 1 1/2 hour trip turned into 2 1/2 hours! Those poor people were stuck in the aisle the whole time!!
 

raebates

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Wow, that does not sound fun.

Of course, it brings to mind my trip to and from the HO tour. The air conditioning quit on our bus, then we got stuck in traffic. If the bus isn't moving, there's no air moving through the windows. I tell people that I got a free PC sauna. :)
 

raebates

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Today is May 28. There are 40 days until the start of National Conference.

While you're in Chicago, be sure to carry your hotel's address with you. After all, there is more than one Sheraton or Hilton. And, while PC is very important, not every cab driver will know where we're staying. This is important whether you’re planning to take a cab or not. Things happen. It’s better to be safe. I simply print the info on a small piece of paper and tuck it in my wallet.
 

raebates

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Today is May 29. There are 39 days until the start of National Conference.

Once you get to your hotel room, I know you'll be excited to talk with everyone and get started on the NC fun. Your stay will go much smoother, though, if you take just a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Where are the light switches, and which lights do they control? Where are the AC controls, and how do they work? Where is the emergency exit in relation to your room?
 

pchockeymom

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Emergency Exit! I know this is really important, especially in a large hotel. And you should know where it takes you so you won't be disoriented if and when you need to use it. I would also recommend finding a specific, easy to locate place to put your purse with it's personal items in it. Just incase the emergency exit is needed, you won't be scrambling to locate your purse.
 

raebates

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Good advice, pchockeymom.
 

raebates

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Today is May 30. There are 38 days until the start of National Conference.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with our guest speakers. I like to Google the speaker(s) and read through what they offer. If they have a free enewsletter, I usually sign up for that. I also check them out on Facebook. This way I know a little about what to expect from them at NC. Most of our speakers pack a lot of information in their talks. If I already know the basics I’m not too overwhelmed by what they have to say. I can dial down on the details easier this way.

For Consultants, Senior Consultants, and Team Leaders the guest speaker is Tammy Stanley. (Directors and above can take her workshop, too.)

Directors and above get to hear the Go for No! people again this year.
 

PamperedchefDaly

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Today is May 29. There are 39 days until the start of National Conference.

Once you get to your hotel room, I know you'll be excited to talk with everyone and get started on the NC fun. Your stay will go much smoother, though, if you take just a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Where are the light switches, and which lights do they control? Where are the AC controls, and how do they work? Where is the emergency exit in relation to your room?

I might add: BEFORE you enter your room for the first time, look both ways down the hall and make a mental note where the exit sign is. Which direction is the closest? How many doors away? If you need to evacuate during a fire, you may not be able to see the exit so you will have to rely on memory, and you'll know the shortest route out.

This was something I learned from a fire marshall many years ago, and it always stuck with me.
 

Tracy99

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I am not going to conference. :-( I have child care issues so I can't go but I used to travel for work a ton before I became at SAHM. Great info in this thread. Can I add you might want to bring some luggage tags or bright ribbon to put around your new tote when you get it. That way when everyone is carrying one and you put your down you can figure out which is yours quickly. My previous employer used to run a both that would make laminated luggage tags at the expos I attended. There was always a long line for them after the free bag was given out with conference materials.

As someone who has been evacuated from a hotel (due to a bomb issue not a fire), I can second to make sure you know where the exits are and have your purse/wallet/id somewhere you can grab it quick. Nothing like walking around a foreign country not sure if you'll be able to get your passport back out of your hotel room. (Obviously not an issue for conference but you might want your id, credit cards, etc.)

Everyone have fun. I hope I can go next year.
 

raebates

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Today is May 31. There are 37 days until the start of National Conference.

We've been concentrating on our arrival, but departure is important, too. Get everything but the bare essentials packed the night before you leave NC. It will save you time that last morning when things may be a bit rushed. It will also lessen the likelihood of leaving something behind.
 

raebates

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Today is June 1. There are 36 days until the start of National Conference.

Pack light. Check out the Chicago weather a few days before you leave, that way you won't feel a need to bring clothes for everything from snow to a heat wave.

Now, I’m a natural list-maker. I keep my lists on the computer so that all I need to do is update my National Conference Packing List from last year. However, if you’re not like me, I’ve found a great website. It’s Packwhiz.com - Packing list generator. It asks you a few opening questions, then generates a general list. You can add or delete items. You can rearrange the list. It’s pretty user-friendly. It even has a list of things to do before you leave.
 

ChefBeckyD

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I'm beginning to get excited. I always have mixed feelings. I love conference, but I hate being away from my family for that length of time. (I know, call me crazy....:eek:)

But now - conference is paid for, the room is paid for, and thanks to conference club, my spending money is already set aside - and also thanks to a good May paycheck, I'll be able to treat my team to a special dinner in Chicago. So, I'm beginning to look forward to going.
 

raebates

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Today is June 2. There are 35 days until the start of National Conference.

That's right--5 weeks from today. :)

Peanuts? Granola bars? What snack helps keep you going? You might want to bring some along. With everything going on at NC, a healthy snack to boost your energy mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon may be just what you need to stay alert and get the most out of those great workshops! (Sorry. Sodas, donuts, and candy bars don't count.)
 

Chef Bobby

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For the guys going the first time. Unless you want to stand in line with the ladies, find out ahead of time where the men's bathrooms are at the McCormik Center. There aren't very many. Usually none near the classrooms.
 

raebates

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Today is June 3. There are 34 days until the start of National Conference.

Be sure to print off the Stage List before you leave for NC. This way you'll know who to cheer really loud for. You should be able to find it here a few days before NC:

http://www.chefsuccess.com/f107/whos-walking-nc-68798/
 

raebates

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Today is June 4. There are 33 days until the start of National Conference.

Whether you're traveling by plane, bus, or train, be sure to have your identification handy. Depending on your mode of travel, you may need to show that ID several times. You may need more than one form of ID. You will most likely also need ID handy in order to check in at the hotel.
 

raebates

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Today is June 4. There are 33 days until the start of National Conference.

Whether you're traveling by plane, bus, or train, be sure to have your identification handy. Depending on your mode of travel, you may need to show that ID several times. You may need more than one form of ID. You will most likely also need ID handy in order to check in at the hotel.
 

raebates

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Today is June 5. There are 32 days until the start of National Conference.

You might want to check with the hotel (or others who have stayed at your hotel in the past) to see what amenities they offer. Some offer a hair dryer, an iron and ironing board, etc. If you're not picky about those things, you could leave yours at home. That will give you more suitcase room for your shopping spoils.
 

raebates

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Today is June 6. There are 31 days until the start of National Conference.

Think about the toiletries you're going to bring. It can be a good investment to pick up a travel kit. You can get them fairly inexpensively ($5 to $15) at discount stores. They save space and time, since you can move everything into and out of the bathroom easily. Mine will even hang on the towel rod or the hook on the back of the bathroom door, saving precious counter space. An additional perk to these is the convenience. I leave mine packed, rotating out supplies occasionally. The only thing I have to add is my makeup, so I’m ready to go at a moment’s notice.
 

raebates

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Today is June 7. There are 30 days until the start of National Conference--one month!

Want to make things easiest on yourself while you're trying to get ready in the morning at NC? Pack your clothes in outfits. Fold together all of the clothes (slacks/skirt, top, undies, etc.) that you're planning to wear on a particular day. Need to hang things up when you arrive? Put everything for that day on the same hanger—underthings and all. No rummaging through your suitcase when it's your turn in the bathroom.

Some people pack their own hangers. If you have 4 people in your room, you might not have enough hangers for everyone—especially if they hang pieces separately. This would be a good thing to discuss with your roommates.
 

angel7581

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Rae I love your countdown, even though I copied most of it into OneNote last year and have most of the info, it is still great to read it each day. Hope we can meet up again this year!
 

raebates

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I'd like that, Angel.
 

raebates

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Today is June 8. There are only 29 days until the start of National Conference!


Remember that a bag of wadded up dirty laundry takes up more room than neatly folded laundry. I know it sounds weird, but fold your dirty laundry before you put it in your laundry bag. It will make it easier to get your suitcase zipped before you leave.

Oh, and here’s something to watch for. Make sure you only bring home your own dirty laundry. Last year one of my roommates used a PC bad for her dirty laundry. So did I. We were packing near one another to go. I thought I’d packed my laundry, but there it was, right by my suitcase. When I got home I realized I had two laundry bags. That’s right, I’d brought home her dirty laundry, too.
 

Nanisu

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I have just had room for two roomies open up at the Hilton (2 bathrooms) in our room--two people have backed out. We are non smokers and would love to have you. Coming in Wednesday, leaving Saturday.
 

raebates

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Today is June 9. There are only 28 days until the start of National Conference! That's right, just 4 weeks from today!

Label each piece of your luggage, both inside and out, with your name and phone number, but don’t put your home address on the outside. This can be a safety issue. If an address is required by your transportation, try not to use your home address. Use your office address, a post office, etc., if possible. Flying? Don't forget to remove old claim checks to avoid confusion. After all, you may want to return to your last vacation spot, but do you really want your luggage to return before you do?
 

raebates

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Today is June 10. There are only 27 days until the start of National Conference!

If you haven’t already done so, print out all of your paperwork now—hotel confirmation, NC registration & workshop list, travel stuff (plane/bus reservations, maps, etc). Gather them all together so that you’ll have everything you need in one convenient place.
 

raebates

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Today is june 11. There are only 26 days until the start of National Conference!

Remember to pack things together tightly. Packing loosely wastes precious space and encourages your clothes to wrinkle. If you’re trying to leave room for things you’ll want to bring home, fill a few large zippered bags with air to take up room. The bags will fold flat when you are ready to travel home. You could even put a few of your purchases in them.

Now that you've been reminded to pack everything tightly, don't waste any hidden space. Tuck things into your shoes, into the corners of your suitcase, etc. These are great places for socks, undies, jewelry, etc. But, on the other hand, be sure to leave an empty pocket or two in that suitcase, so you can fill it with things you may buy while in Chicago!!
 

raebates

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Today is june 11. There are only 26 days until the start of National Conference!

Remember to pack things together tightly. Packing loosely wastes precious space and encourages your clothes to wrinkle. If you’re trying to leave room for things you’ll want to bring home, fill a few large zippered bags with air to take up room. The bags will fold flat when you are ready to travel home. You could even put a few of your purchases in them.

Now that you've been reminded to pack everything tightly, don't waste any hidden space. Tuck things into your shoes, into the corners of your suitcase, etc. These are great places for socks, undies, jewelry, etc. But, on the other hand, be sure to leave an empty pocket or two in that suitcase, so you can fill it with things you may buy while in Chicago!!
 

raebates

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Today is June 12. There are only 25 days until the start of National Conference!

Before you take off, lay the contents of your wallet in orderly fashion on the glass of a copier. Make two copies of the front and back of everything including your driver license. Leave one copy at home; put the other in a secure place inside your suitcase. Imagine how grateful you will be if your wallet is lost or stolen.

You might also want to carry your plastic separate from your cash. This way if you get robbed there’s a good chance you still have either the plastic or cash so you won’t be stranded.

I’m not trying to say that Chicago or NC is unsafe. It’s just that it’s a good idea to be prepared. To be honest, I’m much more likely to lose my wallet than to have it stolen. These ideas would still come in handy for a lost wallet.
 

esavvymom

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That's a great idea to do no matter WHAT.....I could lose my purse at the mall today..who knows, and I would not be prepared.
 

otisbg

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We recently had an incident in the Parking lot at work, where one of my co-workers had her purse grabbed while walking from her car. We were also advised not to put your car keys or cell phone in your purse - but to keep them in a pocket. She had to have someone drive her home, break into her house to get her extra car keys and she could not even call for help from the parking lot as she had put her cell in her purse!
 

Chef Bobby

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We recently had an incident in the Parking lot at work, where one of my co-workers had her purse grabbed while walking from her car. We were also advised not to put your car keys or cell phone in your purse - but to keep them in a pocket. She had to have someone drive her home, break into her house to get her extra car keys and she could not even call for help from the parking lot as she had put her cell in her purse!

I know someone that had the same happen and after they were home she got a call that her purse was found. Since the thief had her address and house keys, while they were gone to get the purse the house was robbed.

Just a happy note to a bad subject; My mother in law yanked back on her purse when someone tried to grab it and run. The thief was jerked off his feet. He let her keep her purse and ran off.
 

Liseit

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I had a similiar experience but they didn't realize I was carrying a cross-body bag. They were taking me too if they wanted that purse.... They really are safer.
 

Sheila

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Today is June 12. There are only 25 days until the start of National Conference!

Before you take off, lay the contents of your wallet in orderly fashion on the glass of a copier. Make two copies of the front and back of everything including your driver license. Leave one copy at home; put the other in a secure place inside your suitcase. Imagine how grateful you will be if your wallet is lost or stolen.

You might also want to carry your plastic separate from your cash. This way if you get robbed there’s a good chance you still have either the plastic or cash so you won’t be stranded.

I’m not trying to say that Chicago or NC is unsafe. It’s just that it’s a good idea to be prepared. To be honest, I’m much more likely to lose my wallet than to have it stolen. These ideas would still come in handy for a lost wallet.

Sorry, the retired police dispatcher in me is saying DON'T DO THAT! If your suitcase gets lost in transit or if a member of the hotel cleaning staff decides to rifle through your things, you are putting your cards at risk by giving them photos of the front & back of your card to make as many internet purchases as they want (especially if you have a photo copy of your drivers license WITH your billing address printed on the driver's license). Yes, it's a good idea to keep a copy at home in a safe place. You can even give a copy to a trusted relative or friend in case you need to call them for the info from vacation ... but I discourage you from carrying copies of all your personal info like that in your suitcase. ;)

Another thought ... what if the hotel messes up & gives someone a key to your room? My sister & brother-in-law were just telling me that they walked into a room where someone was in the shower & all that person's stuff was laid out in the room (including a man's wallet on the dresser). Sis & BIL backed out & immediately returned to the desk ... but what if the occupant was not in the shower but gone AND what if the people with accidental access to his room were not trustworthy people? Never leave valuables in a hotel room unless it's in a safe.

What if you don't know your roommate as well as you THOUGHT you did? :eek:

When traveling, don't carry credit cards you won't need or use with you. Don't carry extras like your children's Social Security cards with you. Clean out all non-essential items and leave them in a secure place at home (or safe deposit box at the bank if you have one). There's no point in making yourself more vulnerable than you have to be. Keep alert. Be aware of your surroundings at all times (on or off vacation). If you see someone who looks suspicious, make eye contact. Most thieves will have second thoughts about choosing YOU as the victim if they think you could identify them in a lineup. Most purse snatchers want to do it & flee before you can get a good look at them. So make them nervous ... LOOK at them before they can grab & run! Never carry your purse on the street side of you when walking on a sidewalk. It's too easy for someone to drive by, reach out the window & grab it. Always keep it on the building side of the street and close. If you are in a crowd, keep it tucked around near your belly button where you will KNOW if someone tries to touch it or dig in it. And remember, you can dial 911 for free from any pay phone. ;)
 

chefa

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  • #200
Great advice Sheila! Also, remember airport security and baggage handlers have access to your checked luggage too. I think my bag gets targeted every time I check the darn thing - no idea why - they don't tell you why they were rifling in your undies just that they were. Yuck! When I get home, I dump everything in the washer asap.
 

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