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Countdown to National Conference

raebates

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I'm pleased that you're finding my tidbits helpful.
 

raebates

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Today is June 6. There are 36 days until the start of National Conference.

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.)
 

raebates

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Today is June 7. There are 35 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/f104/whos-walking-62177/?highlight=walking
 

raebates

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Today is June 8. There are 34 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.
 

ChefGwendolyn

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Today is June 6. There are 36 days until the start of National Conference.

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.)


TRAIL MIX is my go to! It's that perfect mix of salty and sweet!
 

ChefBeckyD

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Today is June 6. There are 36 days until the start of National Conference.

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.)

I found these at Costco - I'm going to put them in my Gang's goodie bags! These are the perfect snack, I think!

http://store.secondnaturesnacks.com/xcart/product.php?productid=16139&cat=0&bestseller=Y
 

raebates

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For me it's Cliff Bars. They have a good mix of fiber, protein, and good sugars. Plus, they have a great variety of flavors.
 

raebates

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Today is June 9. There are 33 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.
 

ChefBeckyD

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For me it's Cliff Bars. They have a good mix of fiber, protein, and good sugars. Plus, they have a great variety of flavors.

Mmmmm...I LOVE Cliff Bars. My current favorite is the White Choc/Macadamia Nut one. I also love their Holiday flavors, and stock up on those when they have them - like the gingerbread, and the pumpkin pie, and the carrot cake....

Cliff Bars are what I eat when I have to eat on the run, and don't have time to make something. I also keep one in my purse at all times for food emergencies. :)
 

ChefBeckyD

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Today is June 9. There are 33 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.

I'm not picky at all - I always leave all of that and toiletries at home. I use the hotel-provided soap/shampoo/lotion.
 

raebates

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I need a little extra moisturizing. I have special stuff that I use for traveling, since the water in hotels always seems to dry out my skin. And, with color-treated hair I stick with special shampoos. I'm also picky about my hair dryer. I have lots of hair, and it takes a long time to dry even though it's short. I've encountered a few hotel hair dryers that just weren't up to the task. Now I always pack my small but mighty one.

By the time I discovered Cliff Bars the holiday flavors were gone. Our health-conscious son introduced me to them. I enjoy finding and trying new flavors. The most recent was apricot. Very good. Usually I buy a box of 6 for less than $6 at Walmart. The selection is limited so my standard is chocolate brownie. I always have a few in the van.
 

cookingwithdot

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Hi everyone - I am staying at the Sheraton and flying into Midway. What is the best way to get to the hotel? CTA? I can't tell if the Sheraton offers a shuttle service ...
Thanks!
 

raebates

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I'm sorry I can't help you, Dottie. I drive in. You might get a better/quicker response if you post your question on this thread: http://www.chefsuccess.com/f104/where-you-staying-61086/. It's fine to post it here, you just might not have the people who can help you checking this thread.
 

raebates

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Today is June 10. There are 32 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 after NC is that I can leave mine packed. The only thing I have to add is my makeup, so I’m ready to go at a moment’s notice.
 
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loreo

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Hi everyone - I am staying at the Sheraton and flying into Midway. What is the best way to get to the hotel? CTA? I can't tell if the Sheraton offers a shuttle service ...
Thanks!

Last year we took an airport "cab" from Midway to the Sheraton. I think HO posted a coupon that got us a discounted rate. I'm not sure when they posted it though.
 

ChefBeckyD

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Last year we took an airport "cab" from Midway to the Sheraton. I think HO posted a coupon that got us a discounted rate. I'm not sure when they posted it though.

There is a coupon posted on the National Conference page on CC for a round trip shuttle to the airport.
 

cookingwithdot

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Thanks, Becky!!! I called the Sheraton and they suggested GO AIRPORT EXPRESS - a shuttle service. :)
 

raebates

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Today is June 11. There are 31 days until the start of National Conference.

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.
 

wadesgirl

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We leave a month from today!! So excited!
 

raebates

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Woo hooo! I leave a month from tomorrow.And, a month from tomorrow I'll be seeing many of you. I'm really looking forward to the Meet N Greet.
 

pampchefsarah

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Today is June 11. There are 31 days until the start of National Conference.

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.

Rolling together is even better. Takes up less room in the suitcase, and prevents wrinkling.

Woohoo, I had a tip to add!

Woo hooo! I leave a month from tomorrow.And, a month from tomorrow I'll be seeing many of you. I'm really looking forward to the Meet N Greet.

A month from tomorrow for us, too. VERY EARLY in the morning, but at least we don't have to pay for the extra night. Cannot WAIT to meet everyone in person.
 

esavvymom

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Oh man.....What happened to the time?! Last time I read this thread we were in the 50s! :eek: I am SO going to be having anxiety attacks! LOL I have a list that is huge to complete, and very little time. We leave July 3rd actually!! We drive (from NC)- my folks live in Ohio, so we stay with them as our stop-over on the way. We're staying two nights there, then driving ont he 5th to Chicago, to spend the week with his parents. They live an 1.5 hr train ride from downtown. So we squeeze in family-time with the N.Conf. time. I have VBS in a week, so uggh...

But looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to when I'm DONE traveling! LOL It's making the summer fly by too fast.
 

raebates

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Today is June 12. There are only 30 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 that suitcase zipped before you leave.
 

raebates

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Today is June 13. There are only 29 days until the start of National Conference.

Label each piece of your luggage, both inside and out, with your name and phone number, but not your home address. If an address is required by your transportation, try not to use your home address on the outside. 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 14. There are only 28 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.
 

BethCooks4U

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Oh man.....What happened to the time?! Last time I read this thread we were in the 50s! :eek: I am SO going to be having anxiety attacks! LOL I have a list that is huge to complete, and very little time. We leave July 3rd actually!! We drive (from NC)- my folks live in Ohio, so we stay with them as our stop-over on the way. We're staying two nights there, then driving ont he 5th to Chicago, to spend the week with his parents. They live an 1.5 hr train ride from downtown. So we squeeze in family-time with the N.Conf. time. I have VBS in a week, so uggh...

But looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to when I'm DONE traveling! LOL It's making the summer fly by too fast.

We do the same thing. We drive from NC to WI to visit family "on the way" and sometimes extended family and/or friends on the way home but this year DH will fly back and I'll drive home from conference.
 

raebates

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Today is June 15. There are only 27 days until the start of National Conference.


Remember to pack 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 16. There are only 26 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 photocopy machine. 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 want to also 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.
 

suzipooh

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Rae,
GREAT idea! A few years ago at conference a group of us went out for pizza and one of the girls had her purse stolen at the restaurant!!! While we were walking back to our hotel, we witnessed a mugging ~ a group of "kids" ran up to a lady who was walking and talking on her cell phone, one kid grabbed her phone and then another grabbed her purse, then like, 4 more went running past in different directions...it all happened so fast! It was crazy!
I always bring a purse/bag that is worn across my chest and keep it on with the "purse" in my lap when we're at restaurants and stuff.
 

pampered1224

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If you can do so, never carry a purse while walking outside. Do not walk alone and especially do not be distracted like talking on your cell phone. Be aware of your surroundings. The other thing to remember is to NEVER put a purse on the back of a chair any where you go. It is the one place most people will not be watching except crooks. This makes it simple to cut the straps or simply pick it up and go. So your advice about keeping it in your lap is excellent! You can also get this thing that wraps around your waist under your clothing that is like a flat fanny pack. No one sees it and only you know it is there. I think a luggage store carries these. I saw it on a travel show. Rick Steve's Europe in fact. He uses one.
 

wadesgirl

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My first year at conference a roommate that was flying in from another state lost her wallet on the shuttle ride from the airport. She had some stuff in an open top tote bag. She remembers the driver taking a crazy turn and she nearly fell out of her seat and the bag fell on the floor. She thinks that's when her wallet fell out but she doesn't exactly remember. Trying to deal with the shuttle company, the police, card company, etc made a not so fun day in Chicago. Who ever got the wallet did use it at a few gas stations - they take cash from people who don't want to run into the gas station and use the stolen card to pay for the gas and then keep the cash - before she could cancel the card.
 

BlueMoon

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My first year at conference a roommate that was flying in from another state lost her wallet on the shuttle ride from the airport. She had some stuff in an open top tote bag. She remembers the driver taking a crazy turn and she nearly fell out of her seat and the bag fell on the floor. She thinks that's when her wallet fell out but she doesn't exactly remember. Trying to deal with the shuttle company, the police, card company, etc made a not so fun day in Chicago. Who ever got the wallet did use it at a few gas stations - they take cash from people who don't want to run into the gas station and use the stolen card to pay for the gas and then keep the cash - before she could cancel the card.

Yes, years ago my wallet fell off the roof of my car. They eventually found someone using the cards, and my wallet was found in a house that had been burglarized. Apparently credit cards are used in trade by drug dealers, too.

Marghi
 

raebates

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Today is June 17. There are only 25 days until the start of National Conference.

What not to take is as important as what to take. Leave the family heirlooms at home. While your hotel should be secure, theft does happen. If it's an irreplaceable piece of family history, you may want to rethink bringing it along. If you're being recognized for a special achievement, and you really want to wear great aunt Bertha's diamond-encrusted brooch, ask about the hotel safe.
 

raebates

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Today is June 18. There are only 24 days until the start of National Conference.

Make sure of the carry-on rules. I don't know about buses, but airlines have strict carry-on policies. You don't want to have to leave things you've carefully packed behind. Contact your airline or bus company for their rules. Don't forget that the Transportation Security Administration has some rules in place, too. Questions? Get the answers at TSA | Transportation Security Administration | U.S. Department of Homeland Security or 866-289-9673.
 

raebates

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Today is June 19. There are only 23 days until the start of National Conference.


Okay, so you have your list done. Gather together the clothes you're planning to take. Check each one carefully.

• Does anything need a good cleaning? Check for spots and stains.

• Is everything in good repair? Check for dropped hems, hanging threads, and seams in need of repair.

• Do you have everything you need to complete each outfit? Don't forget any special undergarments (slips, strapless bras, etc.). [Sorry guys. I'd include any special undergarments for you men, but I just keep picturing KG, Keith, Dave, Bobby, and the guys in strapless bras. :eek:]​

You don't want to be at NC, in the process of getting ready, and realize that you've forgotten something or that something needs cleaning or repair.
 

raebates

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today is June 20. There are only 22 days until the start of National Conference.

While you're checking all of your clothing to make sure it's clean and in good repair, why not see if you can eliminate an item or two. Instead of bringing different shoes for each and every outfit, can you get buy with just a couple of changes*? If you're bringing sweaters or jackets in case the rooms are chilly, do you have one that will work with every outfit? Remember, the less you take with you, the more room you'll have to bring stuff back.

*Remember, though, that as much walking and standing on concrete as we'll do, it's best if you don't wear the same shoes every day.
 

raebates

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Today is June 21. There are only 21 days until the start of National Conference--3 weeks from today!

We’re going to have a lot of fun at NC. Remember, though, that this is a business trip. Get and keep receipts for everything. Most of your expenses will be tax-deductible. Why not label an envelope “Receipts” and bring it with you? It can help you keep track of everything. BTW, don’t forget to add the amount you tipped to your receipts.

And, yes, I realize I gave this advice at the beginning of the countdown, but that was over 2 months ago, and this is a really important tip.

Of course, if you use per diem on your taxes, the receipts won’t be an issue.
 
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lockhartkitchen

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Wearing sandals to the airport saves time when going through security. Also remember to limit the jewelry you wear when leaving for Chicago. The less metal on you, the quicker you go through security. Also, remember that if you are like me and like to take your makeup with you in your carry-on, that you get trial size containers so you don't go over the limit of liquids you can carry on with you. (I contact my "makeup lady" and she gets me the sample sizes which are perfect for a 3 night trip.
 

raebates

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Today is June 22. There are only 20 days until the start of National Conference.

Don’t arrive at NC all frazzled. Take a good look at your schedule leading up to your departure. Have you made a realistic schedule? Be honest. Can you really get everything done in the time allotted without driving yourself insane? If not, be ruthless. Eliminate. Delegate. Do whatever it takes to make sure you get some rest and a little time with your family before you leave. You’ll get more out of NC if you aren’t exhausted.
 

pampered1224

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CAN NOT WAIT!!!! Beth and Bobbi - where are the relatives? Just curious, and to be honest, nosy, as I live in Milwaukee WI and Bobbi - you said an hour and half train ride and Beth - you mentioned WI.
Also, make sure that you have your CS buttons and your postcards from your sales with you. Any freebie from HO is a good freebie!
 

esavvymom

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CAN NOT WAIT!!!! Beth and Bobbi - where are the relatives? Just curious, and to be honest, nosy, as I live in Milwaukee WI and Bobbi - you said an hour and half train ride and Beth - you mentioned WI.

Algonquin/Huntley mostly. Some of them now live up in Genoa City, WI. They are my husband's family.
 

pampered1224

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My folks are about 10 minutes north of Genoa City on H in Lake Geneva! Small world!
 

raebates

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Today is June 23. There are only 19 days until the start of National Conference.

Here’s a great idea from Julie Ann Jones that I’ve used before. Take three index cards with you to each workshop. Label one “Wow! Do it now!” for things you can implement immediately. Label the second “Great idea! Do it soon,” for those ideas that will need a little planning and/or research before your start them. Label the third “Think about this.” That third card is for things that you think you’d like to do but will need a lot of planning or re-adjustment to your current way of doing things. When you’re sitting in a workshop and they give you a great idea, write it down on the appropriate card. This will make it easier to implement the ideas once you get back home. Remember, no matter how great the training if you don’t implement the ideas, you’ve wasted time and money.
 
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Jennifer E

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I got my Chef Success button in the mail the other day and I wanted to share a tip. If you write your name on your button and mess up (or don't like your handwriting!) you can erase the Sharpie with fingernail polish remover and start over.
 

raebates

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Today is June 24. There are only 18 days until the start of National Conference.

Kristi shared a great idea a couple of year ago. She made a care package to leave behind for her family—little treats and gifts to be opened each day. Now, The Furry Guy is used to being on his own, so a pan of mac & cheese and a few phone calls to touch base while I’m gone will be just fine for him. However, if you have young children at home or a spouse who’s not used to being on his or her own, a few treats could help them deal with your absence and may make them more willing to let you go next time.
 

suzipooh

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oh I love that idea...... I have 2 teenage boys,...any thoughts on what to leave for them?
 

etteluap70PC

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I have done this. My kids love it and can not wait for me to go... :)

What kind of things do they like or have they been asking for? Maybe an itunes gift card, a favorite snack you don't let them have often.

Maybe extra added to their allowance if they help keep their room and the house clean while you are gone.

What is their "currency" as Dr. Phil would say.
 

etteluap70PC

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Don't forget your cell phone or camera charger!

If flying do not pack in your checked bags. If you have a flight delay you may need them.

I was so glad last year I had remembered the charger for my camera! I used it more than I thought I would and wore down the battery in a day! That never happens at home :)
 

raebates

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Good reminder, Paulette.

Suzipooh, remembering back to Shawn's teenage days--maybe you could stock the kitchen with some of their favorite special-days-only snacks. If chips, ice cream, candy, frozen pizza and/or sugary cereals aren't something you normally let them indulge in, these would be great things to leave for them.
 
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raebates

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Today is June 25. There are only 17 days until the start of National Conference.


Don’t forget to bring along a bit of cash for tipping. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of singles. Here are some rules of thumb:

Skycap at the airport—$1 per bag (double if your bags are carted to the counter or elsewhere)

Taxi/Limo drivers—10% to 15% of the fare

Doorman—It’s not necessary to tip the doorman unless he takes your bags inside for you. If so, tip $1 per
bag.

Bellman—$1 to $2 per bag

Parking valet/attendant—$1 to $2

Concierge—It’s not necessary to tip a concierge for directions. However, if he/she has helped you with tickets or reservations, $5 to $10 is customary.

Wait staff—15% to 20% of your bill.​

And, remember to tip your hotel housekeeper. Generally speaking, $2 a day (or a dollar a day per person, if that’s more) is considered standard. I used to just leave one tip at the end of my stay. I don’t do that anymore. Someone pointed out to me that hotel staff assignments can change daily. The person who took care of your room on the first night may not be the same as the last night. As a matter of fact, one person could be the one who picks up after you for all but the last night. I now take envelopes for each morning labeled “Housekeeping.” I leave my tip inside (along with those of my roommates) and leave the envelope on the bathroom counter where they’ll be sure to find it.*

*You know all of those TV shows that show that in so many hotels the cleaning staff doesn't change the glasses and stuff? I'm pretty sure I get clean glasses. ;)
 
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