Do's & Don'ts
Do have lots of fun. Don't worry too much.
You are in south, central Texas, where it can be warm and dry. Your body will need fluids, especially if we get a warm, late fall. Carry a bottle of water, and be sure to bring sunscreen. With the heat the hotels crank up the AC so you may need long sleeves or a sweater in the meeting space.
Smoking is not permitted inside the hotel, on the Metro, in the airport or any federal buildings.
What to Pack for DC
Hint: Washington DC professionals dress more conservatively and classically than some other parts of the country. Law Firm “Monday - Thursday” is a good rule of thumb for this year’s conference. Presenters are typically requested to wear suits.
The final late night party will be a good time to think fashion!
If you plan to visit DC sites, or go on the NCBJ Tours, a fair amount of walking is required. You know your feet best.
Bring Your Running Shoes
Bernstein – Berkeley invites everyone to their annual, free 5k Fun Run through downtown streets and parks. Bring your running gear and join the pavement pounders for 6:30 am fun.
Warm – Light Jacket
It can be cool in the evening, even after a warm day. Bring a light jacket.
Travel Safety Savvy
NCBJ is proactive on safety for everyone attending the annual conference. It starts with selecting a property that has been designed with guest safety in mind. In addition to the hotel security operating procedures, the U.S. Marshal Service sets a high standard of protocols to deliver safety for the judges and guests. Knowing which people belong in the meeting areas begins with everyone wearing their NCBJ badge. We ask your cooperation to wear your badge at all times in the meeting space and place your tickets in the badge pocket, so you have them with you when needed.
Be Prepared, Be Proactive
Any time you travel solo, there are a range of actions you can take to feel confident and mitigate risks.
- Research the city so you know what to expect in terms of the culture and climate. Go thru the NCBJ conference website to see pictures of the hotel and floor plans so you are confident you are “in the right place.”
- Dress to fit in. NCBJ conference attendee attire is “business Friday” and speakers wear “go to court” clothes. Save the bling for afterhours dinners and parties. Standard travel advice is to tone down the designer clothes, bags, high end jewelry in favor of classic business attire.
- Be discrete with high-value items such as laptops, phones, tablets and wallets. Keep them in zipped or buckled and out of sight. Take them out to use in secure places such as hotels, conference meeting space and in restaurants. Carefully consider use on the street or in public transportation terminals.
- Make it appear that you are not traveling alone. In a taxi, make a call to someone who is “expecting you” at your destination, even if it is a fake call and no one is there.
Be Hotel Savvy
Here’s a compilation of what security experts recommend for business travelers. While these strategies won’t completely eliminate risk, they reduce the chances of problems.
- Stay in hotels with interior corridors with 24-hour visible, staffed reception desk and security.
- Shorter corridors with long visual sight lines (no turns) make it easier to assess the traffic in the corridor. Each elevator serves a limited number of floors reducing the number of people encountered on your route.
- Make sure the windows and sliding doors lock from the inside and the door has a peep hole.
- If someone gets off the elevator with you on your floor, step to the side and let the person go ahead of you to their room. If you ever feel uneasy about people in the hallways, go to the elevator and down to the lobby. Ask hotel security for an escort back to your guest room.
- When being given your room key at the desk, if the staff person says the room number out loud, ask for a different room.
- If you need a new key at any time in your stay, the hotel should ask to see ID to check your identity before making you a new key. Remember that many hotel keys are “magnetic sensitive” and the entry code will be scrambled if placed next to your mobile, tablet cover or other magnet in a wallet or purse.
- If someone comes to your room door, unsolicited, including room service and housekeeping, call reception to check that the person was actually sent to your room. Don’t answer the door for anyone you are not expecting or who lacks appropriate uniforms or credentials.
- When first arriving, consider having bell staff escort you to the room, even if you have a roller bag. You will see where to go, learn where the ice machine is located on your floor, and when in the room, ask for a demonstration of where to turn on/off every light in the room, close the drapes and how to use the phone.
Thwart Identity Theft
- Carry purses or briefcases that zip or fully close. Keep your wallet and phone well inside the bag.
- Don’t hang your purse or convention bag on restaurant chair back – put them in your lap or between your feet.
- Don’t accept drinks from anyone you don’t know and trust.
- Visit ATM’s only when accompanied by a colleague. Look around – if anything makes you suspicious, leave or ask for a security escort. Shield the ATM screen when entering your information, request a receipt and pocket the receipt and cash – don’t examine either in open view.
- Don’t leave your credit card on the bar with the car number visible for a period of time.
Plan Ahead – Stay Aware – Take Proactive Steps If Your Personal Radar Beeps
Thanks to Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine for their personal risk management advice