United States of America

From DG Bill Kmiecik;:  One of the highlights of each District Governor’s year is attendance at the Rotary International Convention.  If you have never attended a convention before, the May 2023 convention in Melbourne, Australia maybe the perfect place for you to debut!  In addition to amazing seminars and workshops on enhancing the avenues of service, conventions provide a wonderful opportunity to meet, network and exchange ideas with Rotarians from around the world.  If you have never been to Australia, this can be an amazing opportunity to combine convention attendance with pre- or post-travel to other areas of the country or region.  This gives you the best of both worlds and an opportunity to experience so much of what Australia has to offer.

District 6440 Convention Social Chair Marianna Zeidler from the Northeast Chicagoland Passport Club has prepared an a really interesting overview of the Melbourne convention to give you a glimpse of what the experience will include.  Rotary International - 2023 Melbourne Convention Preview

I would love for you to join me in Melbourne, and if you agree, there are some important “next steps” for you to join in the fun Down Under.  But first, a quick introduction.  Rick Rosenfeld is our District RI Convention Promotion Chair and current member of the Glenview Sunrise Club.  Rick runs a travel company and has partners on the ground in Australia.  He also was the Registration and Housing Manager at Rotary International the last time RI had its convention in Melbourne in 1993.  He will be helping Rotarians in the district navigate their way through the various steps of the travel process and will be a tremendous resource to each of you.

Here is an overview of your “to do” list. 

  1. Your first step is to select your first choice hotel and pay a deposit during September.  Our district is holding rooms at two hotels currently and you are welcome to choose the one you prefer.  Each hotel has its advantages, and inventory is limited at each. So if the choice between the hotels is very important to you, then you do want to act quickly.  Also note that we have minimum numbers that we need to meet at each hotel, so this is something that Rick will be managing, and circumstances may require us to consolidate into one hotel.  If you want to room with another Rotarian and don’t have roommate in mind, you can let Rick know and he will try to help with introductions to help match people.  And of course, spouses and family members are always welcome.  Step 1 - Hotel Selection
  2. Your second step is to decide whether you just want to come for the convention, or whether you want to spend a longer amount of time in the region since Australia is so far away and for many of you, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime destination.  District 6440 is offering a 5-day pre-trip program to the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney and a 5-day post-trip program to the south and north islands of New Zealand.  You are welcome to sign up for one or both of the extensions, and your friends from other districts are also welcome to join.  While the district extensions offer a great chance for camaraderie in fun and exciting locations, you are welcome to arrange your own pre- and post-convention travel or work with Rick on customized extensions.   Step 2 - Pre and Post Convention Travel
  3. Once you figure out your hotel and extension plans, it’s time to look at flights from and to the U.S.  Mileage seats are going to be tough to come by and airfare is not cheap.  Our Step 3 - Airfare Primer will give you sample current airfares from Chicago, as well as airlines and routings.  Step 3 - Flights and Airfare
  4. And of course, you will need to register for the Convention as a fourth step.  At this point, there are no looming discount deadlines for registering, so we encourage you to focus on the three prior points first.  Also, please make sure you are aware of the Rotary International Board of Directors recent decision about vaccinations and testing prior to the convention.  Step 4 - Register for the Convention and COVID Rules
  5. Finally, please check your passport to make sure it expires after 2023.  If you do have a passport that’s expired or expiring, please let Rick know.  Late 2023 expiration dates should be OK and there are also some new online passport renewal tools rolling out from the U.S. government Rick can discuss with you.

If you have questions about any of the information presented, please reach out to Rick Rosenfeld at rick@journeysoftly.com or 847.969.5757.