Travelling with Zero Baggage


Last week I was listening to ABC Radio National’s Life Matters program and there was an interview with Catharine MacIntosh the founder of a new and coming soon concept – Zero Baggage – where you take no luggage, and hire it all before you leave and it’s waiting at your destination for you. The concept is that:

  1. No luggage = no lost luggage
  2. Faster travel experience – no waiting in queues at airports to check luggage or pick it up after your flight.
  3. No luggage means that planes are lighter, therefore fuel costs are reduced, therefore it’s a greener option (less carbon footprint)
  4. If you have kids you can hire prams/strollers, car seats etc for your destination – if you’ve ever travalled with small kids, you’ll know they have twice the luggage of an adult (if not more!).
These are the up sides – but what I see as the major downside is:
I for one have to try on every piece of clothing before I buy, and many that look like they’ll work for me don’t fit – so not having an easy to fit body would make me very dubious about using a service like this.
When possible I like to travel light, which reduces my carbon footprint, speeds up the travel process as I don’t have to check luggage, so can be in and out of the airport more quickly – and the major upside is by taking my own clothes I know everything fits. Also, by travelling light and taking only carry-on luggage – I don’t have to worry about having my luggage lost in transit.
What do you think about this as an idea? Would it be something you’d use?


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  • I'm confused – you buy all your stuff and it's waiting for you? Then what do you do when you return – do they mail it back for you? Doesn't this precipitate the purchase of a lot of things you don't need or which might not fit? Why not just buy everything when you get where you're going (if this idea appeals). I think I'm going to have to check the site to figure it out…

  • OK, me again. This is fascinating. But I don't know. If I were a major traveller I would certainly consider leaving a bag of my things with them in the "locker". But borrowing stuff that will be worn the following week by others kind of creeps me out (never mind the fit issue). I realize that I do it all the time with vintage, but still… I wonder if the world is ready for this.

  • K.Line – interesting concept – but yes the whole recycle thing is kind of weird (though they say all underwear is NEW, but then how green is that? Wouldn't it be better just to bring your own?). I think for possibly something like an Overcoat or really cold weather clothes (say if I was going to Canada during your winter) where I don't own that kind of clothing already, sure it would be great to have boots and coats waiting, but for everyday clothes, I can't as yet imagine wanting to use the service. It will be interesting to see if it flies!

  • Traveling light is simple. Just ask any expats and former expats. You don't need any more than 3 sets of clothes – one on, one in the bag and one in the wash. Less than 10kg, should fit into most carry on bags. Oh, and lingerie. Still less than 10kg. My biggest issue with traveling is skin care products – most of the top of the shelf skin care companies do not have frequent traveller packs. Now that is something that I would invest in.

  • Sorry, no… I buy 90% used clothing AND I only fly with a carry-on as it is. No green guilt trips here. Besides, I love shopping, especially on vacation — if I ever did fly with "zero baggage," then I'd go out and choose my new items myself.

  • This idea is interesting on many ways. Ok, I agree that we could easily leave the golf bag sets, skis,strollers,rain wear, etc. home and concentrate packing very lightly. I find it absurd to follow the- no luggage at all- concept. If we really wish to be green, why not minimize traveling in the first place? Is all business and vacation traveling really so important ? My traveling habits have changed dramatically after all the hand baggage restrictions (which I find plain stupid). Traveling should be fun, but with all these restrictions and new concepts, the fun part is definitely not there any more.

  • Interesting concept, but I agree with you about having a body type that needs to try things on to see if they actually do fit or flatter. Plus, I like knowing that clothes, shoes, etc. are comfortable in advance of traveling so I don't end up in things that may look cute but be totally impractical or uncomfortable. It also seems like it would be much more expensive for the customer than baggage fees. I'll stick with packing light and taking a carry-on whenever possible.

  • Anne – Australian and US shoe sizes are around 1/2 size different – in Australia I'm a size 9 (or European 40) in the US I'm a 9 1/2 (on average, based on the shoes I tried on when over there on holiday in May).

    Hope this helps!

    Bette – you can always by the little travel pots to decant your skin care products!

  • NO WAY. I am one who would like to go back to traveling with trunks. I need my stuff. Yikes, I am doing some mild hyperventilation just thinking about it.

  • I don't think I'd ever go for this service – shoes, underwear, even a favorite sweater are just too personal to rent and hope they'd be OK. I doubt the world is ready for this at all.

  • I've been managing with carry-on only for the last few years — and my last trip spanned a month away from home, including two conference presentations. It does take planning and does mean some compromises but is worth it to me in convenience and in getting rid of the risk of lost luggage. But I'd rather pack from my own closet than trust to someone else's choices, and I share some of yours and K-Line's reservations about the green-ness/disposability of some of the items. Interesting to see more and more people recognizing that traveling light should/could be an option though.

  • I can see it working for the bulky stuff like prams, but I'm a bit dubious about clothes. I'm off to Perth for four days this weekend, on a hand luggage only ticket, so I'll be packing sensibly … My problem is I often underpack!

  • there are enough 'unknowns' in any trip without adding the disorienting feeling of not having my own familiar clothes at hand. packing smart will take me farther and keep me happier.

  • I think it's easier to just pack light – carry-on only. The problem with carry-on is that there is not always room in the overhead bins because some of our fellow travelers seriously overdo it. I know you can plan ahead and there are ways to be one of the first on the plane, but things happen, flights get cancelled, and then you are standby and last on the plane with guess what, no room in the bins. (I haven't managed to pack so lightly I don't need the overhead bin.) So they gate check your bag and it ends up in Chicago when you're going to New York, but then they find it for you and kindly send it on to Houston, when you live in San Fransicso (wish I were making this up.)

    One business-oriented hotel in NY I stayed at frequently offered "closets" to their frequent guests. You could leave items behind, they would clean then and have them waiting in your room when next you checked in. I think this is a great idea, but probably expensive for the cleaning, and handier for the men than the ladies. After all, who can tell that they're wearing the same gray suit every trip?

  • As someone who uses Plus sized clothes I have enough trouble finding clothes to purchase ANYWHERE that I would never trust that I would be able to access appropriate sized clothes let alone clothes that suit and flatter me!

    NO WAY!

  • I’m not sure about the world but I’m certainly not ready for this. Yes to bulky items but definitely no to clothes. You should offer your services to them Imogen so people can learn how to pack enough clothes in a carry on bag thus reducing how much luggage.
    On the flip side, it would be fun being the person buying the clothes at the other end for the traveller!

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