Zero Baggage Eliminates the Need for Checked Luggage


It’s a dream that’s probably flitted through everyone’s mind at some point: to travel completely baggage-free.

The problem of course, for those of us unable to afford a new wardrobe for each destination, is what to wear when you get there. Zero Baggage hopes to provide the answer.

The startup has concocted a service for travelers that provides them with the clothes and other essentials they need at their final destination. Users simply fill in an online virtual suitcase, the contents of which will be waiting in their hotel room when they arrive. Items are used but clean and well-maintained, new or one-use only.

Weight saved by eliminating checked luggage can be converted into carbon credits which can be spent on various treats. The service hopes to be up and running in November.

But will it fly?

As Zero Baggage founder Catharine MacIntosh points out in an airy promotional video, a handful of discount airlines have already instituted no-baggage flights. And fees for checked baggage have been going up.

But while there is no doubt that many many people would jump at the opportunity to ditch their luggage, sharing clothes with virtual strangers may not be the answer they are looking for.

On the other hand, many people wear second-hand clothing. And as for intimates and toothbrushes, you’ll still have your carry-on.

Weightless living

Zero Baggage will also offer “virtual closets” in different cities. Travelers can store their own and rented items in these closets for use when they get there. And it’s not necessary to travel to take advantage of Zero Baggage’s store of circulated items — they can be rented at home as well.

Think of it as a concierge service for communitarians, or a way to bring “us closer to a state of seamless travel and weightless living,” as Zero Baggage explains on its website.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.