A Toronto-based startup called Zero Baggage plans to offer a range of services that will enable you to travel without having to check luggage. The company is schedule to go online in November of 2010.
[ See also: What kind of digital nomad are you? ]
The company appears to be primarily oriented towards environmentalism and what the web site calls "weightless living." However, it could also be great for traveling lippies (location-independent professionals). Zero Baggage plans to offer a service they call the "Virtual Suitcase." On their web site, you pick from a long list of categorized items, and drag-and-drop them into an online suitcase. When you arrive at your hotel, the actual items are waiting for you. When you leave, you simply leave them in your room, and someone from the company will pick them up for you. So where do these items come from? The company says that all items are either brand-new or used (the site specifies which), or "one-time use" -- stuff like disposable toothbrushes, I would imagine. Everything available is in "perfect condition," according to Zero Baggage. Presumably, the fee structure differs based on whether the item is new or used. You could, for example, "rent" only brand-new items. Once you clean and return the items, they would enter into the pool of available used goods. If you want to buy the stuff you have rented, you can do that, too. Another service is that you can send your own clothing and other travel items, and they'll store them for you in a city you travel to from time to time. They call this the "Virtual Closet." You tell Zero Baggage when you're arriving, and they have your own stuff waiting at your hotel. You can also rent clothing and other items from the company, and keep them in your "Virtual Closet." The Zero Baggage idea is an intriguing one, but the devil will be in the details. For example, it's an open question if people will want to rent clothing or other travel items. On the other hand, the concept is an extension of other movements that have gained some traction, including short-term home or room rentals, rent-by-the-hour Zipcar and others. What do you think? Would you want to skip the luggage and rent everything? (The company is online here, and also on Twitter at @zerobaggage.) Are YOU interested in location independent, digital nomad living? Please add this blog to your RSS reader and follow me on Twitter!