Goodbye luggage: renting clothes the way of the future

Lost baggage, long queues, invasive security checks and fighting heavy suitcases could one day be a thing of the past, a tourism conference has heard.

A new Zero Baggage pilot project under which travellers would rent their holiday wardrobes from clothing stores, freeing up the need to pack, was flagged at the national Tourism Futures Conference on the Gold Coast yesterday.

Zero Baggage chief executive Catharine MacIntosh told business and industry representatives the new way of travelling would save airlines money, travellers time, be more sustainable and reduce safety fears at airports.

Instead of fighting with overstuffed bags, travellers would log onto the Zero Baggage website and pack online, dragging and dropping new or pre-loved clothes into a virtual suitcase, Ms MacIntosh said.

When they arrived at their hotel, their selection would be waiting for them, with rental prices at just a fraction of what the clothes cost new.

When the holiday was over, the clothes would be cleaned and used again.

Ms MacIntosh said the idea would work especially well with business travellers who could keep a Zero Baggage locker with their clothes at hotels they regularly stayed at for work.

The idea had also attracted support from the retired and young, who would participate in a pilot project in Toronto, Canada, from November next year, she said.

The Canadian entrepreneur, who likes to travel light, got the idea two years ago when she was singled out in an airport by a Customs officer who was suspicious of her lack of luggage.

"[The Customs officer] said: 'Well, we just can't imagine how you could travel for 10 days and have this small bag,"' Ms MacIntosh said.

"And I thought it's really a shame that that is the norm - total insustainability [sic].

"I just thought this norm of taking everything, even the kitchen sink, has to be reversed."


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