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Travel with a lot less baggage

Marketplace Staff Aug 13, 2007

Travel with a lot less baggage

Marketplace Staff Aug 13, 2007


Kai Ryssdal: Business travelers know the drill by now. Do everything you can to avoid checking your bags. But even if you do that, the hassles don’t end. Taking your computer out of its case, or separating your liquids into those plastic baggies.

It’s enough to make you wish your clothes would just magically appear wherever you’re going. Alex Goldmark reports.

Alex Goldmark: Alex Arvanitidis travels for business a lot.

Alex Arvanitidis: At least this year, I’m on pace to do about a hundred round trips, 200 legs over the next 12 months.

And when you travel that often, spending two or three hours each trip to pack, or waiting at the airport baggage claim, well, it adds up. So Arvanitidis found an alternative:

Arvanitidis: I get, log into my virtual closet, drag and drop the clothes I’ll need depending on who I’ll be meeting and what I’ll be doing. I enter the destination, the hotel that I’ll be staying at, tell them the arrival and departure date, and the clothes meet me at the hotel.

It’s part of a new service called Flylite. Arvanitidis keeps two weeks’ worth of clothes and toiletries in a remote storage space managed by Flylite. He can see photos on the Internet and instead of packing or doing laundry, he just clicks.

Flylite founder Steve Zilinek:

Steve Zilinek: And what we’ve done is we’ve set up modular California-style closets. Each one is dedicated to an individual. It’s lined with cedar, and you know, we’ve taken great care, because generally our clients, they’re high-end.

The climate-controlled closets are in different cities around the country. So, I live in New York. If I travel to Washington, D.C. twice a month, my clothes can just stay in D.C. waiting for me. That costs about a hundred bucks a trip.

Zilinek: But if you’ve got to get your clothes from say, D.C. closet to an L.A. hotel, then typically, that would be somewhere between $150 and $200.

The cost depends on the distance the clothes have to travel. And dry cleaning is extra. For people who don’t mind doing their own packing, several companies will forward their luggage. It’s like FedExing your bags door-to-door.

Zeke Adkins is co-founder of Luggage Forward, with a slightly different customer base.

Zeke Adkins: Typical customer skews a little bit older in age — folks that maybe are retired, have ample time to travel. I would categorize them as typically the luxury/leisure traveler. Taking on average a longer trip, requiring them to take more things, you know, to have more things at their destination.

Anyway you beat the baggage-check line saves time. And that’s often worth more than money — especially to our friend Alex Arvanitidis, the busy business traveler.

Arvanitidis: Time is of the essence. I could always make more money. I can’t put more than 24 hours in a day.

Traveling light in New York, I’m Alex Goldmark for Marketplace.

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