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The No Baggage Challenge

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Travel writer Rolf Potts is kicking off a six week trip around the world and he’s not taking a single piece of luggage. In fact, he’s not taking a bag of any kind, instead stuffing what he needs in his ScotteVest tropical jacket and cargo pants. Both of these garments are excellent for trips of any length.

I’ve tried to pack lightly in the past, but I always get caught up bringing too much crap ‘just in case’ of something. For example, when I went to India during the holiday season last year I brought more than a bagful of computers and electronics. During the month I was there I used my HP Envy 13 exclusively and I never even opened my MacBook Pro, which I’d brought along as backup and in case I wanted to edit video. I brought a suit, dress shoes and a few dress shirts to Italy two years ago on a trip with my wife in case we wanted to go out to fancy dinners or shows. I ended up wearing the same two pairs of cargo shorts and sandals for almost the entire trip.

I’m going to keep an eye on Rolf’s videos and blog posts for the next several weeks. Hopefully he’ll inspire me to pack a little lighter on my next trip. He has a cameraman following him, who is permitted to bring a backpack stuffed with a video gear. I could see myself ditching a bulky suitcase, but I wouldn’t be caught dead on a trip around the world without my pro my DSLR and lenses. They do get in the way sometimes, but it’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

You can follow Rolf’s adventure at RTWblog.com

Xavier Lanier is the publisher of Gotta Be Mobile and a photographer. He uses too many devices to count, but his current favorites are the iPhone 5s, HTC One, Nikon D800 and Sony RX 100M II. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

3 Comments

  1. David Howard

    08/21/2010 at 11:38 am

    I bought a ScotteVest in June for a trip in July to the Microsoft partner conference. That allowed me to pack numerous extra items as carry-on, and use a smaller suitcase. I used the vest every day at the conference, and also avoided carrying the backpacks they handed out for materials, etc. It was sweet to walk around hand free, have 20+ pockets, and whip the iPad out any time I wanted to check something.

    I was first interested in the vest because of the video of Xavier, and Rob Bushway’s pics, as well as Werner’s comments. I am glad to be a card carrying geek in my ScotteVest!

  2. TateJ

    08/21/2010 at 10:39 pm

    In my past road warrior life, I spent 14 years traveling around the country an average of 20 days a month. I never did see the big deal with checking baggage. I would be careful to stay under the weight limits, but I never hesitated to check a bag. I had my bag lost about a dozen times, but the airlines always found them and got them to me in under 24 hours.

    My coworkers would always comment on my having to wait for my bag, but I seldom waited long. And I always had what I needed on a trip. I also breezed thru security with just my 29 dollar Targus laptop bag. And I was never slowed down by a roller bag when I was running for a tight transfer.

    To each his/her own I guess.

    • Xavier Lanier

      08/22/2010 at 10:18 pm

      I’ve had good luck as well- I’ve never lost checked luggage. But this experiment is more about being free of too much gear/clothes while globe trotting. Having baggage (especially unruly suit cases) can be a real problem when you land in a country/city with cabs are too small to fit both you/your bag. Or you have to the thing because the wheels don’t roll over cobblestone streets. Or when ur party has to split up into 2 cabs because of too many suitcases and one gets lost on the streets of Bangkok. It can also be a problem when you land in Shanghai wearing jeans and have to attend a conference, but your suits are left back in California. All of the above (plus much more) have happened to me, except the Shanghai incident- that happened to a friend on a trip we were on.

      I like having my stuff with me on long trips, but you’re absolutely right that everyone has their own idea of the right way to travel.

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