Keeping luggage to a minimum is the goal of many business travellers, but how far can you take it? Can you work on the road for long periods without a computer and a spare pair of shoes? We're about to find out. Next week I'm taking on the Luggage-Free challenge, travelling to a new city in the region every day and trying to do my regular job as Lifehacker editor armed only with a BlackBerry Z10 and without any meaningful luggage.
Long-time Lifehacker readers will recall that I performed a similar experiment back in 2011, spending a week travelling around the country doing my regular job but with only a BlackBerry Torch to do it, and without any change of clothes on me. A phone, a charger, some toiletries: I had nothing else.
That went surprisingly well, but I was curious to see if I could pull off the trick again with a touchscreen phone. I'm a huge keyboard fan — I've never had a permanent phone which didn't have a physical keyboard and I'm a keyboard shortcut junkie on my desktop.
I've liked the predictive keyboard on the BlackBerry Z10 ever since I played with the prototype, so this seemed like a good opportunity to revisit the concept. I also wanted to throw in some overseas travel to stretch the idea further, though time constraints meant that overseas ended up being no further than New Zealand.
BlackBerry was happy to sponsor the trip, so come next Monday I'll head off on a route that includes Auckland, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. I'll do my regular journalistic tasks — writing, editing, interviewing people — and I'll post regularly on Lifehacker about how the trip is going. I'll also aim to test out as many relevant apps as possible, though I know that email, WordPress and the browser will dominate my day, just as they do when I'm at a desk.
What The Rules Are
Last time around, I had literally no luggage whatsoever; I washed the clothes I wore each night and put them on again the next day. Everything I had needed to fit in my suit pockets. I've proved that was possible, but there are three reasons I didn't want to repeat it in exactly that form:
- Simply put, I know it can be done, so doing it again purely for its own sake doesn't add to my knowledge base. Adding in the touch element provides a new technological impetus, and throwing in overseas adds a fresh travel challenge, but laundry remains exactly the same issue.
- Having no change of clothes effectively blocks you from going out in the evening, which is something most business travellers need to do. A plan which allows for that is going to be more informative for others.
- Finally, many readers found the idea of me sitting around wrapped in nothing but a hotel towel while my clothes dried deeply disturbing, and I didn't want to put you all through that again.
So this time around, I've allowed myself one change of clothes (shirt, underpants, socks) and also a T-shirt and shorts to sit around in the hotel room in. That in itself is enough to mean taking a small bag becomes a practical necessity, but I'll still be carrying less than many people routinely grab simply to leave the house for a quick shopping trip.
So this is what I'm packing, including what I'm wearing:
Tech: BlackBerry Z10, charger, headphones
The charger has a detachable USB cord so I can also get power on planes which have a USB connection in the seat.
Clothes: Suit jacket and pants; belt, shoes; 2 T-shirts; 2 pairs underpants; 2 pairs socks; 1 night T-shirt; 1 boxer shorts
I can wash clothes as soon as I hit my hotel and either throw them in a dryer (if available) or hang them (after rolling in towels, a useful trick I picked up last time), knowing I still have something to change into. In a business travel context, the suit is the obvious choice. I'll be doing plenty of walking so I don't see the need for exercise gear.
The shirts, socks and underpants are all standard-issue gear. Last time, I experimented with specialist clothing from camping stores, but in practice it cost too much and didn't dry any quicker.
Toiletries Deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor All enclosed in a plastic snap-lock bag, for convenience and to sate the security gods at international airports. Everything else I'll get from the hotels. Last time, I took a shave stick, but as I've since grown a beard, using conditioner from my hotel should be sufficient for the small amount of trimming I'll need to do each day.
Other: Wallet, passport, pen, keys I've stripped out all the non-essentials from my wallet. Last time, I took a pencil, but I'll need the pen for filling out landing cards if nothing else. The passport is needed for international travel and airport ID.
Everything is prepped and ready for Monday, when I'll head into Lifehacker HQ to work in the office for a bit before making the trip to Auckland. In the meanwhile, suggestions for things to do, stuff to test or questions are welcome in the comments.