I have a dream..

That dream is to never have to pack anything when I travel because everything I need will be waiting for me in my destination. It’s crazy I know, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite sometime. So usually when someone talks about ‘Urban Caching‘ they are either talking about geocaching in an urban setting, or some kind of city specific survival cache. Both of which are interesting in their own right but not what I’m talking about here. I’m thinking about something a little more functional.

Twitter / Tim Ferriss: I just started stashing to ...

Part of the original MultiBasing plans spawned from the idea that, or rather the frustration that I was feeling packing the same things all the time when traveling to the same city. When I talked to some friends (like Joi and Tim) who also travel a lot, and to many of the same places I found they had the same issues I did.

On a super obvious level if I live in Los Angeles (I do) and it almost never drops below 40° F here then I really have no reason to have big jackets and gloves. I certainly have no reason to have snow gear. That is unless I travel to places where it does get colder. But then I’m stuck in the situation of having something that sits in my closet until I pack it to take it somewhere, use it there, then pack it up and bring it back and throw it in closet. Just keeping it in the place I’m going all year makes much more sense, the question is how to do that.

If I have a friend there and can leave it at their house then problem solved. But maybe I don’t and I need to rent a locker somewhere or hide something in an office that I’m fairly sure I can get back into next time I’m in town. Hotels would be ideal but are rarely cool with the idea of holding your crap when you aren’t there paying on a daily basis. So that is on challenge, but assuming you do find a place to keep items, maybe this idea can be expanded? Climate specific things are obvious, but do I usually bring the same things to many places? Actually, yes I do.

So lets get one travel tip out of the way real quick – packing for a 1 or 2 day trip is much harder than packing for a week or more. When you start packing for a week you have to think about items you can wash and reuse which often results in bringing less. When you are packing for a day or two, everything you bring is single use and often you get sucked into the idea of “options.” If you are traveling for one specific event, you might bring 2-3 things that you could wear to it resulting in returning from your trip with things you never even touched. When you are packing for longer periods of time everything gets used.

So that in mind, in theory, you could create a pack of commonly used/worn items and leave them in the major cities you pass through or visit regularly. This would contain about a weeks worth of clothes covering various options – several casual things, a few nicer items, perhaps a jacket or different shoes. Depending on your work perhaps a suit. This creates a bit of a redundancy issue, in that you’ll likely have a few of the same thing, but if they are scattered out around the world that isn’t really a problem. And once you have this “basic” pack together and stashed in a few different cities, then what you need to take with you next time you go to one of them is suddenly reduced immensely.

If you find you need something you hadn’t anticipated you can probably just wear it on the trip itself. Or maybe you’ll need on very small carry on, maybe a backpack or something.

And maybe this doesn’t just apply to clothing. I know we are getting very speculative here, but with more and more data being stored in the cloud it could be possible to not even need to bring a computer with you. When you can pick up a brand new netbook for under $300, depending on your needs, that could more than do the trick for a few day trip.

Assuming this all makes sense and worked, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine being able to travel between a handful of cities on a regular basis and never need to pack anything. The thought of flying internationally without the headache of any luggage makes me giddy. Anyway, obviously this is still firmly in dreamland for the moment, but I do really think it’s not only viable but a very real option in the near future. And if you add into that pack a few disaster/survival/preparedness related items you’d be pretty well covered anywhere – or at least anywhere you regularly visit.