Everyone knows that sinking feeling when you arrive at the hotel and find you've forgot your tie, your shoes, or even your underwear. A pair of new apps aims to rescue you from such blunders.
Here’s another in our series on handy travel apps and websites. This one focuses on packing, the part of travel that many dislike and most wish they could avoid.
With DUFL you can travel without luggage and still have several changes of clothing and with PackPoint’s list of necessary items, you aren’t likely to be caught at your business meeting wearing your airplane sandals instead of the good shoes your forgot.
I have always envied the royals, not for their rank, but because they have staff who packs for them. And not just the stuff-it-in-your-luggage kind of getting ready to go that I know too well. When a blueblood dons attire for an appointment that requires an overnight away from the castle, they are never surprised by a suit with a coffee stain, a shirt that’s missing a button or a dress whose hem came undone. The palace staff make sure everything required is in tip-top shape before expertly folding the items into a trunk or 2.
Dufl aims to offer us plebeians the same sort of assistance. Targeted to frequent business travelers, the service takes the hassle out of packing, unpacking and returning home just in time to run your trusty items to the cleaners or cycle them through your washer and dryer.
After registering with Dufl, the service sends you its specially marked suitcase You fill it with whatever you need for your next road trip—suits, shirts, skirts, tops, heels, undies, pajamas, whatever. Your magic bag arrives first at the DUFL warehouse where your clothing is inventoried, inspected, photographed, cleaned and stored.
When you need your attire, use the DUFL app to let the company know which pieces in your virtual closet you require, plus when and where you’d like your luggage to arrive. DUFL promises that if you follow the guidelines, your magic suitcase will be waiting for you at your destination.
After your business trip or vacation, you schedule a pick up, slap a shipping label on the DUFL bag and leave it in a hotel-approved location for a FedEx pick up. You get to return home without schlepping your luggage, just like a royal.
DUFL could be almost as good as a butler. DUFL also allows you to add and delete real items to your virtual closet as needed. Currently the service is available for US travel only.
DUFL charges $9.95 per month for your virtual closet; $99 per trip, includes 3-day shipping of your suitcase to and from your destination as well as cleaning and storing your clothes for your next trip. Overnight suitcase delivery is an extra fee of $49. www.dufl.com.
Princes and princesses don’t arrive on safari without underwear (I have), or forget to pack shoes other than the ones they are wearing (Yes, I’ve done that too).
PackPoint, a free app, generates lists of clothing and items to take with you based on the location of your trip, the dates, whether you are going for business or pleasure and what activities you will engage in.
Although PackPoint is free, the $1.99 upgrade provides a range of icons to select that represent activities. Will you go ice skating, play golf or go to a concert? Some of the icons, however, don’t immediately translate to an activity, in my mind at least. The giant razor blade suggests slitting my throat—not a planned activity; or perhaps, it’s a notebook. Repeated taps failed to reveal the icon’s identity. PackPoint could use better graphics.
Since I could decipher the sailing and fancy dinner icons, I tapped on them and I added the special activity of going to see a physician. The custom list the app generated for me included jewelry and dress shoes—something last-minute packers are likely to forget—as well as all the usual items, which are useful to review just to make sure you’ve tossed them in your luggage.
My sailing activity didn’t seem to generate anything special except pants. What about my sun hat and sun screen? And the ones I wear are quick-drying.
While not perfect, PackPoint is helpful. The basic app is free. $1.99 upgrade for added lists. www.packpnt.com.