The holidays are finally upon us. Traveling during the holiday season can be, quite frankly, one of the most stressful experiences. From flight delays to airlines overselling seats to other unforeseen expenses, for many it may seem like a necessary evil. However, instead of focusing on what you cannot control why don’t you focus on what you can—packing. We did a little digging, and voilà, we uncovered the only app you will need this holiday season, Dufl.
Dufl is a premium, luxury travel service that acts as a personal valet for travelers. The highlight of this service: the app does the packing for you. Yes, you read correctly. The app can eliminate the stress and headache of packing. The concept behind the app is to eliminate the main stressors involved during traveling such as arriving at the airport hours before a flight, paying for bags, fighting for overhead compartment space, and of course spending precious minutes waiting at baggage claim.
“When you sign up for the service we send you a massive roller bag to your house or business. In that bag you put all the things that you wear on the road and send it back to us,” said Bill Rinehart, Dufl’s founder and CEO. “We inventory everything, have it cleaned, professionally photograph everything, and we put it in your closet in our warehouse. Now you have your closet on your phone.”
The service doesn’t stop there. Using the app, you select which clothes you’d like to take from your Dufl virtual closet, and then enter your destination and arrival date. Let’s say you have plans to stay at the Gansevoort Hotel, in the swanky Meatpacking District. You’ll provide the destination in the app and once you arrive your clothes will be waiting for you in your room. When it’s time for your departure, you’ll schedule a pick up, affix the appropriate shipping label and leave your bag at the hotel desk. Once the items are picked up and cleaned, you will be notified that your items are—safely—back in your virtual closet.
“It’s a white glove service. When you get the bag it almost looks like a gift. It’s wrapped in tissue, everything is professional folded, reduced wrinkling. It’s nicer than anything you’d ever pack for yourself,” said Andrea Graziani, Dufl’s Chief Marketing Officer.
It only costs $10 a month to store your clothes, with an additional $100 for a round trip anywhere in the United States. When compared to airlines baggage fees, your Dufl service cost about the same amount. International flights depend on where you go.
Of course, this sounds too good to be true. We took the liberty to speak with a Debbie McCall, a Dufl subscriber since May, to see how her experience has been thus far.
What made you interested in employing Dufl’s services? I travel 75,000 to 100,000 miles per year. Packing for a trip, schlepping a carry-on back, finding a space for my bag and then doing laundry when I got home was a chore. The concept of never packing, never doing laundry, and not having to worry about overhead or under seat space or a forced gate check was immensely appealing.
How often do you travel and has Dufl made traveling easier? If so how? I fly coast-to-coast, at least, monthly and shorter hauls six to eight times a year. First of all, I am a heart patient. Even a carry-on bag can be physically stressful with a quick gate change or last minute change of aircraft, especially to a smaller aircraft. Will my bag fit underneath? Will there be room overhead? I don’t have to pay for earlier boarding. I don’t have to arrive an extra 30-45 min early to check a bag. A friend of mine uses a C-PAP machine and she sent an extra one to Dufl because it is less to carry and doesn’t slow her down through TSA. I can take everything I need including work-out gear & shoes and just-in-case clothes that would have pushed the limits of size and weight for a carry-on bag.
Now all I walk on the plane with is a tote bag for my purse, computer and meds. That fits on every plane including an 11 seater commuter craft. I save another 30-40 minutes on arrival by not waiting at baggage claim. That is crucial time during rush hour traffic when you have to make a meeting.
When I check into the hotel, my Dufl is either waiting in my room or with the bell captain. No hassle at the end of six+ hours of flying. And Dufl packs everything in tissue, liquids are wrapped in plastic and it is wrapped in Dufl blue paper. Lovely and elegant after the end of a dreary plane trip.
Best of all, when I get home, I am home. Done traveling. No having to do laundry, clean out the suitcase. Dufl does all that for me. I can rest the minute I walk in the door because my trip is over.
Some people would be nervous or uneasy about sending their personal belongings to a stranger, what made you over come that? Once you’ve lost a bag to the airline, this isn’t a concern. I’ve had a gate checked bag take so long to be handed to me that I missed the connection. I’ve had a checked bag lost that was never found. And I’ve had a checked bag mis-routed and took 3 days to get home. I’ve also had a checked bag show up at the carousel broken and with items missing. Dufl uses FedEx to ship. In decades using FedEx for personal and business use, they haven’t lost anything. Bonus? Full size toiletries! No scrounging for 3oz bottles or worrying that something will leak en route. With the virtual closet and drawers in their app, I can see everything Dufl has at any time. They send emails/texts that my bag is packed, my bag has shipped, my bag has arrived. They keep closer tabs on my clothes than I do.
What would you grade your experience thus far? A+. One point that Dufl doesn’t stress is their 24/7 human concierge service. I have had to change hotels mid-trip. Called the concierge, they arranged for a pick at the new location. I forgot to arrange for pick-up at the end of the trip. Dufl remembered, called me and arranged for the pick-up. I have to do circle trips now and then: Home to Point A to Point B to Home ~ Dufl has extra FedEx labels and pick-ups already scheduled.