Laundry & Clothing Care While Traveling
Laundry is something I’m always thinking about while traveling. Firstly, I hate doing laundry wherever I am. But especially since I’m trying to be a “light packer.” This means less clothes overall and a greater need to wash them away from home. I’ve stayed in hotels, Airbnbs, hostels and beyond. Each has its own unique challenges when it comes to laundry.
Major hotel chains usually have laundry rooms with coin-operated machines. Get change from the front desk and wash and dry your clothes. This is pretty simple. A lot of hostels have similar services. Depending on the country, your Airbnb may have a washing machine.
When you do not have access to a washing machine, hand washing may be your only option. Don’t’ feel the need to wash every single item. Only wash the items necessary for the remainder of the trip. Otherwise you’ll be overwhelmed and have nowhere to put all those wet clothes.
I’ve used body wash when I had no laundry soap to wash my clothes. Sometimes we naively think all places are like where we live. Be careful of any body washes or “alternative soap options” with strong dyes. I ruined a white t-shirt by washing it with green dish detergent. Most items can be washed by soaking them in soapy water, then gently scrubbing in the sink or bathtub. Large bowls and basins also work.
Lots of hotels and Airbnbs have dryers. In many countries, washing machines may be available, but not dryers. Drying racks are a good alternative. Some places even have fancy drying racks, like below. Then there are outdoor clotheslines where you can dry your clothes with sunshine. What if there is no drying rack or outdoor clothesline?
If you know this might be the case beforehand, it’s a good idea to pack a short roll of fishing line and Command Strip wire hooks (the longer metal ones). This is the perfect solution when you have nowhere to dry your clothes. Fasten the command strip hooks to two facing walls, make a loop on either end of the fishing line, then attach to the command strip hooks. Don’t put too many clothes on at a time or it will get too heavy and fall of the wall. This is not a good idea for heavier items like jeans, but is great for t-shirts.
Many people prefer travel steamers. I don’t have experience using them but maybe I’ll try one day. I have a travel iron from Sunbeam and I’ve used it on a number of trips. It’s even great when I’m home, rushing and refuse to take down the ironing board. A flat iron on a low setting will also do the trick.
Packing Travel-friendly Items
Easy laundry on the go starts with the clothes that you bring. Pack items that don’t wrinkle easily. Items that dry fast are also a great idea. If it dries fast and doesn’t wrinkle, it’s definitely going in my suitcase.
If you pop a button, ask the hotel lobby for one of those little sewing kits. Keep it handy for other trips. Especially for accommodations where there is no lobby that can help you. Don’t know how to sew? That’s what YouTube is for.
These are my travel laundry tips. Do you have any tips to share?