THERE’S NO SECRETS WHEN IT COMES TO DOING LAUNDRY WHILE TRAVELING… But, you gotta have a plan!
DOING LAUNDRY WHILE TRAVELING – I’m Going To Give You A Plan-of-Action!
Staying stylish while traveling can be a challenge when packing for a 21-day land/sea European vacation! Doing laundry while traveling becomes a necessity, especially if you don’t want to take your entire season’s closet with you.
Above I’ve shared my Cold Weather Black/White/Red Primary Travel Capsule for this trip with you. This vacation necessitated a secondary travel color capsule also, but that’s for another post on how to pack using travel color capsules! (they both work together too, for even more outfit choices!)
H.H. and I were leaving for a 9-night French Riviera and Dalmatian Coast cruise which departed from Barcelona and ended in Venice, Italy.
We added a few days in Barcelona before the cruise and then planned stays in Venice, Florence and finished the trip in Amsterdam.
The entire trip would be 21 days of fun and 3 days worth of excruciating plane travel. That’s a lot of outfits to plan!
You can see that doing laundry while traveling is a must for this length of trip. Especially if you want to Pack Like A Pro, Dress Like A Diva!
TRAVEL LAUNDRY PLANNER & PACKING CHECKLIST
First, before we begin talking about doing laundry while traveling, I want to pass along a little present, from me to you!
I’ve created a great IFAFL Email Subscriber List bonus for you.
It’s my 3-Page “Travel Laundry Planning & Packing Checklist” PRINTABLE PDF. I created it to help you plan and pack for doing laundry while traveling and wandering the world.
It’s got lots of great questions to ask yourself as you check off the items on my packing list. It also includes valuable tips to make sure your laundry gets done quickly, efficiently and is stress-free. Leave your stress at home!
Just download the FREE PDF, print, and you’re in business.
I’LL TELL YOU HOW TO GET YOUR COPY AT THE END OF THIS POST!
ARE YOU WILLING TO DO LAUNDRY TO PACK LESS CLOTHES?
When planning this trip, H.H. and I specifically looked at Hilton hotels that had self-service laundry facilities along our itinerary. (We’re Hilton Honors Diamond Members)
Having that availability at some point in our trip would enable us to refresh our travel wardrobes. We actually used Hilton Honor Points for our hotel nights, 9 in all.
H.H. is an expert and knows how to “work the system” when it comes to earning and using our Hilton Honor points. But that too, is great information that will appear in a future post. (if I can get H.H. to write his system down!)
The plan should be to know where you’ll be doing your laundry while traveling, before you leave home. Then you’ve got to form a plan so you schedule getting your laundry done during your trip.
THIS IS WHERE YOUR PLANNING PAYS OFF!
You’ll need a block of time to get it washed, dried and maybe do a little steaming/ironing if necessary.
When in your busy sightseeing and activity itinerary will you have the time? It takes about 2 1/2 hours to do a load or two of laundry from dirty, to washed, dried and folded. Plan your itinerary accordingly.
And don’t forget, if you’re planning to do laundry while traveling, others are too. Try to use the self-service laundry facilities at off-peak hours whenever possible.
We ended up doing two loads in Venice when a rainy and windy afternoon killed our plans. It was perfect, no one was in the hotel! (Be ready to PIVOT your plans when necessary! Another reason it’s wise to carry the correct denominations of currency you’ll need to do the laundry. You shouldn’t count on your hotel to have change!)
DOING LAUNDRY IN VENICE, ITALY – IT WAS AN ADVENTURE? Well, kinda!
So, we’re in our Venice hotel room, sitting out the rainstorm and I decide it was a good time to get the dirty job done. Whether I felt like it or not!
Deciding to do a little reconnaissance before taking everything down the eight floors to the laundry room, I took off. This way I’d know what kind of money was needed (coins/tokens) and just how much laundry I could fit in per load.
Okay, that’s not the only reason. I’m a little directionally challenged, and have been known to get lost inside the bowels of hotels.
I figured I should know how to get there when my arms are full of laundry! I found it, eventually.
Knowing we’d be doing laundry while traveling, we had started accumulating euro coins since we hit land after our cruise. I felt confident and well prepared. Silly, silly me!
Here’s a picture of the washer-and-dryer in the hotel, not too intimidating, until you try to read the control panel… it’s in Italian.
Yes, there were indeed, little paper signs taped on the walls with some misused-misplaced-English words.
But alas, other than telling me how much it would cost, I garnered very little else from them. And actually, I didn’t even get that right!
IT WAS AN ITSY, BITSY, TEENY WEENY WASHER
Back down I go…
Arriving at the laundry room without mishap meant I actually found it again. I confess, I ended up in the gym with my clothes in tow before finding the correct door. Left, right, whatever!
Okay, I opened the washing machine and this is what I saw.
A tiny little compartment that looked like one of H.H.’s outfits would be an entire load! How many laundry sheets did I pack?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
So I’m squatting on the ground, trying to decipher the tiny instruction panel. I’m hoping beyond hope that some kindly Italian gal will enter the room and save the day!
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. Although a very stylish French couple (yes, the husband came with her!) did come in to iron a few garments while I was finishing folding my second load. (too little, too late)
Back to the washer. I loaded my clothes, added a detergent/softener sheet (I’ll tell you about them later) and put in the amount of money I thought the sign indicated.
I pushed the button and waited. And waited some more before hearing a few strange sounds, but no spinning, no water, no nothin’. Then all of a sudden, the drum began to sputter, and then spin.
Yeah, I thought. I did it!
Not so fast little Missy! After 3 minutes or so there was still no water in the machine. What the heck?
It was spinning like a dervish, but it definitely was not washing our clothes.
WATER, WATER, MY KINGDOM FOR SOME WATER!
I decided, with the wisdom that comes from years of being the “fixer”, to start playing with the dials to see if I could correct the problem. Water, water, my kingdom for some water!
Well, needless to say I only made the matter worse. I ended up opening the washer door and giving a little yelp in utter frustration!
With tears threatening to well up, I marched up to the lobby (I only missed it by one floor!). Once there, I threw myself on the mercy of the concierge. Luckily, he had helped us purchase our vaporetto (water taxi) and bus tickets the day before, and recognized me immediately.
The dear man tried to explain how the machines worked. But after seeing the perplexed expression on my face, he offered to come down to the laundry and help me personally. I just love being a Hilton Honors member!
JUST CALL ME “A CLUELESS WONDER”
Turns out the washing machine was working just fine.
All that racket was the machine weighing the load of clothes.
That’s how the machine determines the amount of money it costs for that particular load.
Wow! That was an eye-opener, being the naive American traveler that I was. As we found out, it’s how laundromats in Europe operate. Oops – should have checked on TripAdvisor!
Who knew? Now you do too!
I wanted to have a few adventures in Europe, but doing my laundry wasn’t supposed to be one of them!
IT PAYS TO HAVE A PLAN – You Can See That Already, Right?
Here’s my 21-day Travel Laundry Plan-Of-Action:
- Once during every Celebrity cruise they offer a “laundry challenge”. It states they’ll launder as many pieces of clothing as you can fit in the large paper bag they provide. Celebrity charges a flat fee, as long as the bag isn’t torn in any way. This takes care of all our undergarments, socks, some shirts and a few miscellaneous items.
*EACH CRUISE, I TAKE THIS AS A DARE: This is no time to mess with a lifestyle diva like me!
I average about 30 items (a pair of socks counts as one item) per bag. It always comes back from the laundry service in two bags!
- Our Hilton Garden Inn Venice Mestre San Giuliano hotel features a laundry room with washer, dryer and ironing facilities which would enable us to do laundry during the mid-point in our trip.
- The Traveling Wolves always pack some undergarments that are made from fabric that can be hand washed in the sink and dry in a few hours.
- We use the plastic “laundry” bags from each hotel room to transport our dirty clothes inside our suitcases. I usually tuck 2 tall kitchen garbage bags in our suitcases too, for our “can be worn again” clothes. It’s nice to be able to keep them separate.
- I packed several fabulous pieces from Boston Proper’s travel line that can be hand-washed in a sink or bathtub and dry in a flash. They might need a quick touch-up with a steamer, but will look like I just took it out of the closet at home.
- Upon arrival at the “next” hotel room during a trip, I make sure to hang up any clothes that I’m planning on wearing “one more time” before they need to be cleaned. It enables the pieces to breathe a bit and helps keep wrinkling to a minimum. Speaking of packing without wrinkles… oh, that’ll have to be another post!
NAN’S FAVORITE TRAVEL LAUNDRY PRODUCTS
Premium Travel Laundry Kit: Tide Liquid Sink Packets, Drain Stopper and Coghlan’s Travel Size Bungee Clothesline $18.95
- Travel Laundry Kit with 9 Packet Tide liquid laundry soap, a 5” diameter rubber sink stopper, and a Coghlan’s 6’ Bungee Clothesline in a handy CastleGate Travel plastic zip seal bag.
- (9) packs Tide Travel Sink packets liquid laundry detergent suitable for hand washing in the sink.
- 5” Diameter rubber universal drain stopper.
- Coghlan’s 6 foot (unstretched length) Bungee style travel clothesline with attachment hooks at each end.
- No pegs or clothespins needed for this twist style
SinkSuds Travel Laundry Detergent Liquid Soap + Odor Eliminator for All Fabrics Including Delicates, (TSA Compliant), 8 Sink-Packets (0.25 fl oz each) $8.99
I love these for a quick rinse of some “delicates” in the hotel sink! Simple, quick and easy. Now that’s how I like doing laundry while traveling!
- TRAVEL SIZE: No more expensive hotel laundry service, quickly, safely, and easily wash clothes right from the convenience of your hotel sink (or bath tub)
- PREMEASURED + EASY TO USE: Simply add 1 packet to wash 2-3 garments in a sink, or 3-4 packets for a resort sized stacking washer. Can also be used in sinks, bathtubs, collapsible basins, or washing machines
- ALL FABRIC TYPES: SinkSuds is safe enough for all water temperatures and fabrics and will not shrink, stretch, or fade clothing; it’s even gentle enough for use with delicates or baby clothing!
- TSA COMPLIANT: Meets the 3-1-1 TSA guidelines for carry-ons, and easily fits in your backpack, gym bag, duffel, purse or diaper bag.
Grab Green Travel Size Natural Cleaning Kit, 7 Piece with Reusable TSA Travel Bag $12.49
I included this for my “green” traveling friends. It’s got more than just travel laundry supplies too…
- Contains 6 pouches with 2 detergent pods each, and 1- 20ml of dish soap, in a reusable travel bag
- In Vetiver, Gardenia, and Lavender with Vanilla scents. Bleach Alternative = Fragrance Free. Automatic Dishwashing Detergent scents = Tangerine with Lemongrass, and Thyme with Fig Leaf
- Laundry: Works for all temperatures and specifically made for HE and standard machines. Automatic Dishwashing Detergent: Works for standard and European Models.
- Made with naturally-derived ingredients and a non-toxic formula. Phosphate-free, chlorine-free & dye-free.
Scrubba Wash Bag – Pocket-Sized Portable Laundry System $54.97 Color: Green
Yes, this is really EXPENSIVE! But, I included it for those of you who travel “by foot” on many of your vacations.
This little baby is small, but mighty when it comes to getting your clothes clean in an outdoor environment.
- 100% Synthetic / Imported
- A GADGET THAT PAYS FOR ITSELF: Whether you travel regularly and like to pack light, the Scrubba Wash Bag will save you its value in just a few trips.
- A CONVENIENCE THAT CAN’T BE BOUGHT: Scrubba’s flexible textured scrubbing washboard allows for washing-machine like results in just minutes, without hurting your hands, and in the comfort of your hotel room, cruise cabin or tent.
- PACK LESS, ENJOY MORE: No need to turn your pants or panties inside out or double up on your hiking clothes. This laundry bag for travel has all you need for a machine quality wash in just minutes and it only weighs 145 grams!
- TESTED AND LOVED BY 100,000+ travelers around the globe since 2012 who already enjoy all the perks of the only pocket-size washing machine in the world. It doesn’t require any coins or electricity and can also be used as a dry bag!
Nasdom Travel Clothesline, 13 ft Portable Retractable Adjustable Clothes Line Rope with 1 Waterproof Bag, 12 Clothespins, 13 Anti-Skid Clips $9.99
- Nasdom’s exclusive design for Portable Travel Clothesline, which improves the shortcomings of other elastic clothesline and also brings great convenience for your camping, hiking, traveling, outdoor and indoor family life.
- What makes the Nasdom unique is that clothes rope itself is in elastic, but can be free to adjust the rope through the button, stretching up to 13 ft. Unlike other bungees retractable clothesline, it’s longer and the rope will not droop. Moreover, it can be stored in a zip lock bag with ease as it takes the least space in a traveler’s backpack.
- Made of stainless steel material that makes it strong, durable and rust retardant. It can not only hang thin washing，but also to dry heavy clothes, such as jeans, overcoats, etc. The black clips restrain the 12 pieces of clothespins from sliding to the center or bunching up.
- Also comes with steel hooks at both ends that can be attached anywhere: hotel, bathroom, RV, boat, balcony or yard. Can be used between the trees or in a canopy to attach wet towels and clothes.
Lewis N. Clark Adjustable Latex Clothesline $9.81
- NO CLOTHESPINS NEEDED: The triple-braid allows you to hang your clothes between the cords and is designed to grip clothes without clothespins.
- VERSATILE: Easily attach to shower stalls, or bathroom tile with the included suction cups. Adjustable straps attach to towel bars, shower heads, doorknobs, hooks, or around a tree while camping
- LIGHTWEIGHT + PORTABLE: Small enough to keep in your laundry basket and is perfect for hotel, camping, travel, or on a boat
- ADJUSTABLE: Easily adjust the length (up to 6ft). The ultra-durable, flexible, latex tubing is weather resistant and perfect for camping
- Comes with an included nylon storage pouch, suction cups, and clip to conveniently attach to your laundry bag, backpack, or camping gear
Homevative Laundry Detergent Sheets, Easy Dissolve, 30 Count, Fresh & Clean Scent, Full Size $6.99
- EASY DISSOLVE formula works great in either hot or cold water and is compatible with HE and standard washing machines as well as hand washing.
- EASY TO USE design is easier to use than liquid detergent or pods. 1 sheet = 1 pod or 1 cap. No measuring, no spills, no mess.
- CONVENIENT & LIGHTWEIGHT – weighing just 5 oz and under 1″ thick makes this pack perfect for travel, college and home use.
- ECO-FRIENDLY biodegradable packaging includes resealable strip.
- DEEP CLEANING, NON TOXIC concentrated technology does not contain harmful phosphates and is perfect for sensitive skin while leaving behind a FRESH & CLEAN scent. Works with colors and whites.
Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets, 50-Count $7.19
These are fabulous for hand washing a few things in your hotel sink! I don’t go anywhere without these little babies!
- Handy plastic pouch container
- Dissolves in water
- 50 Biodegradable Sheets
- 3-1-1 Carry on Compliant
Trubetter 10 Pcs Travel Hangers – Portable Folding Clothes Hangers $9.55
- SMART AND PRACTICAL – It’s for baby’s clothes when it’s half unfolded, while it’s for adult’s clothes when it’s fully unfolded. Clothes are held firmly by the anti-skid grooves.
- SKID-PROOF DESIGN – Allows you to keep your clothes in place without falling or sagging and protects delicate garments. This is ergonomically designed ends to preserve garment shape.
- COMPACT AND SPACE SAVING – Can be folded to fit in small pockets of travel bags and luggage.
- HIGH QUALITY AND LIGHTWEIGHT— Each hanger weighs 28 grams
WashEZE 3-in-1 Laundry Detergent – Sheets 10 Count, No Scent Portable Individual Packages For Easy Travel $8.95
- THE LAUNDRY SOLUTION – Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and static control, all in one
- Each sheet does one full load of laundry
- MADE IN USA
- HE COMPATIBLE – Works with all types of laundry machines and dryers. Great for front loaders, with no measuring needed
- Contains no perfumes or phosphates
- Travel friendly, can be used without a washing machine. Safe for all washables including natural, synthetic, and blended fabrics. Airline approved & TSA compliant
ATB 10 Laundry Hooks/Hanging Clips $7.61
- Combines the convenience of a hanger and a clothes pin
- Conveniently hangs on hotel shower curtain bars
- Easy hanging of small single items
- Lightweight and easy to pack in your carry-on luggage
- Use two for hanging pants, skirts or shorts
Lint POP Retractable Lint Roller, 120 Total Sheets, (Rose Gold Metallic) $9.99
This is the one item when doing laundry while traveling that I consider “bling”. I usually pack so many black and white items, it’s a blessing to be able to tuck it into a tote or purse.
- EACH PACKAGE CONTAINS: 1-60 sheet lint roller with a 60-sheet refill for a total of 120 sheets!
- RETRACTIBLE DESIGN: Allows you to take Lint POP with you anywhere on the go
- EXTRA STICKY 100% RECYCLABLE SHEETS: Are perfect for unwanted pet hair, lint, dust & dandruff and safe on all fabrics
- EASILY PLACE IN YOUR: Luggage, purse, backpack, car, desk, or even your pocket
- SLIM AND SLEEK DESIGN: Lint POP measures 5.25” wide and 5.25” long when (closed) for easy storage
Laundreez Portable Clothes Washer $35.00
This is an expensive item, no doubt. But, if I was traveling “around the world” with H.H. one day in the far-away future, this just might be in my bag.
- Compact, portable, waterproof bag for washing clothes
- A dry bag with a twist cap for a variety of uses — dry bag, packing bag, water carrier, cooler bag
- Robust, lightweight, durable, waterproof dry bag protects valuables
- Versatile packing bag to keep wet items or toiletries locked away when travelling
- Can carry up to 6 litres of water
LANGRIA Touch Control Garment Steamer, 1300W with Detachable Water Tank $29.99
If I’m doing laundry while traveling, you won’t find me without a fabulous steamer. My current model is a bit older, but I still love it and it packs away like a dream!
- features base plate ceramic spray thermostat and smart iron sole plate technologies to control the temperature. Works on a variety of fabrics like natural linen, delicate silk, cotton, wool, synthetics material, etc.
- 2-IN-1 FUNCTION: Choose to iron or steam your clothes horizontally or vertically by simply touch-controlling the button and adjusting the 130 ml removable water tank in a second; the dry hot function also allows you to iron your clothes even when the water tank is empty
- EASIER IRONING: features 8 steam vents to offer a high-temperature and nano-dry steaming; the fast preheat function can safely heat up the base plate to 130-150°C in only 30 seconds.
- HANDHELD STEAMER: designed in a lightweight and compact size for ultra portability, making it fit carry-on standards; includes a 7.7 ft. long cable with a Velcro for easy storage, perfect for travel use
Uarter Portable Garment Steamer for Clothes $35.99
- FOLDABLE & PORTABLE IRONS FOR TRAVEL: It’s a travel-sized, lightweight, foldable steamer that’s easy to pack and store.
- POWERFUL & FASTING HEATING: Its ready-to-go 100ml water tank heats in 25 seconds and powers 10 continuous minutes of soothing steam. Plus, stay dry and safe thanks to the upgraded Spill-Proof Technology and Automatic Safety Shutdown System!
- 360° ANTI-SPILL & DRY STEAM: Ordinary clothes steamers tend to spurt or leak water, which can stain and even ruin your garments! The Uarter portable steamer is able to use at 45°, 90°, 180°and other angles, besides, utilizes electronic pump system to prevent leakage.
- SAFE AND USER-FRIENDLY: Automatic power-off protection prevents dry burning, automatically detects power and temperature, once out of limits it will automatically powers off and provides all-round protection
DOING LAUNDRY WHILE TRAVELING – What I took with me for 21 days in Europe
I packed “down and dirty” for this trip, with only one small Dollar Store zipper pouch worth of laundry supplies. (I’d rather take more shoes!)
- For our laundry detergent, I packed 4 large WashEZE sheets, infused with both detergent and fabric softener. I pre-cut them in half to be used in the smaller hotel-sized machines and placed them in Ziploc bag with 8 dryer sheets. That made 8 “loads” worth of detergent.
- A small pair of scissors is a staple in my toiletry kit, so when I want to do some hand-washing in our room, I cut a strip off of a sheet to wash a sink-full of items. They clean well, weigh nothing and pack flat, a wanderer’s dream!
- A Tide-to-Go stain treatment stick; I know, you know, that we all know these are a staple that should also be dropped into your purse for messy mishaps during any day of your life. (I have a few of those, all the time!)
- Downy Wrinkle Releaser, no explanation necessary!
- A stick lint roller – I constantly pack black or white, and this little roller is a blessing! (I got my pink one later!)
- Static Guard spray to make sure your little black dress doesn’t look like it’s “wet t-shirt” night!
- Dollar Store zippered pencil case to store everything for doing laundry while traveling
That’s all it took for me to keep our travel wardrobe looking fresh, clean and fabulously fashionable!
NOW YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT DOING LAUNDRY WHILE TRAVELING
And if you’d like to get the scoop on how to put together a great toiletry bag, I’ve got a great post for you to check out!
Click here to read How to Build the Perfect Toiletry Bag – Plus 2020 Carry-On Rules
DON’T FORGET YOUR TRAVEL LAUNDRY PLANNER & PACKING CHECKLIST!
Doing laundry while traveling can be a daunting task to plan, but with my FREE PDF, you’ll sail through the planning process with ease and speed!
Just download the FREE PDF, print, and you’re in business.
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