How to Do Laundry While Traveling
Packing lightly requires knowing how to clean clothes along the journey. No matter how many days I travel I still take the same three pieces … a carry-on size luggage (which I always check. Why should I wheel through the huge airports?), my CPAP machine and a tote bag with my on-airplane needs– especially my noise canceling headset and a book. My purse is small and does not count.
So I have learned to pack, wash or have cleaned.
While you don’t want to increase the weight of your luggage too much, it doesn’t hurt to include at least a small, travel-sized packet of detergent before you go, or a reusable bar of laundry soap. A few other items that may be necessary include: a light, but durable clothesline, sink stopper, mesh laundry bag.
If you’ve just checked in and are planning on staying for three days, hand-wash your clothes on the first day so that they have time to dry. Clean the sink with soap first. Be conservative with the detergent – you don’t need a lot for big bubbles! .Only fill up the sink halfway, or less. You need room for your clothes. Let your clothes soak for a few minutes. Knead your clothes with your hands while still in the water. Unplug the sink and rinse off the soap. Squeeze vigorously, and hang to dry. Don’t wring – doing so will stretch the fabric! Use a towel to get rid of excess water. If placing on a rack or hanger somewhere to dry, place a towel underneath to catch drips. All may sound obvious but not often heeded.
If you’re really not into hand-washing your clothes in the sink, check your accommodations beforehand for laundry services or laundromats. Plot potential places on a map. You might even find it’s a great place to mingle with the locals, or just people watch!
But then I usually allow several extra dollars to have my clothes washed. When I am staying two nights or more at a hotel/resort I give them my dirty clothes soon after I check in. And I will be ready for the next place!
Edited from Candice Walsh July 20, 2012