Laundry while Traveling: Top Tips for Effortless Washing While on the Go

Laundry while Traveling: Top Tips for Effortless Washing While on the Go

As someone who loves to travel yet is notorious for traveling with just a personal-sized item (a la MB Packing Backpack), I often have to be strategic about the clothes I pack. While I can fit 3-5 days worth of clothes into my backpack in warm weather, I will usually pack more clothes for a longer 2-3 week+ trip.

Instead of packing 3 weeks of clothes into a huge checked back, I will aim for about a week's worth of clothes and then do laundry while traveling. Sounds annoying right? But actually, with a few tips it's pretty easy, you pack less, lug less luggage, and still have plenty of outfit options throughout! 

Whether you're a backpacker, a digital nomad, or a frequent traveler, managing washing clothes while traveling can enhance your travel experience. Here are some expert tips for doing laundry while traveling to make the process hassle-free:

1. Pack Smartly

  • Clothing Choices: Opt for quick-dry, wrinkle-resistant, and moisture-wicking fabrics that are easy to wash and dry.
  • Mix and Match: Pack clothes that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits, reducing the need for frequent changes. I love capsule wardrobes for this! 

2. Consider Handwashing

  • Master the Technique: Learn effective handwashing techniques – soak clothes, gently rub, rinse thoroughly, and wring out excess water. 
  • Be Discrete & Considerate: For example wring clothes well, and not let soaked clothes drip onto the hotel room carpet, etc. If you hang clothes up everywhere add a do not disturb sign so cleaning staff do not have to work around your clothing strewn about. 

3. Utilize Laundry Services

  • Hotels and Hostels: Many accommodations offer laundry services or access to coin-operated machines. Take advantage of these facilities for a quick and efficient wash.
  • Laundromats: Locate nearby laundromats using apps or websites and plan your laundry day accordingly. Asking concierge for options nearby can also help if there are specific steps, like getting local change or if a money card is required. 

4. Embrace Multi-Purpose Items

  • Reusable Laundry Bags: Use a waterproof bag that doubles as a laundry bag to separate dirty clothes from clean ones.
  • Travel Friendly Laundry Products: Pack a small container of travel-sized detergent suitable for handwashing clothes. Keep them in a tightly closed ziplock bag to make sure it doesn't spill. Some options are specifically designed for travel and require minimal water. If you are not too picky or your clothes are not delicate, you can save space and just use hotel shampoo to rise your clothes. 
  • Portable Washing Tools: Some hotels will dissuade guests from doing laundry in the hotel room by removing stoppers. You can bring one of your own. Alternatively, bring a large zip lock bag with you, fill with clothes some soap and water, close it up and shake it around, then drain and rinse. Another option is to invest in portable washing devices like a Scrubba Wash Bag or a travel-sized washboard for efficient cleaning.

5. Dry Clothes Effectively

  • Wring well: Wring and twist water out, then place in towels to squeeze any excess moisture. Hang up to dry above the tub or in the closet.
  • Air-Dry Strategically: Hang clothes to dry in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside if weather/space permits, to speed up the drying process.
  • Use Quick-Dry Fabrics: Take advantage of the quick-drying properties of certain fabrics by wringing them out and laying them flat on a towel to absorb excess moisture.

6. Plan Ahead

  • Timing is Key: Try to schedule laundry days during downtime or when staying at accommodations for an extended period.
  • Prevent Last-Minute Rush: Avoid running out of clean clothes by planning your laundry routine a day or two before it becomes urgent.

7. Practice Caution

  • Check Labels: Always read clothing labels for washing instructions and fabric care to avoid damaging your garments.
  • Test New Methods: Experiment with new laundry techniques at home before your trip to ensure they work effectively for your clothes.

Efficiently doing laundry while traveling doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these tips, you can maintain a fresh wardrobe throughout your journey, ensuring you look and feel your best without worrying about laundry logistics. Embrace these travel-friendly laundry hacks and spend more time enjoying your adventures rather than worrying about clean clothes. Happy travels!


Karin is the co-founder of Arden Cove and co-creator of the Anti-Theft Waterproof Crossbodies - bags created for women who want all the practicality and safety features without compromising in style. Shop

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