Tips and Options for Washing Clothes on Holidays …

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Even when your miles from home, how you’re going to wash your clothes is one of those practical tasks that you can’t escape when you go on holidays. Holidays are for sightseeing, adventure and fun and I’m sure some people will consider washing clothes a complete waste of time and that’s okay … I totally get it. However, even if you’re not a messy person, sooner or later you’re going to at least need some fresh underwear and socks and, if you’re travelling with kids who can get very dirty with spills and stains as well as sweaty from running around, washing won’t be optional, it will be mandatory!


It’s all in the planning and here are a couple of things to consider when packing for your trip:


  • Pack some dark clothes … at least then if you spill something, you can just sponge it off and any marks or stains won’t be so obvious.


  • Pack light-weight items that can be layered … that way you’ll stay warm without carrying bulky items and you can hide items you’ve worn several times under a clean, fresh layer.


  • Pack wrinkle-resistant clothes … you don’t want to spend too much time ironing.


  • Pack clothing that can be recycled and worn more than once … things like jeans, pants and jumpers can usually be worn many times without the need to be washed.


  • Pack low-maintenance clothing … items made from linen, silk or delicate fabrics and lighter-coloured clothes generally need more care when washing, so leave those items at home.


If you think you will need to do some washing, here are some tips and options that will potentially be available:


Option 1:


Choose accommodation like a unit or apartment that includes a laundry … problem solved.


Option 2:


Choose a hotel that has shared, self-serve laundry facilities. My big tip here is don’t just rely on what the brochure or the travel agent tells you. Send a quick email to the hotel and ask a few quick questions:


Do they have a washing machine and, if so, how many?

Do they have a dryer and, if so, how many?

What is the hours of operation?

How much will it cost to use the washer and dryer?

Is there a change machine available?

Is washing powder available to purchase and, if so, what quantity and how much?

Is dry-cleaning available and can they supply a price list?


Option 3:


Try to find a laundromat within walking distance of your accommodation. Either email the hotel you’re staying at or jump on google and start searching. We recently went on a cruise and before leaving I had already found out that the cruise only had dry cleaning available with no self-serve laundry for passengers. I jumped on google and discovered exactly where we would arrive at each port and then made a list of laundromats and their addresses before we left home making sure that they were all easy to find and not too far from the port. Some laundromats will be staffed and can offer change while others will have change machines but my tip would be to take heaps of change with you. Laundromats are a quick option because the equipment is commercial standard and will generally wash and dry your clothes mush faster than the equipment you have at home. On our recent cruise I went to the laundromat in each port and a full cycle load of washing took on average only about 20 minutes and the dryer took about the same time … less than an hour and definitely worth it to have fresh clean clothes. Some Laundromats will also do your washing, folding and ironing for a fee … simply drop off your clothes and pick them up when they are ready.



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Option 4:


Use a dry cleaning service. If you’re travelling for business, or need clothing for a special occasion, you may be prepared to pay for those garments to be professionally cleaned while still hand washing other items yourself. Generally speaking, dry cleaning services offered by hotels will be very expensive.


Option 5:


Take some washing powder or laundry soap with you and wash out things like underwear, socks and some lightweight shirts or t-shirts in the bathroom sink. Invest in a travel clothes line … I never leave home without one. Some will come with pegs attached and others will simply be a double stretched twisted cord, which allows you to separate the two cords and squeeze your clothes between (eliminating the need for pegs). Travel clothes lines aren’t expensive and will take up very little room in your luggage. Before hand washing anything, set up your clothes line so you know you have somewhere to hang everything. Also, take into account the weather conditions to make sure your washing will dry in a reasonable amount of time so you don’t end up packing damp or wet clothing. One sneaky tip … if you forget your washing powder and can’t buy some, shampoo works as a great substitute.


So tell me, do you wash while on holidays or do you simply wait until you get home? Do you have any other tips that you would like to share?





  1. Yes, washing your clothes is always an issue when traveling. We’re heading away to Vanuatu in a couple of days and I’m wondering just where we might find somewhere to do our washing. Probably in the local river! I’m planning on everyone packing a lot of old threads that once thrashed, can just be thrown away xx

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