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A few year ago, my family and I took an extended (10-day) vacation.  Since of course we can’t pack enough clothes for 10 days (last time we traveled by plane we had SEVENTEEN pieces of luggage!), we knew we’d have to do laundry on the trip.  With a family of 8, we generate a LOT of laundry – we have 2 washers and 2 dryers at home and typically do about 6 loads of laundry a week.

As we look back on what worked and what didn’t work, I thought I’d share 4 laundry hacks for others who find themselves in the same situation


1. Plan laundry days in advance

We tried to do this, but didn’t do as good of a job as we could.  As you plan out your itinerary, make sure to keep an eye on when you’re going to need laundry, and make sure that you’ll be somewhere you can do it.

For our trip, we packed everyone 3 outfits (plus the one they started out wearing).  So we knew that every 3 days or so, we’d need to make a laundry stop.  The problem that we ran into is that we were changing hotels (and cities!) every day, so you either have to squeeze in laundry early in the day (before checking out), or get to our new hotel in time to do laundry at night (which is hard to do if you’ve got a full day of travel)

2. Make your lodging stays wisely

One of the best laundry hacks is to make sure that at least some of the places that you’re staying have on-site laundry, or easy access to a laundromat.  Really you just need them on your planned laundry days (you DID read hack #1, right?)

When I asked on Twitter, Carrie from Freakin Flyers, a full-time traveler, joked:

In the US at least, most chain hotels will have on-site laundry.  But if you’re staying in other countries, or in boutique hotels, you may not have easy access to laundry

3. Bring your own supplies (and cash!)

Most laundromats (and hotel on-site laundries) will have detergent and fabric softener available for purchase, but you’ll save a ton of money if you bring your own supplies.  We actually forgot to bring ours and ended up buying some at the store instead of paying for it at the laundromat.

When I asked my wife, she suggested it would probably have been better to spend a little more and get some of the capsule-style detergent (like Tide pods), since it would be self-contained and less likely to spill.

And of course, you’ll need cash!  Most hotels will be able to give you quarters for dollars, but fewer will be able to give you quarters on your credit card.

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4. If you have to, prioritize what gets washed

Sometimes, despite all your best efforts, you won’t be able to do laundry as often as you would if you were at home.  In that case, you’ll have to prioritize what gets washed.

Pajamas, jeans or other pants aren’t as important to get washed as say, socks and underwear.  Sure, in an ideal world, you’d wash everything, but when you only have enough cash or enough time to do one load of laundry, you need to prioritize!  If you’re stuck hand washing clothes in your hotel sink with a bar of soap, certain articles of clothing (ahem) are more important to be clean than others!

Hopefully these 4 laundry hacks have helped you – if you have more laundry hacks to share – let us know in the comments!

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