Five travel laundry hacks for families - Paris apartment washing machine

Five Travel Laundry Hacks for Families

Traveling as a family is not to be taken lightly–at least not where the amount of dirty laundry generated in a week may be concerned. Here are some travel laundry hacks to help ease the burden on your family’s next adventure.

1. Bring at least 1 quick-dry outfit for each family member.

Whether you’re sink laundering on the fly or stationed in a vacation rental apartment in France, chances are—even with a washing machine included—you won’t have a clothes dryer at your disposal. Save time, save energy, and save yourself from the fury of laundry that will not dry in high humidity or monsoon season, and pack at least one quick-dry outfit for each member in the family. Better yet? Have them wear the quick-dry outfits during travel—much easier to handle spills and other accidents in transit (remember, restroom hand dryers are a mom’s best friend). One quick-dry item we’ve found especially helpful for travel are the Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants for kids.

2. Bring a (portable) washing machine!

Scrubba, the portable washing machine with a built-in washboard.
Scrubba, the portable washing machine with a built-in washboard.

“Scrubba” looks like the happy green dry bag you might take out on the kayak—and you can use it for that, too. But inside, it has secret scrubbing “nodules” that work as a modern-day washboard, making tidy work of a soapy sloshing of up to two adult-size T-shirts, two pair of socks, and two undies at one time. Of course, it has definite appeal for the backpacker, but Scrubba’s practicality extends over to car campers, cruise ship cabins, hotel rooms—and practically any travel situation involving kids. Click here to read more about the new Scrubba, including customer reviews (and thanks for helping to support this site with your click-through!).

3. Roll and squeeze wet laundry in a towel.

You can wring and squeeze your wet laundry till the guards break a smile at Buckingham Palace, but taking the extra step of rolling it up in a towel and squeezing will still get out extra moisture and allow for a faster drying time. Sure, you may end up with a soggy towel or two, but if you’re staying in a hotel, that can quickly be replaced by housekeeping—for no additional fee.

4. Find the local wash ‘n fold.

Hotel laundry fees are exorbitant (and only by the item!), and chances are you don’t want to spend precious vacation time hanging out in a laundromat. Look up the local wash ‘n fold drop-off laundry service instead. If you’re not familiar with wash ‘n fold (AKA fluff and fold) laundry services, you drop off your laundry much like at a dry cleaner, but usually pay by the pound rather than by the garment. Also, same-day service is fairly common, making it all the more vacation friendly (especially if you are short on alternative togs).

5. Consolidate everyone’s dirty laundry into one suitcase at the end of the trip.

With any luck you’ll still have some clean clothes at the end of your trip—or at least some clothes that are not in need of immediate washing upon return home. Separate all of the family’s togs that need immediate attention into one suitcase for your return trip. Starting that first load of laundry upon your return will be much easier when you can schlep said suitcase straight to washing machine and don’t have to sift through everyone’s assorted skivvies as crumpled in assorted suitcases.

Do you have a laundry travel hack to share? Post below!

More Family Travel Tips You Might Like:

How to Pack One Checked Bag for 3 Kids (Without Losing Your Mind)

Ten DEET-Free Ways to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

Seven Ways to Ease “Re-Entry” After Your Next Family Vacation

More Family Travel Gadgets and Gear Recommendations:

Screen-Free, Battery-Free Travel Games & Toys for Kids

Tips for Buying Sunglasses for Kids

Anatomy of a Great Travel Hat for Kids

Review of the Lumix DMC-TS25 Waterproof Digital Camera

Take Two: A Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants Review

This Mom’s Picks: Three Great Gifts for Traveling Moms

Traveling with a baby or toddler?

Get all the tips and advice you need at our sister site TravelswithBaby.com!

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Shelly Rivoli

Founder, Editor, & Chief Adventure Officer at Family Travel 411 and Travels with Baby
Shelly Rivoli is the award-winning author behind the Travels with Baby guidebooks and Travels with Baby website and blog, and is the founding editor of Family Travel 411. When she isn't traveling with her husband and three children, she hangs her hat in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter: @travelswithbaby and Facebook: Shelly Rivoli.
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