A travel laundry kit is an optional item that is worthwhile bringing if you carry a large travel pack and you’re traveling on a bare-bones budget. Sure, it’s not exactly an essential item to bring, but it does provide utility for those people who can afford the space. You will find that in most cases the guesthouses, hotels, and hostels you stay at while traveling provide a cheap laundry service. However, doing your own laundry allows you to hand-wash any delicate clothing items that a careless stranger may damage. You will also find that many hostel laundry services can be unreliable, and often mix up or lose small items like socks and underwear.
Travel clotheslines are lifesavers
Even if you don’t plan on washing your own clothes, it’s useful to bring clotheslines on your travels. Sometimes you’ll have a wet bathing suit or a damp towel that you want to dry. Other times, you’ll be caught in a torrential monsoon from hell and will want to dry your rain-soaked clothes, but there are not always suitable places in your accommodation to hang your items. Having a lightweight, strong, and compact clothesline is the perfect tool to take care of this problem. I recommend using the Flexoline because it is small and strong, and its braided rubber tubing allows you to hang clothes without using clothes pins. Brilliant!
Be tactful with your washing habits
If you do plan on hand-washing your own clothes, you’re probably going to do it in your accommodation’s sink. Just be aware that many hostels or hotels are against this practice because it undercuts the laundry service that they provide. If you are going to wash your clothes, be strategic by only washing a few things at a time (as opposed to cleaning a gigantic batch). Also, make sure you wring the clothes well afterward to avoid creating a drippy mess when you hang them to dry. If the sink is in a public restroom (i.e. in plain view) or if it’s not especially clean, you might be better off using a private laundry service on that occasion. Just because you have an amazing, squeaky clean travel laundry kit doesn’t mean that you have to use it all the time.
Stop sinks and wash clothes like a boss
So the coast is clear and you’ve got a squeaky clean sink to work with – that means you can start washing clothes like a squeaky clean champ. However, you cannot count on there being a reliable plug in your accommodation’s sink. This is why it’s a good idea to bring a sink stopper. This little rubber tool can stop a sink drain of pretty much any size. There’s a pretty good one called “Flexible Sink Stopper” available on magellans.com, but I think any brand will do well. As far as detergent is concerned, I would recommend bringing Travelon’s compact Laundry Soap Sheet packs. Each pack is very small (2¾ x 1¾ x ¼”) and holds 25 biodegradable soap sheets. One pack is probably enough to hold you over for 2 months or more of travel, and this can actually save you significant money if you’re working on a tight budget.