It happens every vacation. You’re sunning yourself on the beach, enjoying cocktails at an upscale club in the center of town, or trekking through natural beauty when the realization dawns on you: You’re on your last pair of underwear. You need to do laundry soon.
Admittedly, doing laundry while traveling is generally a minor annoyance. But it’s an annoyance nonetheless, one that detracts from an otherwise relaxing trip. You have to sit for hours at a stuffy laundromat or pay through the teeth for hotel laundry services. Who wants that when there’s so much to see, so many better ways to spend your money?
In this article, let’s explore a few tips for how to avoid doing laundry when you travel. Barring some unforeseen disaster (a spilt mimosa or mud splash), you should be able to make it through your next vacation without ever stepping foot in a laundromat. Here’s how!
Pack Those Trusty Denim Jeans
Denim jeans are notoriously rugged, tracing their history back to the “wild west” days of the late 1800s when cattle drivers needed a dependable garment they could wear for days out in the field.
According to Levi’s itself, you only need to wash jeans every few weeks. They are resistant to odor and don’t easily show dirt. That said, they make the perfect pant for traveling since you really only need one or two pairs – and you don’t have to worry about cleaning.
Wear a Merino Wool Base Layer
Merino wool is perhaps the most versatile material out there. It’s breathable and sweat-wicking, keeping you clean and fresh on hot days. It also has insulating properties to keep you warm when the temperature drops.
Best of all, merino wool is antibacterial. Since body odor is mainly comprised of dead bacteria (apologies for the gross image), antibacterial fabrics resist smells. Some travelers report wearing their merino wool clothing for weeks without any noticeable odor or decline in comfort. You can read more about it in this ultimate guide to merino wool.
Leave Whites Behind
White clothing certainly has its time and place, but perhaps reconsider your white garments when you travel. Especially if you plan on partaking in messy outdoor activities like hikes, it’s wise to stick with darker clothing that won’t show trace amounts of dirt or sweat.
If you need to bring white clothing, bring sweat-wicking merino wool (see above), which you can easily hand wash.
Pack a Stain Remover for Touch-Ups
Small stains happen. What’s a trip to Italy without a small splash of tomato sauce on your pants? What’s a trip to France without a spot of red wine on your favorite shirt?
If you want to attack a small stain without doing a whole load of laundry, pack a stain remover pen. It takes up very little space in a toiletry bag.
It’s that simple. With a few wise clothing choices (merino wool clothing and denim jeans), a dark color palette, and a lifesaving stain remover stick, you can spare yourself the effort of doing laundry abroad. Just remember: if you’re bringing young kids, pack the sippy cup!