Anyone who’s ever backpacked their way across a country or a continent always talks about the joys of traveling—the sense of adventure, the people they meet, and the cultures they’re exposed to among plenty of other stories. Then, they pair these stories with travel pictures where they look good from head to toe, as if they have access to a full glam team.
What they might not be telling you is the hard work behind the scenes. Backpacking requires you to pack only as much as you can fit in a backpack since carrying a suitcase isn’t advisable for a rigorous cross-country itinerary. And if you’re not staying in one place for longer than a few days, this means you’d have to learn how to wash your clothes in between all the country-hopping you’re doing. After all, the clothes you wear are one of the secrets to amazing travel photos.
Below, we’ll let you in on a few tricks to doing laundry while traveling.
1. Take advantage of your accommodation’s services
Backpackers usually stay at hostels so they can save on exorbitant hotel costs. Fortunately, you don’t need to check into a full-service hotel to get washer and dryer services. Most hostels in Europe, for example, have a washer and dryer. If you’re staying somewhere there isn’t a place to do laundry, the staff most likely has information about the nearest laundromat, so all you have to do is ask.
Of course, if you’re staying at an Airbnb, the place is more likely to have its own laundry room. Make sure to add it to your search filters before booking.
2. Use the accommodation’s tub or sink
If you’re traveling to an area that is not a usual tourist spot, convenient services such as laundromats may not be available. If your hostel or Airbnb also doesn’t have laundry services, you can DIY washing your clothes.
Your room’s sink or tub can be your water basin, allowing you to hand wash your smaller dirty items of clothing. Depending on your hostel’s or Airbnb’s supplier, your place may have a bathroom or kitchen sink that has a built-in stopper. If not, remember to bring your own sink stopper. Then fill the sink or tub with water, add some laundry soap, then wash and rinse your clothes. Hang them up to dry on your balcony, inside the bathroom, or somewhere water drips won’t ruin.
3. Use natural water resources when camping
If you’re camping, hiking, or staying in the wilderness one way or another, you might be able to use natural water sources to wash your clothes. Just make sure doing so is allowed and that you use environmentally-friendly laundry products.
4. Always carry your laundry essentials
Finally, even before you leave for your trip, make sure to bring a laundry bag that has all your laundry essentials. It’s like your toiletry bag, but for washing clothes. Include the following items:
- Sink stopper
- Portable clothesline
- Travel-sized laundry detergent
- Dryer sheets
- Travel laundry bag
With these items—which will only take a small space in your backpack—you can do laundry anywhere as long as their are water and a tub or sink. And when you have fresh, clean clothes, you can feel confident taking amazing pictures at every place you visit.