Staying clean while travelling
There are many ways to travel stylishly, and there are of course many different styles of travel as well. But one rule will always stay true to travelling stylishly – wearing clean clothes.
Packing for a trip can be hard, and especially so if you have underpacked by accident essentials like underwear. I do not btw, subscribe to the notion of wearing a pair four times before wash (front, back, inside front, inside back). So, there are few options to take care of this if you need to.
Get your suds on
I typically bring a bit of laundry detergent with me when I think I may be travelling for a while or may need to do a wash. Personally I tend to bring the Dylon Travel Wash since it’s <100 ml, is quite gentle and comes in a pretty easy package.
If you want to save space and don’t think you would be doing that much wash though, you could opt for individual laundry sheets. The only caveat here is that you must take it out with dry hands. Otherwise they will stick together, and disintegrate under your finger. You may think it’s obvious, but trust me, when you already have your clothes in the sink and you’ve turned on the tap, you may only then remember that “crap, I forgot to take the detergent out’”.
Rub a dub dub
So you have the soap, but where and how should you wash it? What is common to most travellers is to wash your clothes in the hostel sink. Most people would recommend bringing a sink stopper with you. Which makes sense. Because as I have found in some situations, the fact that you washed your clothes only to have it drain and get stuck in the sinkhole makes you question how “clean” your clothes are.
And for those who do have those concerns, there is actually a new product out in the market called The Scrubba Wash Bag. You can think of it as a portable old fashioned washing board. All you have to do is fill it up with water and your detergent (and dirty clothes) and with the ridges it already has inside, you just have to swirl and knead it around to clean it (like a mini washing machine). And be rest assured that it’s clean since you’ll only fill it up with your own clothes. (I’m dying to test this out)
Hanging on a line
Now that your clothes are clean, it’ a question of how do you dry them. Sitting at home with your laptop in front of you you may think it’ intuitive to just hang your wet clothes out to dry. But the truth is not many hostels have extra places to hang your clothes. It’ll be even worse if you don’t have inflatable hangers to better utilize things like doorknobs.
Instead, what you can do, is make sure you bring travel drying lines with you. You could of course just bring a long bungee cord or string with you if you want to save some money, but I would recommend the specialized travel drying lines because as you can see in the pictures, two cords are intertwined to form the line. As a result of this at every part where the two cords intersect, you can pull it apart a little to stuff your clothes through, acting like clothes pegs. And making sure your clothes stay put even in strong wind. Also, it gives you a lot of space to dry your clothes if you plan it out exactly e.g. you can just hang one corner and let it drip drop dry.
So where can you get all of these items I speak about? To be honest, I found every single one of these in little airport shops. If you are in the Singapore or Malaysian airports, just walk around inside the pharmacies or bookshops. They typically have a very small section or just a stand dedicated to travel gear. I found all of the above in those little sections)
Get someone else to do it
Of course, if you’re travelling around Asia and don’t feel like washing the heavy duty stuff (i.e. jeans, khakis, shirts) you can always opt to send your clothes to the laundry. Charges are relatively cheap and go by the kg. When I was in Koh Phangan, a kilo of laundry was only about THB 100/ ~USD 4.
If you’re travelling westwards, I would say you could typically find Laundromats for you to do your wash. Bring a book and enjoy, or in some locations like Amsterdam, they’ve combined doing your laundry with a nice café as well so you can really relax and enjoy. You never know, maybe you’ll find yourself making excuses to do more laundry!
(Can you believe this is a Laundromat? – Wash&Coffee Amsterdam)