Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - HOW I TRAVEL - CE­LESTE MITCHELL

For all its marvel and won­der, adren­a­line and joy, travel can be a te­dious beast. There are all man­ner of lo­gis­tics to wade through, wait­ing times to kill, and the al­ways-con­stant dilemma of find­ing fresh underwear to put on each day. Six days into a 10-day tour, they were still wait­ing for their suit­cases to show up. The un­for­tu­nate mem­bers of our Col­lette tour group who had flown through Charles de Gaulle, it seemed, were des­tined to see Croa­tia in a sin­gle out­fit.

But it’s not just lug­gage re­stric­tions or losses that cause do­mes­tic-du­ties dread; there comes a point in any ex­tended trip where you have to wash some clothes.

And when you’re on the move with min­i­mal down­time, you’ve got to be savvy to avoid stink­ing shirts or soggy socks.

Rather than bleed the bud­get dry with ex­pen­sive ho­tel laun­dry ser­vices – and run the risk of your clothes not ar­riv­ing back in time when you’re only stay­ing the night – our group be­came ex­perts in the ex­press ho­tel-room wash.

From the roll and stomp to the por­ta­ble steamer, here are some of the tricks you might find handy on your next trip:

Avoid white. Un­less you’re a master of spaghetti and red wine.

Pack a wet/dry bag to keep the funky from the fresh. It also comes in handy if you haven’t had enough time for clothes to dry be­fore your next de­par­ture.

Bring laun­dry soap and wash your clothes in the shower or sink. Or just use the ho­tel soap. A zip-lock of wash­ing pow­der or stain soaker is an­other idea but per­haps best kept to your check-in rather than scanned through se­cu­rity.

If that doesn’t meet your san­i­tary stan­dards, Ama­zon sells por­ta­ble travel wash­ing ma­chines that prom­ise to “pro­duce pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive mo­tors and in­duce chem­i­cal re­ac­tions in hy­dro-elec­tric so­lu­tions”. Or es­sen­tially, you know, wash.

Search for laun­dro­mats close to your ac­com­mo­da­tion if you have time to run a load. De­pend­ing on which coun­try you’re in, a com­plete wash-and-dry ser­vice may be cheaper than DIY. In Mex­ico, my hus­band and I had our weekly wash done for the equiv­a­lent of about $4-$6.

Plot your wash days in ad­vance. Riv­et­ing stuff, I know. But also help­ful when plan­ning out­fits.

Pack net wash bags to pro­tect your del­i­cates if you in­tend to use laun­dro­mats. We all know they’re rougher than a Moroc­can ham­mam.

Speed up the dry­ing process by lay­ing your hand wash­ing on a clean towel, rolling it up and stomp­ing on it be­fore hang­ing.

Make use of heated towel rails or hang your wash­ing in the path of the air­con­di­tion­ing vent if you don’t have a bal­cony. Just re­mem­ber where you hang them – a ho­tel in Slove­nia is one pair of socks richer af­ter my visit.

Pack a clothes hanger or two to hang clothes to dry.

Or do as reader, Gordon Wright, sug­gests and bring suc­tion hooks from home to stick to the shower screen or win­dows for ex­tra dry­ing space.

No iron? Hang your out­fit in the bath­room while you have a hot shower with the door closed and let the steam do its thing.

For more se­ri­ous crin­kles, pack a por­ta­ble steamer and you’ll look as pressed and pol­ished as a first-class fre­quent flyer. Ama­zon sells them for around $20.

The sil­ver lin­ing for my Croa­t­ian tour bud­dies? Their bags were ac­counted for and made it to Split for a re­union on the third-last day. And by then, as one trav­eller realised, “all that choice is a bit over­whelm­ing, re­ally.”

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