This doesn’t sound like much fun. It’s not. But we all know kids get filthy and washing clothes is really the only way to adhere to the packing advice to end all packing advice: Travel light.
If you’re going for a week, you only need clothes for 3-4 days then wash them. If you’re going for longer you might need a few more things but still aim to wash after about 4 days. So consider the following:
Washing clothes you have the following options:
Laundry service – this is where you leave your clothes in a bag provided by the hotel and they wash, dry, iron and fold it for you then return it. I think this is only for business people and the stinking rich because I have seen the price lists and it’s about $6 for a pair of socks, and upwards from there.
Laundro-mat/coin laundry – This is where you take your own clothes and stick a couple of coins in an industrial size washing machine then transfer them into a dryer for another couple of coins. Some hotels have these, cruise ships have them, or sometimes you will have to walk to them.
If you are in an Air BnB property or an apartment you will probably have access to a washing machine.
Handwashing. Personally I never feel like clothes are washed properly unless they’ve been through the machine, but hand washing is perfectly acceptable if you want to do it!
Google is a wonderful thing. Research your washing options. Print a map of how to get to the coin laundry from your accommodation. Is it walking distance? Is it walking distance with your kids and a sack of laundry?
Do they sell washing powder there? I think it’s worth taking your own in case they have run out, it doesn’t take up a lot of space in a few ziplock bags. What coins does it take? Is there somewhere to hang your washing or can you use a dryer? Make sure you don’t have anything that needs to be handwashed, washed on a special cycle, dried a special way or ironed. Make it easy for yourself. I always take a travel washing line. They take up virtually no room and are invaluable when you have any type of wet clothes and no access to a balcony or anywhere to hang wet clothes.
I also travel with a bar of laundry soap. Once on a trip to Vegas the baby threw up, then the toddler threw up, then basically everyone else threw up. A lot. I was stuck in an eighth storey hotel room with no balcony and only the “laundry service”, with every piece of clothing we had covered in vomit. My sister arrived with a fresh mind, filled up the bathtub with hot water and scrubbed all the clothes with the bar of laundry soap then strung them up on the shower curtain rail. That saved my sanity. It is also good for scrubbing out stains if you are stain phobic like myself.