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Packing less..

Visited France and Italy this past summer. Like most folks suggested, we packed light.

But between the crowds and the heat we were going through 2-3 pairs of clothing each day!

Hotel laundry service was out of question: $15 per t-shirt etc

So we decided using the local laundry was the best option.

In Paris we used this one - seemed clean and easy to operate. My wife was hesitant of using a laundry but we ran an empty cycle before actually washing our clothes. $6 for 1 large load - wash and dry.

And the best part is that I did the laundry early AM - 7 or so. Got to see a different side of Paris while waiting for the laundry to finish. Back in the hotel at 8:30 and wake up the family!

Just sharing if it helps!

Laverie Automatique
+33 7 54 19 68 03

Posted by
6472 posts

Isn’t it fun to see how a busy location is different during the early hours? My husband likes to get up early and see all of the different types of boats that bring in supplies in Venice. I like to get up early and take photos while the streets are empty and the colors are a more vibrant hue.

I usually take a quick second shower during the late afternoon when it’s hot & sticky air and switch to a different outfit. But, I wear that same one the next evening, so I’m wearing 1.5 outfits per day on the hottest days. (I bring 4.) For me, the synthetic fabrics get the sweatiest, so I pack natural fabrics when possible. I was wishing during this last trip that I would have added another cotton summer dress.

Posted by
595 posts

So your post title was packing less. But your post was all about laundry. So tell us how he packing less worked in other ways. Most people pack less to lighten their load. Did that occur for you? Was it less weight and bulk? How was it moving about with less? What did you start with before packing less, and what did you actually carry?
If you had done your packing less and gone to a country and a season where you were not needing to launder your clothes, how would it have been?

Posted by
11070 posts

I hear you! Packing light we end up doing laundry every 5 days or so just to be sure we have fresh undies when we need them, LOL! I’d rather do laundry often than schlep a ton of clothes in a big suitcase because we use trains all the time and travel long. Major reason to get apartments whenever possible is so we can do laundry even if we dine out.

Almost every town has a laundromat and my experience is they are cleaner and more up-to-date than those in the US.

Posted by
133 posts

@treemoss - my post was ( obviously) about one aspect/ consequence of packing less - laundry.

Most of the questions you have asked have already been addressed in these forums. Laundry - less so. Enjoy!

Posted by
6113 posts

Your title is misleading!

When I go away, I don’t want to be stressing about how to do laundry every few days. I came on holiday yesterday - my checked bag was 21kgs - 46 lbs. Almost a record! We had a couple of kgs of suntan lotion, 2 kgs of Bran Flakes for his breakfast (can’t get them here) and some cheese that was left in my fridge that would have gone mouldy by the time I get back. I hope the bag will be 5kgs lighter going home.

Posted by
1259 posts

I appreciated your content, Steve!

Laundry is an inescapable consequence of carrying fewer clothing items. If laundry is something you simply will NOT do on vacation, packing lightly is just an irritating topic. Me, I step into the shower wearing my laundry. I hang up things up in some moving air and I will have fresh clothing in the morning. If they're not dry, I roll 'em up in the travel towel, put the roll in the dry bag, and I'm off to the next destination.

Dealing with soiled shirts, sweaters, pants, shorts, and dresses is a different matter, sure, but I've never needed a service or launderette; the sink is adequate for my travel fabrics. However, one's desire to remain freshly clothed while suffering sweltering heat & humidity could quickly make the sink impractical and I'd be looking for a nearby launderette. Worse case, say, a spilled bolognese, I'm just replacing clothes.

Early mornings in a new city are the best! Especially if you can find the coffee bar for esprsso and croissant. Be sure to take your camera along on early morning jaunts.

Posted by
133 posts

Thats exactly what I did. Loaded the laundry. Picked up a cappuccino and a croissant and walked around. one of the best part of my vacation!

Posted by
2680 posts

If you had done your packing less and gone to a country and a season where you were not needing to launder your clothes...

The warmer the weather the lighter the suitcase.

Posted by
18942 posts

Almost every town has a laundromat

Somehow, the towns that I've stayed in never got that message!

I discovered Rick Steves in the late 90s, and started traveling to Europe using his travel philosophy in 2000. For the first few years, I tried to keep my packed weight down by using laundromats. After a half dozen trips without finding laundromats in the towns I went to, I broke down, started building a wardrobe of quick drying clothes, and started to sink wash each night. That has worked for me.

Had I been able to stay in Ferienwohnungen, with their own laundry facilities, I might have had more success, but traveling alone, that was not really an option. Or, if I were not so attracted to small towns, I might have found more laundromats in bigger towns.

Posted by
133 posts

After Paris and Nice we took a flight to Venice and then drove into the dolomites. We stayed here:

Bar Pasticceria Hotel Meublé Fiori
+39 0436 890158

Laundry: $20 for a full load dropped off by 10’am. Clothes delivered folded! In was in tears on hearing that :)

Posted by
9203 posts

We’ve had many fun experiences doing laundry all over Europe at laundromats by meeting locals or other travelers and having fun conversations.

Your idea to go get coffee and explore is great too.

Funny story… in Paris, my husband went to do laundry after dinner at the laundromat a half block away. At 10:10 pm he came back to our hotel room with a bag full of wet clothes and exclaimed “When they say they close at 10 pm they mean it!!” Apparently, the electricity shut off at 10 pm, machines stopped, lights went out, and the door locked from the outside - lol. He went back with the wet clothes early the next morning and dried them so all was well but we laughed and laughed about it afterwards.

Posted by
471 posts

My sister and I are generally hotel people but I try to strategically plan an Airbnb stay about the mid-mark of our trips and make sure it has a washer. This is when we do our big loads of laundry. Like many, we tend to take less and less each trip. Last time, we were diligent about handwashing certain bits of laundry (underwear, soxs and favorite garments) on the first night of any lodging stay. Staying on top of it made a big difference. Generally, they are dried before we need them. That gets us through to to the big wash at an apartment. We are continually refining our wardrobes to find items that wash well in a sink and dry quickly. We don't wear jeans and stay away from bulky sweatshirts. Black pants and RipSkirts are the bomb. If you need soxs, buy them as they are usually very cheap.

Posted by
3527 posts

@ Steve, Nice to know that laundromat is still there. In 2011, my family rented an apartment for six weeks at the corner of Rue Danielle Casanova and Rue d'Antin. The apartment claimed to have an all in one washer and dryer but the clothes never actually got dry (lesson learned about all in one washer/dryers). After doing two loads of laundry at the apartment, my husband became a regular at that laundromat. It was quite funny because he is very introverted but after about two weeks and until we left, he would see people who acknowledged him in the neighborhood and every time I would ask him how he knew the person, he'd say he had met them at the laundromat. Hubby does not like to travel with dirty clothes, travels light, and is not a big believer in multiple wears before washing, so doing laundry is something that we do on any trip of more than a week and we have met some great people at the laundromats. I am still in contact with a family that I met in 2017 in a laundromat near Hotel Apollon Montparnasse in the 14th.

Posted by
7898 posts

We too like to see Europe from the side of the locals. Going thru AirBnB or and finding an apartment with a washer/dryer is a reason to pack lighter. We also prefer to do some of our own cooking in an apartment with a kitchen.

We are retired and able to travel when it's not so hot. Even without laundry facilities, we're not about to go through 2-3 changes of clothes a day. We rotate our clothes and end up wearing shirts 3 days while on the trip. Have a pair of jeans heavily starched before you go, and they look fine a week later if not soiled.

Posted by
11070 posts

Jennifer I think there is a big difference in packing when one goes to one location for a trip versus taking trains around a country or countries on a multi-week trip.

When we go somewhere for one week by airplane at Christmas, for example, I have at least as many clothes as on a European trip of 8 weeks and they are heavier, along with three pairs of shoes versus two pairs when I am packing light. In the case of the Christmas trip, we are renting a car or being picked up by a relative so if my bag weighs 20 kilos, no one cares. And I probably still do laundry once, LOL!

On a driving trip in the US I am almost embarrassed by how much we pack in the car for even a few days at the Oregon Coast!

Posted by
842 posts

@Steve, very good post. You packed lightly and had a laundry strategy. I definitely liked the drop off and return to you folded. We always try and find those laundries when traveling. Otherwise sink/shower washing.

Posted by
110 posts

We like to travel in October & the cooler temperatures keep us from having sweaty / smelly clothes - airing out shirts is enough

Other laundry is done in the bathroom sink

Husband did do laundry on a summer trip to Alaska when the kids & I used a 3 person kayak on Prince William Sound

Posted by
7840 posts

I just want to mention that I have had some great interactions with locals at laundromats on vacation. It can be a positive side effect.

Otherwise, the obsession with commenting on the packing or laundry habits of others that occurs here on the forum never ceases to amaze me. Here is my criteria: each person should be able to deal with their own luggage when making transitions on public transport. Beyond that, does it really matter?