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Travel Towels

Does anyone pack along the Rick Steve’s travel wash cloths and towels? If so, what size worked best?

Posted by
315 posts

Lodging generally does not have wash clothes. Take a wash cloth if you are a user of such.

Posted by
1192 posts

Where are you going that you might need a towel? A hostel? All hotels and b&bs in Europe in which I've stayed have provided at least one towel per person. However, as noted above, many/most will NOT provide a washcloth, thus I always pack my own washcloth from home, rolled up in a ziplock. I've made a habit, finally, of purchasing a cheap pack of 3-4 washcloths from Walmart (or some such) and packing one for each week I'm in Europe. After a week's use, each one gets left behind.

Posted by
139 posts

The smaller RS travel towel (40x20”) has gone with me on every trip for 10 years. It’s my cordless hair dryer—use it to wrap my wet hair. I can use it to roll wet laundry, or use as a backup towel if needed. Like the snap loop, so it can hang from the shower rod. The bright color means it’s not confused with hotel towels. Dries fast!

Posted by
10323 posts

Wash cloths seem to be a US custom so take one if you must have one plus a baggie to transport the wet cloth as you travel. US chain hotels will have them,
Adding a towel seems like overkill if you travel light like I do.

Posted by
6445 posts

We purchased the quick-dry RS towel for our first RS trip many years ago. We never needed it so never packed it again. But if you’re staying in hostels, it would be useful.

I don’t pack a washcloth- just use Oil of Olay dry cloth makeup remover disposable cloth for my face.

Posted by
78 posts

It's not a RS travel towel, but I travel with a micro-fiber travel towel that I use for beaches if I'm not staying somewhere where I have access to a beach towel. As others said, also good if you are staying at hostels to avoid the towel fee.

I'd leave it at home if my trip didn't involve either beaches and/or hostels.

Posted by
2692 posts

Adds weight, pretty much useless. If by chance you wind up on a beach without a towel, believe me, you can buy one cheaply. I never understood why travel towels are promoted. As for washcloths-take one from home that is on it’s last legs, rinse it out, put it in a sealable plastic bag, throw it away before you leave. Or, better yet, learn how to do without a washcloth. It’s liberating!

Posted by
309 posts

I take a microfiber towel in my personal item on the plane. I use it instead of the questionably (un)clean airline blanket. Also use as mentioned in above posts. So it passes the "will I use it three or more times" test to get included in my light packing.

Posted by
7046 posts

No, in all my travels I've never found the need for extra towels or a wash cloth. Whatever the hotel/ apartment/ B & B has available works fine for me.

Posted by
135 posts

I bought the Rick Steve’s KING SIZE MICRONET TRAVEL TOWEL. It was way too big to want to tote along on a trip, but I cut it into two smaller towels and two wash cloths. The wash cloths are superb. And I take a towel along to wring the excess water out of my hand laundry. The towel dries nicely overnight.

Posted by
292 posts

I have a microfiber towel that occasionally goes along for backcountry / backpacking. For travel, I prefer a Turkish towel if I'm going to take one, and then only if I think I'll truly need it. For me, need would be staying somewhere with no towels, knowing I'm going to a beach, or potentially if I'll be gone over a month and want the flexibility to dry laundry, have a "blanket," etc. They do say that a towel is the most important item a Hitchhiker can carry!

Posted by
1259 posts

What I learned while bicycle touring: Viscose is the best material to have in travel towel; you only need a travel towel that is large enough to help you wring out your largest time of clothing if it is folded; one of the best uses for this small towel is to squeegee yourself off after a shower—the viscose wrings out nearly completely and this will keep your big towels from getting soaked. The towel I carry (habit) is about 12” x 24”. I rarely use it but when I needed it for a bit of emergency laundry duty, it performed as expected.

Posted by
363 posts

When I travel with my two friends, we book rooms with three twin beds. I have fairly long, thick hair and I need a dedicated towel for my hair. Since the hotels (usually smaller hotels) only give us one towel each, I pack a travel size towel. It was purchased at a local store, similar to REI, and is marketed for camping. It comes with its own pouch and really doesn't take up too much space. I don't use a washcloth and instead use a small bath pouf (Dollar Tree sells packs of 4 small poufs for $1). To remove makeup, I use a disposable makeup remover cloth.

Posted by
2766 posts

An extra towel is great for heavy towel users. I need 2 towels per shower (one for my hair, this towel gets soaked and doesn't dry easily, one normal one). Plus one for squishing any sink laundry. Many hotels provide enough towels. Some don't - they all (in my experience) provide some towels, but not always enough or decent ones.

Also, if you go to the beach, you will want a towel, and nowhere except beach-resort type places provides beach towels.

I have the sea to summit brand towel, the largest size. It's thin and absorbent, and can also work as a blanket on the plane.

Posted by
1071 posts

I have the Super King size RS microfiber towel and take it on every tour. I use it mostly for rolling up clothes that I hand washed and stepping on them to wring out as much water as possible. (If you use the towels provided at the hotel then they are often wet still in the morning when I take a shower) I have also used it for a blanket on the train and for a picinic cloth to lay on the ground. Lastly, I have rolled it up and used it as a pillow at various times. I also take one of the RS microfiber wash clothes with me because they just don't exist in Europe.

Posted by
1221 posts

I've got a small microfiber towel in my handbag because I'm clumsy and prone to spilling things and there isn't always a nice stash of napkins nearby if I accidentally dump a soda.

Posted by
2916 posts

We mostly rent houses by the week in France, and they generally either include towels or have an option to rent towels. But one place didn't, but rather than bringing towels, we just bought some at a department store.

Posted by
5547 posts

Where are you going that you might need a towel?

I never understood why travel towels are promoted.

No, in all my travels I've never found the need for extra towels or a wash cloth.

To the people that can't see the need to bring a towel:

A towel, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

-Douglas Adams

Posted by
109 posts

ROTFL, Badger :) I had forgotten about that passage--one of my favorites as a teen, and even more relevant since I became a world traveler! (German airplane boarding "queues" most definitely require a bit o' hand-to-hand combat now and then...)

Posted by
7 posts

I always take my Rick Steves travel washcloth. In my travels in the US, I have found the washcloths in hotels to be too rough on my skin. The travel washcloth also dries quickly overnight. I never travel without it. :)

Posted by
174 posts

We pack very lightly, but my small REI microfiber towel always makes the cut. I use the towel to squeeze dry my hair when I travel. I have wavy/curly hair that frizzes at the drop of a hat and also takes FOREVER to air dry. Using the microfiber towel to blot my hair seems to create way less frizz than using a regular towel. That way, I also don't need to deal with a hair dryer. The towel fits easily in an outer pocket of my suitcase. In past travels, my husband and I have also used a medium-sized microfiber towel to wrap sink washed laundry before hanging. It helped the laundry to dry a lot quicker, without using limited hotel towels.

Posted by
12154 posts

I pack a synthetic chamois. It's great for wringing laundry and makes a good travel towel when needed. Much cheaper, and I think better, than what you would buy as a "travel towel".

For a washcloth, I've gone to a travel/small size puff (not sure what they're called?). I decided I didn't like transporting wet bars of soap (or wet washcloths) so I now pack a 3 oz. travel size body wash. If I run out, I buy something in a grocery store to use for the trip. I put the puff in a sandwich size zip lock bag after letting it air dry as long as I can. When you squeeze the air out of the bag, it takes up zero space or weight in your luggage.

Posted by
141 posts

Thanks Badger for the laugh... that was my first thought as well!

When I traveled much more frugally, one was occasionally necessary. I recall desperately attempting to dry off with one of my shirts on one trip, and afterwards kept one of those tiny compressed camping towels in my bag just in case. I later got an ultralight pack towel, which is useful for relaxing on a beach or in a park, and as a blanket on the plane. Thankfully, it has never been needed for hand to hand combat. 😂