My husband and I are taking 14 day BOE tour in September and I am interested in hearing about your experiences/tips for doing laundry. Did any of the hotels offer laundry service or did you do it yourself in the hotel room. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
I took this tour in 2019. People were encouraged to do laundry at the Lauterbrunnen stop. There was a laundromat (I think it was located in a hostel?) across the street from our hotel. We didn’t use it, but I’m assuming it was coin operated. We ended up doing our laundry later on in Munich, at a laundromat. It was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel (the front desk gave us the address). Price was reasonable (coin op) and it worked well-lots of machines. Laundry was also available at the agritourismo we stayed at outside of Florence. It was expensive, about 10-12 euros per load to wash and dry and I think there were just 1 maybe 2 machines. Not a full laundromat.
Hope you enjoy the tour-it was wonderful!
Hi Susan, we didn’t do the 14-day BOE tour, but we were at each of those locations on other RS tours. You will have a wonderful time!
We just washed our clothes in the sink, rolled in a towel & stepped on it or squeezed well, and hung to dry. We usually washed the first evening of each 2-night stop to give it time to dry. Test it out at home to see how quickly your shirts will dry. Some took too long and didn’t get to come along! Doing that method meant we needed to pack four, plus an extra if you have a 1-night stop like Beaune.
It didn’t take long - about 10 minutes for each of us while the other was checking email, etc. we preferred this so we didn’t have to think about laundry during the daytime. I bring the Earth Breeze laundry sheets - looks like a dryer sheet, but it’s a quick-dissolving dry laundry detergent. A sink of some items is about 1/4 sheet, and I keep the sheets in a quart Ziploc bag - almost flat since they hardly take any room, so they aren’t affected by moisture during the trip. I’ve also just used the hotel shampoo occasionally if I really like the scent.
I have found that there are two main groups of people when it comes to laundry. The first states, "I am on vacation. I am not doing laundry in the sink" and cheerfully pays for either a hotel to do it along the way (needs at least a two night stay) or visits a laundromat nearby. The second states, "I am just washing in the sink every night, I am not paying for someone else to do my laundry when I can do it myself." Both groups have valid points and you can simply choose the option that appeals to you.
I tend to do a little bit of both. I will sink wash one or two items in between laundry visits, but I will use the suggested laundry stop on a RS tour or simply use a near by laundromat as needed. I do look up laundromats in advance and that makes it much easier.
….or sometimes we just do it ourselves in the sink at night because we have some favorite fabric items we don’t want to risk being placed in the hotel or laundry dryers. ; )
Susan, my husband almost cried when we had to leave the Lauterbrunnen area, and we went back a few years later and stayed in Wengen for another three nights - gorgeous location! He grew up in Montana and loves the Switzerland scenery. Hope you have clear skies & nice weather!
After numerous tours we have refined our clothes to those that dry quickly making them easy to rinse out and dry by morning (most cotton knit shirts take forever). We have also found that halfway thru most of the tours, we have a hotel that has a service where a fee is charged for one bag of laundry and they bring back your clothes clean and folded. It’s been anywhere from 10 to 15 euros. The tour guide lets you know at the first meeting if the service is going to be available and where. I make sure I take a rubber sink stopper, 2 travel clotheslines (there’s one available in the RS Travel store) and some type of laundry soap. I’ve used everything from a laundry bar soap to a small container of Ivory. Now I’m anxious to try out the sheets someone mentioned.
Per Rick's advice to travel like a local, we've had interesting cultural experiences visiting laundromats in Prague and Edinburgh. Of course, easier to manage during multiple night stays, as opposed to a whirlwind tour schedule.
Thank you all for the great advice. It is greatly appreciated!
We did the BOE a while back and used the public laundry at Lauterbrunnen as suggested by the guide. It was a great idea. Be aware that packing light and doing laundry on the road is a MUST on these tours. Many of the stops will require long walks over cobble stone streets from your tour bus to the hotel. Also, some of the hotels may not have elevators and some have spiral staircases that are very tough to manage with heavy luggage. Use the smallest rolling bag you can get away with. Use a 35L backpack to supplement that. Pack much less than you think you will need. Mix and match your wardrobe so everything goes with everything, and limit the number of shoes and accessories to the absolute minimum. If you will need cold weather gear buy something very thin that handles the cold efficiently. Select a color that matches everything and take just the one. Pack the smallest toiletries you can find and if you run out you can buy more along the way. The strategy is to pack very light for one week and do laundry half way through the tour. No one in Rome cares that you wore the same outfit in Paris, and your tour mates who packed heavy will totally get that after a few stops.
I have found that there are two main groups of people when it comes to laundry. The first states, "I am on vacation. I am not doing laundry in the sink" and cheerfully pays for either a hotel to do it along the way (needs at least a two night stay) or visits a laundromat nearby. The second states, "I am just washing in the sink every night, I am not paying for someone else to do my laundry when I can do it myself."
Third: I have zero interest in taking a couple of hours to locate and visit a launderette. If I have a lapfull of paella, I'm binning those items and replacing them at first opportunity. My travel kit has evolved specifically for ease-of-care. Given the opportunity, I'd gladly pay someone to do my laundry done for me, but it's simply not an onerous task. Heck, I'm in the shower anyway, might as well wash some stuff and it will be likely be dry in the morning.
We took the BOE 14 Trip last fall August into September and did a mix of sink laundry and did use the laundromat as suggested by the tour guide. For us the laundromat was in Munich and then one at the end in Paris as we were staying on in Paris for a few days.
Here are some tips I can provide. Look into laundry soap sheets vs liquid soap, these worked very well and allowed us to avoid the 3 oz liquid TSA rule. Every hotel had a sink large enough to do the laundry in and all had a stopper / drain plug so we did not need the one we brought. Having a cloths line to hang cloths to dry was needed as many of the heated towel racks were not turned on yet. Use the roll up towel method to dry your cloths a bit more before handing.
We would make it a routine to wash laundry each night before we would goto bed, just the clothing that we wore that day so it would be dry by the morning or end of the following day. Look into fabrics that dry quickly. Test washing and line drying your clothing at home before you go to see how fast they will dry.
Bring dryer sheets from home you will NOT find them in Europe they do not use them. They are good for when you do use the laundromat and to keep the smell down from used laundry in your pack as your travel. Pack a extra shopping bag to store dirty laundry separate from your clean cloths.
Laundromats work differently in Europe vs US. In the US (at least years ago) you put coins into the individual washer or dryer, vs Europe you pay via card or coins from a central machine and then select your washer / dryer number on the machine after you pay to start it up. This was a little confusing at first as the instructions were all in another language. Another tip download google translate, you can take a photo of a sign and translate it into English.
For the most part sink washing for us by day to day but we did need to use the laundromat 1/2 way through to really get the cloth clean.
As silly as it sounds trying to figure out the laundromat became a fun adventure that we look back on with fondness. Trying to figure out things in a foreign country, dealing with foreign languages were all part of the adventure. In Rome the mosquitos were brutal and we forgot to pack any repellent. So on day two we wondered into a farmacie and using a mix of English and google translate Italian we managed to no only get anti itch cream but mosquito repellent as well!
Great information - thank you!!