Doing Laundry in Europe
Slim down your suitcase and packing list!
Doing laundry abroad is easier than you might think. Plus, think of all the room you'll save in your luggage to bring home souvenirs, great cultural finds, and even that much-loved bottle of wine.
The budget approach
If you only need to wash one or two items, washing them by hand in your hotel room is no problem. In a pinch, you can stopper your hotel sink and use shampoo.
For budget conscious travelers that want a machine-like clean, consider packing a large waterproof dry bag and a couple of single serving laundry detergent packets. Fill the dry bag with water, channel your inner washing machine and agitate your clothes with your hand for 3-5 minutes. Empty the bag in sink or bathtub, rinse and wring out your clothes before hanging them in the bathroom (out of courtesy for your hotel don’t drape wet clothes on furniture in your room).
Consider this approach if you have a two night stay, to ensure your clothes are completely dry before you pack them. If you have a room-share with someone, ask them if it’s okay if you do some washing in the room. It’s also a good idea to see how well your clothes will handle hand-washing and air-drying before your trip, as some fabrics are more wrinkle resistant than others.
Find a dry cleaner
On the tours we offer, your hotel will be centrally situated, which means you will usually be able to find a dry cleaner nearby. Just ask your Travel Director or hotel concierge for directions to the nearest one. Before dropping anything off, ensure that the dry cleaner offers express (preferably same day) service so that your clothes are ready before your motorcoach is set to depart to the next city.
The advantages of this approach are numerous. Your clothes will get cleaner, the cost is usually comparable to what you’d pay for dry cleaning in the U.S. and your clothes will come back pressed.
Let your hotel do it
The most expensive option is naturally the most convenient. Just let the hotel staff know, and someone will pick up your clothes and return them to you pressed and cleaned. Hotels often charge by article of clothing so consider only getting what you absolutely need washed. For most people, the expense is more than justified by the convenience factor and it ensures you get the maximum amount of time to enjoy your destination.
Laundromats abound in Europe; however it can cost $10-$15 to do a load and eats up time better spent exploring. A laundromat is probably best utilized by people traveling for a month or more, as it allows you to do several loads of laundry at once at a lower price than at a dry cleaner, and it is much easier than trying to hand wash several loads in your room.