Traveling for several weeks at a time can lead to crossing over not just different time zones but also different climates as well. winter time in Japan is summer in Australia and we all know if you are going to one, you are usually going to the other. Just touring the U.S. alone will bring you through many different climates and weather conditions. The same goes for traveling through the UK and Europe. This can make a six-week run difficult to pack for efficiently- even for the most seasoned of us.
Packing what you need and enough of it can be a challenge when trying to keep your luggage weight down. In order to avoid overweight baggage fees, there are several ways to have what you need and not cart around unnecessary weight. Pack clothes that layer and enough socks and underwear for two weeks. Generally a laundry day will be possible within that cycle of time but you can’t always count on that!
Sometimes laundry day cannot come soon enough and carrying around a lot of dirty laundry will add unnescesary weight to your luggage; the dirt and oils from our skin and sweat make the clothes heavier. A good way to lighten your over all pack is to be prepared to do laundry by hand. This will reduce the amount of items you will need to pack and keep you from the unpleasant situation of running out of the necessities: i.e. socks underwear and t-shirts.
A few things to keep in mind- cotton garments can take longer to dry then “wicking” fabrics. Many brands now offer performance lines of shirts underwear and socks that are quick drying. These garments are usually made from polyester, a polyester blend or cool max fabric. Carrying a few days worth of these can be your go to when you’re in a pinch.
You can save some time when hand washing your clothes- socks and underwear can be washed in the shower with you. Put them on the floor of the shower while you wash. Shampoo is a mild detergent, which will work on washable fabrics. You can also use conditioner as a fabric softener- if you like that sort of thing. They have a similar effect on fabrics as your hair. For best results wash similar items together: socks with socks, underwear with underwear etc. Try to separate colors and whites to avoid colors bleeding into your white clothing.
When washing clothes in the sink you’ll need to plug the drain with something. Hopefully there is a stopper… if not, putting a plastic bag (like the ones you put your liquids in when you fly) flat over the sink drain will work. As water goes down the drain it will create suction against the thin plastic and block the drain. You can also carry a universal sink stopper if you like; flat silicon sink stoppers are thin, light and readily available at many stores.
1.)Fill the sink with warm to the touch water.
→Around 85 degrees is supposed to be the best temperature.
2.)Add dirty clothes and either soap, shampoo or detergent.
3.)Cycle it around whirlpool style and then rub the soap into the clothes.
4.)Let the clothes soak for at least 5 minutes after the whirlpool.
→Longer if they are really dirty.
5.)Drain the soapy water and squeeze out as much soap as you can.
→Don’t wring or twist, it will stretch out the fabric.
6.)Refill with clean water to rinse the clothes until there are no more soapy bubbles.
7.)Drain the sink and let it drip out for a few minutes.
8.)Squeeze out the excess water.
→Again- don’t wring or twist, it will stretch out the fabric.
1.)Lay a towel out flat on the floor and place clothes on top.
2.)Roll the towel up around them and walk back and forth on top of it wicking out the remaining water.
→You can carry a pack towel with you. It’s lightweight and the shammy like material absorbs well and dries fast.
3.)Hang the clothes up to dry anywhere they have room to breath and spread out.Hangers, towel racks or clothesline are best.
→A stretchy clothesline can come in handy when you need to get creative.
→Place the clothes near any natural sunlight and or near some moving or forced air i.e. an open window or heating/air conditioning vents to speed up the drying time.
→Air conditioning dries out the air, which can give a faster dry.
→The wet clothes will add moister to the air and can also actually aid in healthier sleep.
4.)If your clothes are still a bit damp in the morning or you don’t have overnight for them to dry you can use a hair dryer or an iron when available in a hotel.
→Make sure the fabric can take the heat and avoid ironing over silk-screening on a T-shirts.
5.)Avoid placing clothes that are still damp back in your suitcase.
→They could get smelly or mildewed.
Items that can help
- Stain stick
- Detergent packet
- Travel clothes line
- Lightweight or folding hangers
- Pack towel
- Universal sink stopper
- Laundry bag
Hand washing your clothes can reduce the amount of clothes you need to travel. Ultimately lightening your bag and in turn making room for layers that are appropriate for all the climates you might experience or other items you may need on the road (some souvenirs). When you are out there touring around the world being prepared for any weather conditions makes all the difference.