Laundry chores when traveling two weeks

Laundry is one of the more challenging tasks of extended travel. Back in 2012 I attended a travel blogger conference TBEX Costa Brava in Girona, Spain. I spent nearly two weeks in Spain on that trip including five nights at one hotel in Girona mid-trip for the conference where I was able to hand wash my clothes in the hotel room bathroom tub and let them dry for two days.

On a 3-night post-conference trip with several travel bloggers that September, there was a stay booked for our tour group at a 5-star hotel Guitart Monterrey in the beach resort of Lloret de Mar. When we checked into the upper upscale resort hotel, the front desk staff gave each member their room key and announced the hotel could provide an overnight laundry service if anyone needed their clothes washed. They promised that clothes would be ready before our early morning departure to another city. There was a lovely fine dining dinner at the hotel and a private casino tour at an adjacent facility where we bloggers were given the opportunity to gamble at different games for fun as the rules were explained and each of us had thousands of Euros in chips to gamble with no risk of losing or winning money. It was all good fun.

The next morning after a few hours sleep in a fine room, the group gathered in the lobby to board the tour van for another day of Costa Brava adventures. One of the bloggers was visibly emotional and crying over something that had occurred at check out. Turned out two of the full-time on-the-road travelers had taken the hotel up on their laundry service offer. Every stitch of clothing and other gear these two bloggers traveled with was contained in each one’s single backpack. They had combined their clothes the afternoon before and dropped them off at the front desk for the quick laundry service.

Their laundry was washed clean, dried and folded by the next morning when they picked it up at the desk before checkout. The shocker was the 105 EUR bill for the overnight express laundry service. At the time the exchange rate was $1.30 USD = 1.00 EUR. Their one combined load of laundry cost them nearly $70 each.

Lesson learned.

Back home in Monterey yesterday afternoon after 12 days in the South, I unpacked my two suitcases next to the washing machine and loaded my dirty clothes directly into soapy water. I stayed 11 nights in five different hotels in Florida, Louisiana and Texas over the past two weeks. There were laundry rooms in Holiday Inn Express Pensacola West – Navy Base, Florida;  Quality Inn West Monroe, Louisiana and Best Western DFW Irving, Texas. The problem for me were those hotel stays were my first night and last two nights of 11 hotel nights. The upper upscale hotels I stayed in with Hyatt Regency New Orleans and The Hotel Bentley Alexandria, Louisiana were the middle eight nights of my trip and these finer hotels offered loads of amenities, but no laundry rooms.

During my 7-night stay at Hyatt Regency New Orleans I did an extensive shower and sink wash of laundry midway through my trip using the bathroom body wash soap. Hand laundry in the hotel room works fine when there are two days for clothes to dry. It took more than 24 hours for cotton underwear and t-shirts to dry, even when in the window hanging from the curtain rods getting a day’s worth of New Orleans sun. Laundry is a real challenge when I am hotel hopping each night like I do on most road trips.

Quick Dry Clothes from Outdoors Retailers

One of my major clothing purchases this past year has been acquiring more quick dry clothing from outdoors store retailers like Columbia, REI and Eddie Bauer. I have several shirts, shorts, a couple pair pants and underwear that dries within about 6 to 8 hours after a hand wash, whereas cotton t-shirts and underwear can take 24+ hours to dry. For someone like me who tends to have many one or two night hotel stays there is great value in quick dry clothing for hotel room laundry washing on short hotel stays when I am not at a midscale hotel chain where there is a much higher presence of hotel guest laundry facilities than when staying in upscale hotels like Westin, Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott.

HIX Pensacola West laundry room

Guest Laundry Room at Holiday Inn Express Pensacola West

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. Great post! Doing laundry while on the road is not something I look forward to. Not to sound harsh, but I’m surprised the two travel writers did not expect such a bill. Many times out of curiosity, I’ve looked at the prices of the hotel provided service and I have never been tempted to pay – they are just that high.

  2. Almost every location has a dry cleaner nearby that does wash and fold for a “big” laundry bag under $20. No muss no fuss. Done it many times in France while staying at a 5 star property with silly rates.

  3. With a family of 8, we often are doing laundry while on the road – we have to do laundry every 2-3 DAYS! And obviously those “premium” hotels are always jacking you on their rates. We try to stay some nights at extended stay hotels or other hotels with laundry facilities, or as JustSaying points out, there are often laundromats not too far away that you can do laundry for a fraction of the cost (though at a time cost, for sure)

    Here is a post I wrote about our long term travel laundry hacks


  4. Yeah, sounds like NOOB travel writers :). Always expect a hotel to charge a lot for laundry. If you run into a cheap place (probably somewhere in Asia), think of it as a nice perk to get it done for cheap instead of doing yourself.

  5. In defense of the experienced travel bloggers, I think there was a bit of confusion at the time or the offer was sort of lost in ‘hotel speak’ translation. Pretty much everything on the trip up to that point was covered as part of the media trip from transportation, meals, drinks, activties and hotels.

    I kind of thought the offer sounded like the hotel would take care of the laundry as a complimentary service, but I never asked since I did not need my laundry done at the time.

    I think the shock was more in that it was an unexpected expense when the laundry service was attached to a big bill.

    I’ve learned from being burned over the years in frequent travel to ask the cost before I accept any services.

  6. Even more of a challenge in tropical areas where you go through clothes quickly and nothing ever dries.

    If you ever go on a cruise longer than 7 days, I recommend princess because they have on-board self-service laundry machines at standard rates ($1.50 or so a load)

  7. I hate traveling around with a bunch of dirty clothes, so I do a minimal amount of washing in the hotel sink, and we are generally at a hotel at least two nights, so it just means forcing myself to face a bit of laundry early in the stay. But my husband and I also carry cheap undies and socks which we discard each day. But it is a joy to return to a washing machine at the end of a long trip!

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