If you’re planning to be away from home more than a few days, and you don’t want to bring every item in your wardrobe, you have to plan for laundry while traveling. We used to leave home knowing that somewhere down the line we’d find a laundromat and figure it out. But then, when we got there, we found buying supplies was costly, and when the change machine was empty? Well that was downright maddening. So now, we plan ahead, and doing laundry while traveling is a snap.

We start with a lightweight bag.

travel laundry bag

We chose this one from The Container Store because of a few key features:

  • It’s made of a strong, lightweight material.
  • The bag packs inside itself.
  • It can be securely closed with a zipper to keep dirty clothes inside.
  • It has handles.
  • The bag has a pocket for supplies.

Here are a few other options: (You should know that as Amazon influencers, we earn from qualifying purchases.)


Plan ahead for laundry while traveling

Before we leave home, we put one scoop of powdered laundry detergent in snack-sized ziplock bags. To decide how many to take, we think about how long we’ll be gone and how much laundry we think we’ll need to do. Then, we put those mini-bags in a larger ziplock. This keeps the small bags of detergent together and provides a safety in case one of them accidentally opens. We also label our bag so a government inspector might have an idea of what it is (and is not).

laundry travel

But wait, there’s more! After putting the detergent in the larger bag, we add enough dryer sheets to the larger ziplock for our trip, as well. Now, we have a packet ready to go with the laundry supplies we’ll need. And bringing supplies from home is so much cheaper than buying them at the laundromat.


what you'll need to do laundry while traveling

We hear you say, “But I use liquid detergent at home.” No problem. You can still buy a small box of powder and keep it for when you travel. After all, it’s not going to spoil, and you can make sure you have the type of detergent you want for yourself and your family.

But there’s one more step. Find an empty pill bottle, and fill it with quarters. Now, gather all your goodies together and be ready to do laundry while traveling.

coins for laundry

Prep your laundry bag.

Now, just grab your lightweight bag that meets all the criteria above. When ours is folded in on itself, we can just slide the detergent and quarters inside it.

travel laundry bag

It really folds into a handy little package that fits nicely in your suitcase. The bag and enough detergent for five loads of laundry weighs o 1 lb., 1/2 oz. A pill bottle full of quarters weighs about 11 oz., but you can adjust that as needed.

The bag doesn’t stay like that for long, though. After all, we have dirty clothes the first night of our trip. So, we unfold the bag and start putting soiled items in it. Then, we move the detergent and quarters to the bag’s pocket and keep adding dirty clothes at the end of each day. Now, when it’s time for laundry, we just grab the bag and head to the laundry. Inside the bag is everything we need: our dirty (soon to be clean) clothes, quarters, detergent and even dryer sheets.

Yes, doing laundry while traveling isn’t necessarily what you want to do, but if you’re on the road long enough, it’s something you need to do. With a little preparation, the process is pretty painless.

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