Around the world,  During the World Tour,  TDM,  Tips

How to wash your clothes during the round-the-world trip

It was one of the practical questions I asked myself before the round-the-world trip, without really having satisfactory answers. Bringing few clothes with us, we have to wash our clothes often, but where, how and how much does it cost?

We soon realized that we had to combine several methods: wash by ourselves, give to our hotel or give to a laundromat.

Wash the clothes ourselves

In many hotels, you may not find a large sink or bucket to wash your clothes. Washing your clothes by hand several times a week quickly becomes tiresome and damages your hands.

To make it easier for us, we bought a“portable washing machine“, the Scrubba Wash Bag, super light (145g), allowing us to :

  • wash as well as a machine
  • wash anywhere
  • spend much less time washing (between 30 seconds and 3 minutes to scrub the clothes)
  • without damaging our hands

Having a bag of this type is like having a portable bucket, which turns into a washing machine thanks to its waterproof function and “seeds” inside the bag to wash well. It can also be compressed, hermetically sealed, allowing it to be used as a dirty laundry bag, without the unpleasant smell.

Drying is done either in the bathroom (with the fan on full blast), at the hotel rooftop or on the balcony (if you have one), or in the room if it is hot. In this case, we stretch a parachute rope and dry our clothes on it.

The plusses

  • You can wash anywhere, even in the forest. You just need enough water
  • By using this bag, you can wash with any product (shampoo, soap, facial cleanser…) The result is the same: super clean

The –

  • The cost: the bag costs around 50 euros (but it pays for itself quickly)
  • Spinning always requires muscle
  • Drying depends on the weather or on the chamber (chambers with air conditioning allow a better drying because the air conditioning absorbs humidity well). If we stay just one night in a hotel, the only thing that can dry overnight is the lingerie.
  • Washing your laundry is boring 🙁

Giving the linen to the hotel

This is the ideal solution if the hotel offers reasonable rates (i.e. a rate by weight and not by number of clothes). Washing methods depend on the country. In India and Nepal, washing is done by hand and drying in the sun. In Thailand, Vietnam, Chile, Argentina… everything is done by machine.

The plusses

  • Convenient for not too expensive (about 1€/kg)
  • Hotels are very conscientious and note precisely the number of items entrusted to them
  • Do not wash your own laundry, what a pleasure 🙂

The –

  • Some hotels subcontract this part to the laundries by taking a commission, the price can be a tad higher
  • Hotels only accept to do this if you stay two nights or more. They all refuse to wash in express mode
  • In case of bad weather, clean clothes can be returned only after 2 days because the weather was not favorable.

Giving laundry to laundries

The plusses

  • Convenient and cheap, usually you pay per kg and pay extra if the clothes are also ironed
  • In case of an emergency, we can often pick up our laundry the same day for an extra charge

The –

  • Risk of losing some clothes because they are less rigorous than hotels

Some information and prices of the countries we visited

  • South Africa: at the Kruger Park, we had to wash all our clothes ourselves. Only the big camps are equipped with washing machines. In Plettenberg Bay, we gave the clothes to our hotel by paying per unit (5€ for about ten clothes). The clothes were given in the morning and all clean in the evening. In Cape Town, the price was 2€/kg.
  • India: we washed our clothes most of the time. It was so hot that everything dried in half a day. When we could, we gave them to the hotels, for 150 rupees/bag. Dried under the crushing sun, your clothes will be made a bit rough. We avoided giving them to laundries, for hygiene reasons.
  • Nepal: in tourist places, you can have your clothes washed for 80 rupees/kg in laundries. The time of washing and drying depends on the weather. We had to wash our clothes in less touristic places like Nagarkot and Birgunj.
  • Thailand: laundries are available everywhere, you just have to go out in the street to find one. Prices are between 40 and 50 baht/kg. Risk of losing one or two clothes in this process. In Chiang Mai, a service comes to pick up the dirty laundry and bring it back home
  • Burma: we alternate between hand washing and hotels. Hand washing is mainly due to the monsoon: pants are quickly soiled by rain and mud. If you pass by the hotel or laundromat: it costs between 300 kyats and 500 kyats/clothing.
  • Hong Kong: 2€ per garment, so much to say that we washed everything by hand
  • Philippines: Manila: 29 pesos per kg with a minimum of 4kg each time. On the islands, prices vary between 40 and 65 pesos/kg (no minimum weight). We still had to wash some clothes ourselves, especially after the boat trips on the islands (bathing suits, towels…)
  • Vietnam: between 20000vnd and 40000vnd/kg
  • Singapore: we washed our clothes with our laundry bag
  • Malaysia: we washed our clothes with our laundry bag
  • New Zealand: washing machines available in hostels or campsites for NZ$4/wash and NZ$4/dryer.
  • Tahiti: we washed our clothes with our washing bag, it dries very fast here
  • Easter Island: 6000$CH/machine, drying included
  • Chile: between 4000$CH and 6000$CH/machine, drying included
  • Argentina: between 80$AR and 100$AR/machine, drying included
  • Iceland : very difficult to find laundries, or very expensive (washing per unit). We washed our clothes with our laundry bag. Once, we were able to wash them for free in a hostel, with a tip
  • United States: in the “laundry corner” $2.5/wash, $1.25 to $2/dryer
  • Colombia : 4000COP per kilo or 6000COP/lb

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