You can read tons of information on the Internet and in magazines about how to travel easily and how to pack light, but I am going to include my own tricks for making travel easier here on my blog. My first travel trick – mailing the dirty laundry home.
If the length of your trip means you end up with dirty laundry during the trip, you have a couple of options:
- wash it
- get rid of it
If I’m staying in an apartment or a hotel with laundry facilities packing becomes even easier because you don’t have to pack as many articles of clothing. You can simply wash the dirty stuff one evening about half way through your trip. In those cases, I stick a little zipper bag with some laundry detergent in your bag and away I go.
If I don’t have access to laundry facilities (or simply don’t want to take the time to wash the dirty stuff), I find that sending the dirty laundry home in the mail works fabulously. Yep, you read that right, I mail my dirty laundry home. This works so well, you are going to be amazed. It’s an especially great trick if you are traveling with kids too. As the bags empty of clothing, you also have room for things you buy along the way.
When I’m packing, each item that makes it into the bag has to be wearable with at least two other items. I don’t worry about wearing the same sweater several days in a row because it’s not like I’m at work where people would comment and wonder where I happen to be sleeping. I’m traveling! I’m not a fashionista. No one cares what I’m wearing but me and if that means I wear the same sweater three days in a row, it doesn’t matter.
So, when that sweater or shirt or whatever finally gets too dirty to continue wearing it, it goes in a pile along with the other dirty stuff. The pile also contains worn underwear and socks. When the accumulated pile is about half of what we packed and we’re about half way through the trip, I bundle it up and haul it to the nearest postal station. You’ll find that the trash bags in the hotel work great for this particular maneuver. Push all that laundry into a trash bag, heave it over your shoulder and away you go.
When you get to the post office, wherever that is, choose a box of the appropriate size and shove it all in. Write your home address on it, pay your fees, and you are once again on your merry way – lighter and freer of the dirty laundry. You’ll find more room in your suitcase is a fun thing and it’s just less to haul back home. Of course, if you’ve bought souvenirs and other goodies you don’t want to haul back home, you can shove those in there too – the laundry provides a great cushion against breakage. If you finished the book you brought along, you can stick that in there too … honestly, this works for anything you brought along on your trip but are finished using.
In many cases, I’ll find the box arrives about the same time I do and finding a box of dirty laundry on your front porch is always a hoot.