For me, freedom is traveling light with just one change of clothes. That still translates into wearing clean clothes every day.
The downside is doing a bit of laundry each day.
The upside is traveling with just a carry-on:
- I walk past the check-in lines and straight to Security.
- My 35 liter backpack easily fits the overhead bin; if need be, it fits under the seat in front of me with foot room down each side.
- If the flight is canceled or delayed, or if I choose to be bumped, I can be quickly accommodated on the next flight because I have no checked bag.
- At the destination, I bypass the baggage carousel.
- I take a train or bus from the airport then walk to my hotel. I rarely take a cab.
- I'm never trapped in one place guarding luggage.
- I get to use the smallest, cheapest lockers in train stations.
Oh yes, there's one extra advantage: I can avoid unpacking and packing clothes by wearing the same clothes each day. In Japan this works particularly well because in the evening I just change into the yukata that is always provided by the hotel.
Recently I wore the same clothes for ten days straight. I doubt anybody noticed, but if they did, I don't care.
|Selfie in a yukata at an Okayama capsule hotel. The washing |
machines are in a back alley. I'm steps away from the
lounge where I enjoyed a beer from a vending machine.
Launderette time can be time well spent. I took the photo at the top of this post earlier this year in Key Largo, Florida. The locals were friendly, the resident dog was hilarious, and I sipped coffee from a nearby coffee shop.
At a pinch, there's always the hotel laundry service. On a business trip to Paris, the hotel charged more to wash my socks and underwear than I had paid for the items at Target.
A friend once washed his clothes in a Norwegian youth hostel by showering in his clothes.
Usually I wash clothes in the hotel room sink. Here's my process:
- Apply hotel shampoo directly to areas requiring extra attention; e.g., socks, shirt armpit.
- Soak clothes in sink in warm water. (I usually take a shower while the clothes are soaking.)
- Occasionally agitate.
- Drain, rinse.
- Hang clothes over the bathtub. There's no need to hang the clothes carefully at this point.
- Squeeze the hanging clothes to remove some water.
- After about half an hour, squeeze more water out (mainly at the bottom, where the water has migrated).
- Lay one layer of clothes on a towel.
- Roll up the towel.
- Pin one end of the towel roll with one foot, gently twist the other end to remove more water. I emphasize "gently"--I've damaged a shirt with this technique.
- Hang the clothes. They will not now be drippy, so you can hang the clothes around the room. A trekking pole doubles as a clothes line.
The key is to travel with quick-drying clothes which will usually be dry by morning. In damp climates, thicker items like hiking socks may not be completely dry, but that has yet to kill me.
I have a trick to avoid the first night's laundry. On the outbound journey I sometimes travel in clothes I will throw away: a business shirt past its prime, socks and underwear I should've tossed a long time ago.
Once back home, there's one final benefit of traveling with just one change of clothes: I'm not faced with a huge pile of laundry.
|My complete outfit drying at a guest house on Yakushima Island, Japan.|