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How To Do Laundry While On Vacation

Posted by YMT Vacations on Aug 8, 2019 8:18:00 AM

laundry on vacation

One of the biggest concerns our guests have before they embark on a YMT vacation is how they are going to do laundry while on their trip. Will there be time to clean their clothes? Will there be facilities? What will it cost?

Our suggestions vary by type of trip, cost, effectiveness, and ease.

For our shortest tours, we recommend packing enough clothing to avoid needing to do laundry entirely, if possible. Doing laundry at home will nearly always save you time and money when compared to doing it on vacation. Barring that possibility, when on a land tour, you have three main options:

  1. Use the hotel’s laundry service
  2. Do your own laundry at facilities in or around the hotel
  3. Hand wash in your room

Laundry Service at the Hotel

This is the easiest and most expensive option. Most hotels offer a laundry service where you place your dirty clothes in a bag you can find in your in-room closet, fill out an attached card listing the items you need laundered and the additional services (such as dry cleaning or ironing) you require, and leave the bag in the hall. Your clothes will be returned to your room later that day or the next morning, and your card on file will be charged. This is usually quite costly—be sure to check the price for each service on the attached card.

Use the Hotel’s Washer and Dryer or Visit a Local Laundromat

An affordable and generally fairly quick option is to do your own laundry either at the hotel, if they have a washer and dryer available to guests, or at a local laundromat. Most laundry facilities sell single-use detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets, or you can bring detergent and other supplies with you from home or buy them locally. If your hotel does not have facilities in-house, simply ask the concierge for a recommendation for a safe laundromat that is close by. The price you can expect to pay varies, but in general, you should be able to wash and dry a normal-sized load for just a few dollars.

Hand Wash Your Clothes

To hand wash your clothes in your hotel bathroom, you will simply need soap, a sink full of water, and somewhere to hang your clothes. Fill the sink with warm water, wash your clothes using detergent or a bar of soap, rinse the clothes under the tap, wring out excess water, and hang the clothes on either a clothesline (if available) or on a curtain rod or patio. Dry laundry detergent and portable laundry washing bags may be worth the investment if you are determined to do laundry in your hotel room.

Hand washing is the most affordable option—either bring your own supplies or make do with what you can find in your hotel room—but it’s the least efficient and effective.

Not only is the process quite time consuming, even if you bring your own supplies, you’ll not be able to get most clothes particularly clean. You can do a fair job with a blouse or thin socks, but nobody’s getting a mustard stain out of a pair of jeans from the bathroom sink. In addition, air-drying clothes, especially heavier items, can take a very long time. We recommend that you wash your clothes at night to avoid packing wet items.

laundry while traveling

Laundry on Cruise Ships

Because cruise ships often spend so little time in port, guests are often limited to either using the ship’s laundry services or doing laundry in their rooms. Each cruise line offers different services for different rates. Here is the most recent information for the cruise lines currently partnered with YMT Vacations.

Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises offers send-out laundry service and dry cleaning; there is no self-service launderette onboard.

Costa charges $2.50 to dry clean a shirt, $3 to wash one and $2 for press only; same-day service carries a 50 percent surcharge. Costa also has a Magic Bag option that can be booked in advance of sailing, laundering 25 pieces for $23.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line offers send-out laundry and eco-friendly dry cleaning.

Laundering a shirt runs $3–5, and a self-service washing load, with complimentary detergent, is $2. A dryer load is $1. Laundry by the bag costs $20.

Unlimited laundry is $7 a day ($9 in Europe); unlimited pressing only is $4 per day ($5 in Europe).

MSC Cruises

All MSC Cruises ships have laundry, pressing and dry-cleaning services, but no self-service launderettes. Sample pricing for a shirt is $5.70 for dry cleaning, $7.50 for wash and press, and $4.60 press only.


Norwegian Cruise Line provides wash and press service and dry cleaning on all ships; there are no self-service laundries.

Washing and pressing a shirt costs $5.95, dry cleaning costs $7.95 and pressing is $3.95. Prices are slightly higher in Hawaii.


Same-day laundry service and press-only service are available on all but the first and last day onboard. Dry cleaning is not available.


Laundry services are available.


There are no laundry services or facilities offered aboard any of CroisiEurope’s ships. In some destinations, laundry can be sent out for cleaning while the boat is docked.

No matter how you do your laundry while on vacation, always heed the wise words of English poet W. Somerset Maugham: “Look after your laundry, and your soul will look after itself.”

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To learn more about YMT Vacations guided tour destinations, call our Travel Consultants at 1-888-756-9072.

Topics: Travel Tips