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Getting Laundry Done

    Especially if you’re traveling light (which we recommend), family laundry can pile up incredibly quickly. For the single traveler, washing out clothes in a sink is fine, but for a family, rarely is this a solution to the laundry problem.
    In non-European countries, you will find that every hotel has excellent, very affordable laundry services. Every day you gather up all the laundry, sort it, by shirts, pants, underwear, socks etc. and count all the pieces. Then you hand it off to the laundry people. Your laundry will arrive back in 24 hours, beautifully washed, and often ironed (even your blue jeans). When it comes back, count the laundry to be sure that everything that you sent out came back (although I found that a sock or two, inevitably, could go missing.)

In Europe, your hotel can arrange for laundry, but it will be very pricey. And, don't think that you can just wash things out and hang them up in the shower. You'll find that hotels discourage "do it yourself laundry" in the bathroom, and things don't dry as quickly as you'd like.


A better alternative is the laundromat (laundrette, wasserette, wascherei, waschsalon, laverie libre service), and most big cities have them. Ask at your hotel for the nearest self-service laundry in the neighborhood. Save up all your grubby clothes and haul it to the laundromat to do in one sitting. (Be sure to have a number of large size plastic bags in your luggage for the dirty laundry.) Most laundromats have soap you can purchase there. If you go early in the morning, you can co-opt a number of washing machines and be in and out quickly. And, have lots of small coins in the local currency for the washing machines and dryers. Ask at your hotel for the nearest laundromat in your neighborhood.

Tip: In some European cities, at the laundromat you'll see signs for "service washes." These are fantastic - you drop off the laundry in the morning, and pick it up in the afternoon. (It does cost more, than doing it yourself, however.)

      Then again, some places, like Italy, may be a challenge. In Rome, there's not many laundromats in the city center.  A friend returned from a 2 1/2 week trip to Italy and said, "We didn't do any laundry."  Kids are happy to grub around in their clothes for days on the end, and adults can treat the experience like camping.  You won't notice the dirt until you get home.
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