Packing is probably the most dreaded part of traveling — that is, except for the inundation of laundry while you’re on the road. We’re with you; we’d rather be sipping mojitos on the beach (or skiing down our favorite peak, hiking a new trail, or whatever else a trip entails) than bent over the washing machine in a dank laundry room any day. Though no one wants to think about laundry or any associated chores of #adulting while OOO, the time will likely come when you’ll need frantically remove a giant pasta sauce stain or dig out that last pair of undies from the crevices of your suitcase. Whether you’re posted up in a waterfront resort or glamping in your cozy dream Airbnb, here are the quickest, simplest hacks to keep your clothes wearable while you’re away — and to save you time from doing double loads when you get back from your trip and just want to marathon nap.

Woman folding laundry

1. Plan out your clothes. First things first: To make the laundry part as hassle-free as possible, it’s best to anticipate your outfits (yes, this pertains to everyone, not just fashion influencers) and get strategic about materials when you’re packing. Try to lean toward polyester, rayon, and any other fabrics that are lighter and less wrinkle-prone if you’re headed to a warm destination. Or if you’ll need to layer up where you’re going, pack cashmeres and knits because these will hold up best in a suitcase, no matter how many hours the journey itself takes. When all else fails, throw a few pairs of leggings into your bag to be safe. Spandex and nylon workout wear hardly wrinkles, is meant to be hung out to dry and allow you to skip the dryer step altogether, and can take you anywhere from the plane to brunch. Plus, this may give you the extra incentive you need to work out while traveling.

2. Go with the roll tactic. Laundry starts long before the initial “whish” of the washer turning on. But the better you take care of your clothes when packing them, the easier the laundering process is. Master the roll technique: Roll pants, jeans, tees, skirts, and sweaters upward from the cuff or seam at the bottom, tucking the arms of a shirt or sweater into the roll as you go. This is the best way to attempt to keep the wrinkles out — not to mention you’ll save a ton of space in your luggage, so you can hop off the plane and head straight to the first attraction you have planned without having to iron each piece you brought.

3. Create your own steamer. So the rolls didn’t save you, and you need to bust out the steamer. If you don’t have a travel steamer, don’t panic. There’s the old “stick the hanging garment in a steamy shower” trick, but sometimes even that’s not enough for those hardcore crumples. If your hotel or bed-and-breakfast has a coffee maker or teapot, try filling it up with water, and then letting the steam rise up the bottom of the pants, dress, top, or skirt until the wrinkles melt away. Or if you’re really in a pinch, plug in a hair dryer and from a few inches away, run it over the piece of clothing on a flat surface, and even spritz on a DIY wrinkle spray. You can stick the concoction of just water, white vinegar, and a tiny bit of hair conditioner in a travel shampoo bottle and be good to go.

4. Hand-wash for the win. Sure, it’s tempting to pack 37 pairs of underwear on a week-long trip so you never have to do laundry, but you also want to conserve space in your bag for shoes, so there needs to be a happy medium. You won’t want to buy a whole huge bottle of detergent just to throw it away either, and you probably don’t want to risk detergent pods exploding in your toiletry bag, so pick up travel size detergent packets or DIY your own laundry soap if you’re feeling fancy. Completely forgot about laundry products before you left? It’s easy to hand-wash your bathing suits, underwear, lingerie, pajamas, and any delicate tops by filling the sink basin up with water and a splash of shampoo or body wash from a travel-size bottle and soaking for 20 minutes. These delicate items can easily be laid out or hung to dry on towel racks in the bathroom — or better yet, right over those strong hotel air conditioner/heaters for a lightning-fast hot or cool dry, depending on the season.

5. Anticipate stains with just a few ingredients. Some of our go-to stain remedies have fewer than three ingredients, and you can easily bring them with you in advance or find them in any drugstore. A coffee stain comes right out with some white vinegar (the wrinkle releaser strikes again!) along with dish soap and water. Spilled some bronzer on your going-out top? Try dabbing it with shaving cream or spraying it with a bit of hairspray. Or, if you red-wined a little too hard on your trip, the stain can be erased with a few pinches of salt followed by some boiling water and a quick warm wash if you have access to a machine.

6. Combine dark and light loads without worry. There’s no way you’ll want to separate colors from whites when you’re trying to get in a much-deserved travel journaling or meditation session on vacay. To keep colors crisp, pack a few color catching sheets in your carry-on or DIY with baking soda and scrap fabric (this will catch the dye that runs off colored garments and prevent it from seeping into lighter clothes). Or, a half cup of either vinegar or salt helps set colors to prevent running, especially in new clothes.

7. When in doubt, wear jeans. Your best bet for avoiding doing piles of laundry while on vacation is wearing fabrics like denim. Of course underwear and workout gear need a wash after each wear, but denim experts say that jeans and other pants only need a wash every about every few wears and can survive quite a long time on spot cleaning. BRB — rolling up every pair of jeans we own and stuffing them in a suitcase.

Have some tried-and-true vacation laundry tricks of your own? Or better yet, laundry fails so we don’t repeat your mistakes? Share them with us on Twitter @BritandCo.

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