Thursday, October 24, 2013

Laundry On the Go

Little C&G only gets messier at mealtime
One huge reason our London and Edinburgh hotels are at the top of my recommendation list is because of the in-house laundry facilities. Both came as a pleasant surprise and I couldn't have been more excited if the washer came with bar stools and an unlimited selection of cocktails. Usually I spend a morning googling "laundromats" and then head out on my own to do the annoying task while the three boys go out and explore without me.

I don't like having to miss any of the adventures, but it's worth it for the convenience of traveling light. The key to my packing success is that no matter where we're going or how long we're staying, I pack enough clothes for five days and underwear and socks for seven. We can get away with one carry-on and one large suitcase for the four of us for up to three weeks abroad.

Little C&G always gets a few extra shirts added to the pile, because he rarely makes it through a meal without spilling something on himself. His shirts are generally a food map of his day, which is fine at home (where I have an endless supply of Shout), but it's disaster on vacation. Big C&G is much neater, and other than the occasional stray ice cream sprinkle he could make it through a month without any mess.

Nothing a napkin couldn't fix
Neither hotel advertised their washer and dryer was available for guest use, and it never occurred to me that it would be a possibility. I usually follow the advice of Rick Steves who regularly includes laundry advice in his guidebooks. If we're in a bigger city I'll rely on a Google search, but even in tiny Bellagio, Italy I didn't have to walk more than ten minutes to find an available lavanderia. Next time I'm researching hotels I'm going to add "nearby laundry" to my list of questions.

I made a wrong turn out of the elevator at our London hotel and found a little hidden room complete with washer, dryer, and supply of detergent. The only thing missing was a set of directions, so what I thought was only going to take an hour or two turned into a three hour affair. For future reference, the hotter the water temperature you select on a European machine, the longer the load takes. When we checked in to our Edinburgh hotel the desk clerk mentioned the lobby laundry (complete with detailed instructions) and I almost jumped over the counter to kiss him. Because the last thing I wanted to do was drag our suitcase of dirty laundry across the bumpy cobblestones and hilly streets of Edinburgh.

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