Thursday, December 30, 2010

Laundry on the Road

Dear Joe and Vicki: We're getting ready to retire and the idea of RV travel is very appealing. This may sound silly, but how often and where do RVers do their laundry while on the road?

Vicki: That's a valid question. You're not the first to ask. Would you believe, we've talked to people who minimize their laundry by taking their old, ready to throw away clothes with them on a trip. After they wear them, the clothes get tossed in the trash!

Here's what the rest of us do:

Take enough clothes for about seven to ten days. If you're going to be gone less than a week, you won't have to worry about doing laundry at all. For longer trips, you can plan on doing laundry about once a week.

A large, mesh laundry bag works well in an RV. Unless you're lucky enough to have a built-in clothes hamper, the dirty clothes bag can be stored in the shower or tub. When the bag gets full, you know it's time to do the laundry!

Just so you know, some of the larger RVs offer a built-in washer and dryer as optional equipment.

Laundromats are everywhere, even in the smallest towns. Some laundromats even have showers. Many commercial laundromats will do your laundry for you. There is a charge, but it just might be worth it to you. Drop off the clothes, go sightseeing, pick up the clean, folded clothes and you're on your way.

Most commercial RV parks have coin operated washers and dryers. Campground laundry rooms are not only convenient, they're great places to exchange travel information with other RVers.

If you're planning to use the laundry room in an RV park, check out the facilities before registering. You can go on to another campground if the facilities, equipment and cleanliness are inadequate.

Here are some tips for making laundry day easy while traveling:

Become a fanatic about saving quarters. You'll need all you can get. Black, plastic, 35mm film canisters (if you can find them) make excellent containers for quarters. Each canister will hold $7.00 worth.

Always have your own supply of laundry products. Don't depend on the vending machines selling soap, etc. in laundry rooms. Sure as anything, just when you're trying to do laundry late in the evening or if you're in a hurry, the vending machine won't work.

Buy small or medium size containers of laundry supplies. Those large economy-size boxes and jugs are difficult to store and awkward to carry.

Use a detergent that works in cold water. Hot water may not be available.

Always check the inside of washers and dryers before using them. You never know what someone might have left in there.

It's always a good idea to clean the dryer's lint filter before using it. That will make a big difference in the time required for drying.

If you will be ironing clothes while traveling, you'll be happy to know that many of the
RV parks have started putting ironing boards in laundry rooms and they may even loan you an iron. You'll probably want to carry your own iron just in case.

Joe: Personally, I'm in favor of the throwaway clothes idea!

Joe and Vicki are the authors of a number of how-to RV books and e-books

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