How to Keep Clothes Clean While Traveling Abroad

It’s an age-old traveler’s dilemma: How do you to keep clothes clean while traveling around the world? Clean clothes may be easy to maintain if you’re visiting popular U.S. tourist destinations like Disney World or Washington, D.C., but laundry can be considerably less accessible (or more expensive) in places like Budapestor Addis Ababa.  Here’s how to keep clothes clean no matter where travel takes you.

The Bag Method

The Expert Vagabond explains that this simple technique involves stuffing dirty clothes into a heavy-duty plastic bag (the aLOKSAK bag is a popular option). Add soap and hot water, knead the bag’s contents for approximately five minutes, and then let the whole shebang soak for another ten minutes before rinsing and hanging clothes to dry.

This method can also be replicated without any special equipment. Simply use a regular two-gallon Ziploc (for small “loads”) or a plastic grocery bag. Just be sure to wash over a tub or sink to avoid puddles on the floor. Or simply bring clothes into the shower with you.

Sink washing

The word “sink” can be interpreted pretty loosely, here — basically any container filled with water will do (in addition to sinks, think coolers, Tupperware, etc.). Life Remotelyexplains the simple concept: Dump dirty clothes in the sink (or container), add soap and water, swish and squeeze the clothes in the soapy water, rinse, and hang to dry. If you’re planning to use the sink method, be sure to invest in a universal drain plug (though in a pinch, a rolled up sock or washcloth will do).


These are not available everywhere, and the rules and prices can vary widely around the world. Hand washing is pretty much the only guaranteed way to keep clothes clean. That said, laundromats do exist in many places, and they can be a great option for travelers looking for a deeper clean than hand washing affords. Some laundromats will have coin-operated soap dispensers, change machines, English instructions, and the like, but don’t count on this being the case. Wash and dry at clothes’ own risk!

Laundry service

In many places, hotels, landlords, and shops offer full laundry service, and sometimes it’s worth the splurge. Asia in particular is well known for its high-quality laundry services. Do some research in advance of a trip to learn about the laundry situation at your destination.

Tips for Hand Washing

Many travelers decide to go the DIY approach because it’s simple, cheap, and can be done anywhere (all of this makes it a particularly great option for people traveling on a budget). If going this route, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Bring the right supplies. A sink plug, lightweight clothesline, liquid soap (or small packets of laundry detergent), and large plastic bags will make any hand washing session more efficient and effective. If backpacking or traveling in an area with a low-quality septic system, be sure to choose a biodegradable soap.
  • Embrace multiple wears. You’ll do laundry much less often if you wear clothes multiple times. Wait to wash clothes until they’re actually dirty.
  • Wash small loads. It’s much more efficient to wash just a few items at a time. Each wash, prioritize underwear, socks, and the smelliest item(s) in your pack. Extend the wear of other items until washing them is truly a necessity, and then wash those items in small batches.
  • Choose smart fabrics. Synthetic clothes will dry much faster than cotton ones, while non-wrinkles fabrics will eliminate any worry about having to press clothes.
  • Dry right. Start by rolling up wet clothes in a dry towel and wringing them out to absorb some of the extra moisture (a pack towel is ideal, as they can absorb a ton of water and dry quickly). Then hang clothes on a line (either outside or inside) or drape them around the room in a hotel or hostel (just be sure not to damage anything with water — remember to be a respectful tourist).

Don’t re-pack clothing until it’s fully dry; this will prevent mold and smelliness. If laundry is still damp and it’s time to get on the road, consider wearing the damp clothes — your body’s heat will dry them in no time.

  • Be resourceful. If clothing gets wrinkled, hang it in the bathroom while you shower so steam can naturally relax the fabric. If clothing gets linty, use a piece of tape to pick up the worst of it. By thinking outside the box, you’ll be able to solve most any laundry dilemma.

Armed with these tips, you’ll keep clothes clean and comfortable as efficiently as possible — so you can get out of the hostel and back to sightseeing. Got a good travel laundry story? Share the horror (or the success) with us on Facebook!

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on October 10, 2015

Yummy Foods, Happy Bellies: Preventing Mishaps in Adventurous Eating

Tongue-tickling spice combinations. Unfamiliar ingredients. New delicacies to explore. Half the fun of venturing to exotic locales is sampling new foods. Unfortunately, adventurous eating can also lead to an unhappy belly. Take advantage of a couple simple tricks to stave off disastrous travel sickness.

Seek Out Local Know-How

Looking for the best som tam and pad thai the street stalls of Thailand have to offer? Ask a local. Poll the front desk staff at your hotel in Bangkok for their favorite place to munch on street food. Let them know you’re not looking for an official recommendation so much as a friendly one, for the places where you might run into them snacking on a night off. Establishments frequented by locals are likely to be appetizing, affordable and authentic. They’re also time-tested and likely to be safe, helping you keep stomach bugs at bay.

Make Eating Elementary

It’s time to use your powers of deduction, Mr. Holmes. Scope out clues to find the tastiest, safest culinary delights. Is the place bustling with locals, or empty and quiet? Do the customers include women and children, or does it look like a boy’s club? Steer towards busy family establishments for the best chances at a clean, wholesome delicious meal. Elementary, my dear Watson. Delectably elementary.

Home Cooking = Food + Love

At Casa com Varanda in Rio de Janeiro, host Delvina serves up breakfast every morning. Doesn’t that sound better than anything that might come out of a faceless restaurant kitchen? After all, nothing is more nourishing than a home-cooked meal. Staying in a small, independent accommodation, such as a bed and breakfast, is a great opportunity to try authentically prepared, home-cooked food. Because these meals are generally prepared in small batches with love and care, they’ll be memorable for only the right reasons.

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

No matter how careful you are, there’s no 100% proven method to prevent an upset stomach. Sometimes even the most upscale restaurants can leave you queasy the next morning. There’s freedom in this realization, however. If even the safest-seeming foods have the potential for tummy turmoil, there’s no reason not to go bold. Boarding a plane for Argentina? Throw some probiotics and anti-diarrheal medicines in your bag and book a stellar Buenos Aires hotel where you’ll be comfortable no matter what happens. After that, there’s no stopping you.

Street smart and prepared for anything, you’re ready to take on the world in all its flavorful goodness. From tamales in Cancun to Çiğ köfte in Istanbul, there’s a whole world of tastes to discover. Let the eating adventures begin!

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 30, 2015

What Flow For Instagram Means For Travel Planning

As of September 21, the popular Flow for Instagram app will be available to download on the iPhone for free. The app is designed with discovery in mind and could prove to be a useful tool for travelers looking to explore new destinations.

Flow was initially released for the iPad in 2013 and was originally conceived as an Instagram shopping app for users in Thailand. The developers soon realized that there was a broader need to be filled; however, and set about designing a user-friendly interface for Instagram on the iPad— something Instagram itself has yet to do.

The new app offers many improvements on the Instagram experience. First of all, there are no ads, which have become a ubiquitous feature on most social media platforms. But more importantly, the app itself is rather beautiful and functions both practically and elegantly. The focus is on the photos themselves. On the home screen, photos appear in a minimalist grid without any text. Pinching the screen with two fingers increases or decreases the number and size of the pictures that appear. Clicking on a picture opens it to display the user and comments, and a long tap will bring up photo and sharing options. It’s sleek and easy to use. The main drawback is that it’s for looking only: Third party apps cannot post photos to Instagram, but users can still like, comment, and follow.

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Flow’s unique features make it a portal for discovery, and it’s invaluable to travelers. It’s easy to explore pictures by user or even by location, and places, tags, and users can all be bookmarked for easy access. (The ability to bookmark users without following them is a useful touch.) There are also two separate tabs for bookmarked photos and liked photos, which is excellent for keeping track of things to do or see. It’s easy to post to other social media from the app, and it loads photos and videos very quickly. For $3.99, users can upgrade to Flow Plus, which includes the ability to be logged in from multiple accounts, create unlimited bookmarks, choose between light and dark themes, and save photos and videos to the iPhone camera roll.

The ease with which users can explore related content will make the app a boon for travelers looking for new destinations. For example, search the tag Indonesia and start browsing nearby pictures. Before long, the gorgeous Raja Ampat district of West Papua takes over the screen with its lush and beautiful scenery. The photos of nearby users showcase the glorious hiking views from Wayag Island and the opportunity to snorkel with sharks. As the urge to visit becomes irresistible, book a flight to Jakarta and a room at the Swiss-Belhotel Sorong. Flow isn’t so much an app for looking at pictures of your friend’s cat (not that there’s anything wrong with that) — it’s an interface designed for action and exploration.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 30, 2015

A Stone’s Throw From Stonehenge Lies A Massive New Mystery

Located in Wittshire, England, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most iconic man-made landmarks. Tourists flock to the raised stones to ponder their origins and meaning. Are these the marks of an alien burial site? Were ancient sacrificial rituals conducted here? How were these stones raised before the advent of modern technology? Stonehenge baffles tourists (and historians) to this day as it sits isolated in the middle of the English countryside.

Recently, a group of archaeologists from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project uncovered the extensive remains of a 90-stone structure less than two miles from Stonehenge. Using remote sensing technologies, the archaeologists were able to detect the presence of the massive stone monument, which is currently buried under a bank of grass. Though the archaeologists aren’t entirely sure when the monument was built, they are able to place its construction as contemporary to Stonehenge itself, some time between 2,000 and 3,000 BC.

This new discovery means Stonehenge is not isolated and may in fact be relatively small in comparison to its newfound neighbor. Scientists and archaeologists alike are scrambling to figure out the significance of the new monument and where it figures into the history of the area.

Luckily for them, the new monument is surprisingly well-preserved, and excavation of the stones could lead to specimens more easily researchable than Stonehenge. If full excavation occurs, the monument would form a half moon that dwarfs its sister site. Preemptive hypotheses suggest the new stones might’ve been used for ancient calendar purposes, as a sacred space for religious acts, or as the wall of an arena.

In a statement released to the press by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, Paul Garwood, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, reflected on the project’s game-changing discovery, “The extraordinary scale, detail and novelty of the evidence produced by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is changing fundamentally our understanding of Stonehenge and the world around it. Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written.”

Regardless of what scientists uncover, this story will be an important one to watch unfold. And in the near future, the discovery might also be a can’t-miss addition to the English travel itinerary.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on October 6, 2015

Alaska Ferries Eliminate Famous And Beloved Bars

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Spending four days on a choppy boat with no Internet sounds daunting, especially when it’s spent on a deck chair and not in a cabin. But Alaska’s ferries offer an odd but charming mix of local culture, scenic views, and until recently, cheap drinks.

The Alaska Department of Transportation recently announced that they will be eliminating the famous and beloved bars on the ferries operated by the Alaska Marine Highway system. According to the Department, the bars have been losing $100,000 annually, and the estimated $750,000 that will be saved by closing them will contribute to alleviating a $3.5 million deficit. Gift shops on the ferries will also be eliminated, but it has been stressed that there will be no layoffs because of the cuts. Bartenders and gift shops workers will be assigned to other duties onboard the ships.

Many worry that the budget deficit will eventually lead to reduced service as well, despite the reassurances of the Department of Transportation. Alaskan residents who live in remote towns and islands such as those of the Inside Passage and the Aleutian chain rely on the ferries for transportation.

Out of town travelers may be affected as well — they usually pack the ferries in the summer months and provide much-needed tourism dollars to Alaskan businesses. The lack of bars may prove a disincentive for travelers to use the ferry system at all.

In the end, it’s not so much the booze as the bar culture that ferry riders will miss. Ferry routes can last as long as four days, and the bars allowed people from all occupations and walks of life to mix and converse in a relaxed atmosphere on extended trips. The bars were also famous in their own right. The tiny Pitch and Roll Bar lives aboard the Tustumena, which serves a notoriously choppy route from Homer to Kodiak Island. The 1970s decor scheme, which includes red carpet on the walls, also features barf bags and convenient railings. Its charm and distinctive qualities led Esquire to name it one of the 10 best bars in the world in 2007.

Wine and beer will continue to be served during meal hours in single-serving sizes, but it won’t be quite the same. Tony Tengs, the Alaska Marine Highways’ senior bartender, sums up the ineffable quality of the onboard bars: “There are things that have value that just can’t be equated and which people will never forget. Like the folks who got married in the bar on the Taku and the many who have gathered there on their way to and from funerals.”

Although the bars will be closed, the six ferries that once possessed them (Kennicott, Matanuska, Columbia, Tustumena, Malaspina, Taku) will remain in service. On a positive note, the news of the bar closings can also serve as a reminder to travelers contemplating Alaskan trips to take advantage of what is perhaps the world’s most beautiful and unique transportation system.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 19, 2015

Will Travel For Coffee: Iced Coffee’s Popularity (Where To Get The Best Brew On The Road)

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When jetting off for the final vacation of summer, there’s one thing everyone needs: a good iced coffee. Luckily there’s no shortage of cold brews, iced americanos, or classic iced coffees across the U.S. to guarantee a refreshing caffeine fix on any trip.

Despite cold coffee’s recent popularity, sip this: Dunkin Donuts has actually has been selling iced coffee for more than 25 years, and Starbucks’ famous Frappucino came to counters back in 1995. We can thank the youngin’s for iced coffee’s recent spike. Thirty eight percent of 18-24 year olds drink iced coffee, which is way higher than any other age group. Still, only 20 percent of Americans drink iced coffee, while 83 percent consume hot coffee.

The types of iced coffee jet setters can discover are pretty much divided into three groups: the classic iced coffee, frappuccino (or “coffee drinks”), and cold brew.

The classic kind, otherwise known as “The Japanese Method,” is when hot coffee is brewed and immediately poured over ice. This is the easiest way to make iced coffee, and produces a lighter and sweeter taste. Frappuccinos are when baristas grab a blender and mix a shot of espresso with cold milk, ice, and a bit of sugar. This’ll result in a frosty coffee treat. Cold brew is a coffee snob’s haven when it comes to coffee. Here, grounds are mixed with water for at least 12 hours; soaking the grounds this long makes the drink way more diluted and caffeinated.

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We’ve rounded up some of the best cold coffees around the country, along with a recipe for jet setters to make themselves when on the move:

Iced Mint Mojito. Philz Coffee, San Francisco, CA

Philz Coffee is known for their unique spin on a classic summer rum drink: the iced mint mojito. No rum this time (but just as good!) mint leaves are added to espresso and milk or cream, which makes it both rich and refreshing. Stay at Le Meridien San Francisco and be less than a five minute walk from one of the many Philz Coffee’s in the city.

Iced Mocha. Barista Parlor, Nashville, TN

For a hipster and chocoholic twist, try this iced coffee that’s (obviously) served in a mason jar. The espresso is mixed with a specialty chocolate ganache and served over ice. It’s sweet and rich, and will make anyone want to go back for another.

New Orleans Iced Coffee. Blue Bottle Coffee, New York City and San Francisco, CA

Get a taste of NOLA at any of the Blue Bottle Coffee’s in New York City or San Francisco.
The New Orleans iced coffee is cold-brewed for 18 hours with roasted chicory and cane sugar. Pro tip: Add a bit of whole milk to cut the bitterness. Hotel Stanford, steps away from the Empire State Building in New York, is also only a few blocks from one of three Blue Bottle’s in Manhattan. Goers can also purchase their own kit to take back home or make in the hotel room.

Pure Black. La Colombe Torrefaction, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, D.C.

La Colombe coffee roasters, which are scattered throughout the States, has done something awesome: This iced coffee looks like beer, but is actually our favorite caffeinated beverage. Pure back is a type of cold brew that’s pressed and filtered twice after being steeped for 16 hours in a stainless steel wine tank.

Angeleno. Intelligentsia, Chicago, IL

Ready for this? The Angeleno is made with four shots of rich, espresso, creamy whole milk, and a generous squeeze of agave. The end result is a smooth and downright yummy drink that’s a sweet tooth’s favorite way to caffeinate.

Iced Almond Macadamia Latte. Go Get Em Tiger, Los Angeles CA

The superstar in this drink is house-made almond-macadamia milk, that’s mixed with espresso and (once again) served in a mason jar. Consider staying at Ginosi Hudson Apartel and be less than a 10 minute drive from this addictive drink, which is also considered the best latte in the U.S.

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Want to see if a DIY brew can trump any of these places above? Save a few bucks (and see if a new career of being a legendary barista is the future…) by learning how to make iced coffee at home. Better yet, check out this article, hack your hotel room coffee, for an extra bit of buzz before taking on the day. This recipe is also perfect for a drink on-the-go when heading to the airport for the next adventure.

Measure and stir: Combine 1 part coffee to 4.5 parts room-temperature and filtered water. Give it a nice stir.

Let it brew: Place the container of coffee in the fridge overnight. This is the “brewing” part of the process—no boiling water included—and needs this much time!

Strain: To make the iced coffee concentrate, take a coffee filter or French press to strain the coffee. This removes the grounds.

Just add water! The coffee just brewed will be super concentrated, so add water depending on how strong you like it (the standard is about 1 part coffee to three parts water). Add ice, and drink up!

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 15, 2015

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