When we travel, we’re a carry-on only type of family. We’re also a family of three active boys and a mom (that would be me) who tends to spill food like a five-year-old. (My husband pretty much acts his age.) So when we pack for a vacation, we need to go light on the extra clothes, despite full knowledge that there will be laundry-related emergencies. I recently received the following travel-sized laundry care items to take on the road, and we put them to use during a spring break cruise.

dryel stain pen

Dryel Instant Stain Remover:

No matter whether you pack carry-on only or hire a sherpa to cart your gear, at some point, you’ll stain something. For us it occurred at the buffet line, when my 12-year-old dripped some kind of food grease on his brand new t-shirt. He wore it the rest of the afternoon, then I treated it with the Dryel Instant Stain Remover pen. The pen has a rubbery scrubber at the tip to help control the flow and dig into the stain, and it’s only .7 oz, so it’s TSA-friendly. The best part about it is that you can treat the stain, then toss the item into a suitcase and not wash it until you return home.

But did the stain come out? Mostly. I can still see a bit of a ring around it, but it’s far, far better than it would have been left untreated. And in Dryel’s defense, the instructions on the packaging clearly state to that you need to treat the stain while its fresh. Sometimes, however, when you’re traveling, you just can’t! We did have another stain on a shirt (er…mine) later during the same trip, and I treated it immediately. That stain (ice cream) came out completely. The pen retails for $2.97.

Downy Wrinkle Releaser:

First of all, why, why, why would anyone travel with a shirt that wrinkles? I jest: I know many people need to. (We try to pack only cotton and other similar fibers to make our lives easier.) The Downy Wrinkle Releaser comes in the form of a pump spray bottle (again, under 3 oz). You spray the item of clothing liberally, then tug and pull, then leave to hang dry. I tried it at home (again, I don’t travel with anything needing an iron) on a nylon dress shirt, and while it work replace an iron, it did take the shirt from messy to presentable. I don’t think the result would pass in the board room, but out to a decent dinner? Sure. Plus, it smells great, so if nothing else, you can use it to freshen up a shirt while traveling very easily. Pick one up for only $1.47.

Bounce Lint Roller:

Now, this I can see the need for, considering I live with two dogs and a cat. Somehow, we still end up with dog hair on our clothes even when we’re traveling away from the dogs! (Yes, we’re slobs…this review package couldn’t have come to a better suited person.) Put simply, everyone could use a Bounce lint roller for something, and since this travel version is small and light, it’s easy to toss in your luggage. At $1.99, it doesn’t hurt to have one.

Tide mesh laundry bag

Tide Travel Laundry Bag:

This was my favorite laundry-related product, as we always travel with 2-3 mesh or drawstring laundry bags. This travel laundry bag Tide is smaller than my others at 18×18, but holds more than you’d expect. Plus, it’s made of sturdier construction than the mesh types, infused with a magical anti-bacterial coating which traps odors. We used it on the cruise, and let me just tell you the odor-trapper works and leave it at that. We used it for our smelliest stuff, including wet swimsuits that smell like chlorine) and it didn’t stink up the rest of our clothes in our luggage. You can grab one for $3.97, which I think is a steal.

While not available directly at Amazon, all of the above travel laundry products can be found at major box stores like Wal-Mart or Target in the US, and at drugstore.com or well.ca in Canada.