Traveling with Cloth Diapers- Can you do it? SHOULD you do it? A Pro Answers.

Traveling with cloth diapers isn’t a cut an dry topic.  There are just so many variables that a simple “Yes you can use cloth diapers while traveling” or “No, you shouldn’t cloth diaper when traveling” is impossible.  I hope my vast experience with practically every type of scenario will shed some light on how to cloth diaper while traveling and maybe even when to skip it.[hr]

Air Travel- Flying with a baby can be a stressful idea even if the flight itself winds up being a breeze thanks to heavenly white noise and a baby happy to nurse and nap the whole way {as an experienced flyer with babies I have tips for this}.  There are ways to bring cloth diapers with you if you are so inclined.  I’ve snuck an entire stash of diapers inside of my carseat which was bagged up and checked.  If you need to pack cloth diapers in your luggage consider sticking to enough for 1.5 days and washing frequently.  Extend your stash by using All-in-Two’s and lots of extra soaker pads, or ultra compact flats with 4-6 covers.

As for washing your diapers, flats make the best choice because they work better even if your destination has a different water.  They can easily be washed in your hotel bathroom tub or washer and hung to dry over shower racks and even the luggage caddy that most every hotel room has.  If you are staying with family you may want to check that washing your diapers there is OK (some people might balk at the idea).

Car Travel-  If you are packing the family into the car you have an obvious advantage because you control the space and will likely be able to fit an entire stash of diapers into your car.  From experience I would recommend sticking to the basics of your stash if you are washing while away.  If you plan on washing when you return home then by all means bring every diaper you have.  To those washing while away save the space in your luggage for souvenirs and only take 2 days worth.

Camping- I can’t speak from experience on camping and using cloth diapers.  I defintely know it can be done and would suggest a small stash of flats and covers.  Flat cloth diapers can pack small and be handwashed while camping.

Other options:

Hybrid cloth diapers that will work with disposable inserts are a way to either thicken your stash while you are away, save the day when you get too busy to wash diapers and run out, or can be used full time inside of your covers or shells to make your packing load lighter and your vacation a little more convenient.

Use a Diaper Service on longer trips and leave all of your diapers at home!  I’ve done this twice myself while attending a conference with a nursling in tow.  Once in Las Vegas and once in Louisville Kentucky.  Both diaper services were happy to work with me and both also received extra business while offering the service to other attendees.  Win/Win.  They dropped off a large bag of clean prefolds and a diaper pail/bag to my hotel and I met them or left the bags at the desk for them when my trip was done.  You’dd have to diaper your baby from home to the hotel and back but for the rest of your trip you are will be worry free and waste free too!  Find a list of diaper services on Real Diaper Industry Association or simply use a search engine for your destination’s city.

Should you cloth diaper while away from home?  

Most of me says yes.  I’ve done it many, many, many times.  I’ve flown with diapers to Texas and North Carolina a few times each.  I’ve driven my diapers to Massachusetts (3 times, once with 2 babies in diapers), North Carolina, and various weekend trips around NY State.  Then I’ve used a diaper service in Las Vegas and Louisville.

I’ve also used hybrid systems and on one occasion, have used disposables exclusively on one trip.  I much prefer to travel with cloth and have made it work for almost every trip we have taken as a family.  That being said, I do understand that we moms tend to make life harder on ourselves sometimes and if a weekend away from diaper laundry while on vacation is what you crave you are entitled to that!  Cloth diapering families are vastly reducing the waste being left by their children.  I do feel guilt when the occasional disposable on a trip or at night is used but I try to put this into perspective.  If only disposables were used for these occasions by everyone then they would be fulfilling their original purpose!

I’ll leave you with my “Expert Tips” for traveling with cloth diapers.

  • Pack only what you need.  I stick to about 15 diapers worth, 1 Large wet bag and 2 medium for the diaper bag.
  • Remember to bring your own detergent and a way to measure it!
  • Cloth wipes and water from the sink.  Or your disposable wipes.
  • If you are handwashing pack latex gloves.
  • Diapers pack smaller if you pack the inserts seperatesly from the shells.  Pre-stuffed diapers take up more room.
  • Be aware that your destination might have a different water type and this could afect your wash routine.
  • To prepare for packing your diapers consider having hybrids or a disposable on hand to put on while washing the last load.  If you will be gone longer than 5 days you don’t want to leave one last dirty diaper at home to be washed before you leave.
  • If you have to cloth diaper until the last moment before leaving home toss that final dirty diaper or two in the washer and run a rinse with a bit of detergent just so it isn’t growing mushrooms before you get home.
  • My best piece of advice: be realistic with yourself.  Try to do cloth diapers if you desire but if you just can’t make it work logistically then use plan b or a mixture of plan a and plan b.
[hr]Other posts about traveling with cloth diapers:

Cloth Diapering at a Home Away From Home (my recent post on KellyWels.com about cloth diapering while living with family)

Roadtrippin’ With 2 Kid and Cloth Diapers

Roadtrippin’ With 2 Kids and Cloth Diapers Pt. 2

Last Minute Trip to Texas (and packed cloth)

Traveling With Cloth Diapers (with map of travels)

Using a Diaper Service on trip to Las Vegas

This post is part of the Real Diaper Week BlogHop hosted by The Eco Chic.  Visit her blog to see the other entries for today.  Don’t forget that the Great Cloth Diaper Change is this Saturday.  Help set a World Record for most cloth diapers changed simultaneously.  I’ll be in Charlotte, NC!

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