More Tips for Traveling With Cloth Diapers

Day 4: Have cloth, will travel (most of the time)! With the holidays fast approaching you may be curious about how to travel with your cloth diapers.  I’m going to be honest with you – there are times when we’ve chosen NOT to take our cloth diapers with us.  We are a very mobile and active family and we’ve mastered traveling with kids.  We haven’t mastered traveling with cloth diapers though – but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up either.  I kinda like the challenge but only when it doesn’t send me into a panic attack.

The easiest trips of course are the day trips.  Going to the mall, the grocery store, out to dinner, to play groups, church, etc.  Packing a cloth diaper diaper bag for a day is really no different than packing a disposable diaper bag.
Day trip packing list:
  • small wet bag (zippered works best)
  • cloth diapers (number depends on length of trip)
  • wipes (either disposable or cloth – we’ll talk about wipes another day)
  • changing pad
  • change of clothes
The only difference with day trips is that you’ll be carrying your dirty diapers with you.  This is why a good wet bag is essential to keep both the wetness and the odor on the inside.  The dirty poo can be shaken off in the toilet just like at home.  We ALWAYS use flushable liners on day trips to make poo a little easier to deal with.
Once you’ve mastered the day trip you are ready for a longer outing or vacation.  When traveling with cloth diapers you actually have to think ahead.  Some questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you leave:
  • What mode of transportation are you taking?
  • Do you have any restrictions on the number of bags you can pack?
  • Will you be staying with friends or family? Or in a hotel/condo/etc?
  • Will you have do-it-yourself laundry facilities available at your destination?
  • Do they have pay laundry services available?
  • How many days will you be gone?
By answering these questions you can better prepare for washing your diapers.  It’s not as complicated when you are staying with friends and family who have laundry in their homes – it’s actually just like at home.  As a courtesy you may want to let your host know what your laundry needs are in advance.  I don’t like to ask permission but I do like to let them know that I will be needing to use their machines to wash our baby clothes and diapers.
If you aren’t staying where you have laundry facilities available there are still a few options before you rule out cloth diapers.
  • Is coin laundry available nearby?
  • Do they have a cloth diaper service in the area that has a vacation rental program? (Many offer delivery and pick up at your destination as part of their service.)
  • Hand washing – while not exactly my preferred choice some diapering experts have mastered the hand washing using pre-folds or flats.
TIP: When traveling with your cloth don’t forget to take along your favorite cloth diaper detergent.  
Trips we’ve taken with our cloth diapers (successfully I might add) include Grandparents (both mine and hubbies), other relatives, and Disney World.  Our hotel trips have been limited to 3-4 days and we’ve carried our dirties back in the car with us.  When staying with family we’ve used their washing machines.
Trips that would terrify me to travel with cloth diapers:
  • Flying AND staying in a hotel/condo – limited space in our luggage and no laundry facilities would become a burden on our family.  It’s not impossible to do if you have a coin laundry nearby and have the time to spend at the laundry.  For this option we would probably choose a diaper service if it were available; otherwise I’m afraid we’d have to use disposables.
  • Trips out of the country with no self laundry – again limited space and no laundry would give me a panic attack.  Add the fact that you are in a different country and I wouldn’t know where to begin.  It can be done if you don’t mind hand washing pre-folds or flats or if you don’t mind looking for a coin laundry.
Our upcoming trips include a cruise during the holidays.  I’m having a mild panic attack over this one.  For starters there is no coin laundry on the ship we’re taking.  The thought didn’t enter my mind when we booked it or I would have researched the boats better.  If we want to take our cloth diapers we will have to do laundry because we’re going on a 5 day trip.  Our only option is to send them out with the regular laundry for a small fee.  This frightens me for several reasons.  My stash is valuable to me; what if they ruin them or loose them?  What if they refuse to take them to launder?  Then I’m stuck with no diapers!  What if they use the wrong detergent? Worst case I have to strip them when I come home.  But the thought of using disposables is sending me into a panic attack too!  I have no idea what size she wears or how many I need to buy.  If I run out I’m sure I’ll have to pay a premium on the boat for diapers and will have to use whatever they have available – I’m not even certain if they sell them on-board.  And the thought of having to deal with blowouts – ugh!  Lastly – we don’t own any pre-folds or flats so hand washing really isn’t an option for our family.  I still need to research this one a little more –
Confused?Aren’t I suppose to be telling you why I LOVE cloth diapers?  I love the challenge of researching options to take our cloth with us everywhere.  We’ve actually lucked out on several of our planned trips (BlogHer) and my parents ended up watching the baby.  And even though I’m an advocate for cloth diapers and a supporter that cloth diapers should be used 100% of the time that doesn’t mean that it’s feasible for everyone all the time.  Every family has to set their own limitations.
Be sure to read some of my previous posts on traveling with cloth for additional tips.  
And some from my friends:
One of the most motivational posts about traveling with cloth diapers – wish I was this brave!

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  1. says

    First, I wanted to share that it’s actually not that difficult to do laundry in other countries (well modern ones). Many travelers, myself included, use coin laundry when backpacking due to the limited space you have for clothes. I found locals to be very friendly & helpful when I needed help – the washing machines are different with instructions most likely in a foreign language. Kinda a fun experience :)

    I agree that traveling with cloth diapers takes planning. We went on our first trip with our baby, and I had everything WAY planned. I used softer, more comfy diapers (Rumparooz) for the long car ride with extra hemp to keep him dry & happy in his seat.

  2. Ana Brightful says

    This summer we travelled via plane and stayed in a hotel for vacation. We took gDiapers and flushable biodegradable inserts. They worked out fantastic. I didn’t have to worry about laundering my precious stash in a hotel machine. If (when) the vinyl liner became soiled we hand washed it in the bathroom sink and hung it to dry. I brought 1 or 2 extra liners. We brought 4 gPants and they were plenty. We noticed the hotel toilet was a little weak so we opted to toss the inserts rather than flush to avoid causing any problems. I was so happy with the gDiapers for travelling and will bring them again on another trip. Good luck with whatever you choose!

  3. says

    Whenever we’ll be somewhere we have access to laundry facilities, I love to travel with fluff. It usually gives me a good chance to go on and on about how great cloth is, and people are always surprised to see how cute and functional modern cloth diapers really are.

    I did have one tough trip to Maine, when the house we’d rented had one of those Bounce (fabric softener) things that is stuck to the inside of the dryer, so I couldn’t use it at all, and it was cold enough that air drying took foooooorever. Luckily, I usually stick a few gdiaper (I don’t use gdiapers but the inserts always work fine in whatever wraps or pockets I’ve brought) inserts into my bag when we’re headed somewhere new, and I can use those in between laundry days.


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