It’s one of the imponderables for the cloth-diapering parent: travel with cloth, or use disposables? What do you do with the diapers? How can you do laundry while on the road? We’ve got some ideas for you!
Grandma’s house? Holed up in a hotel with a distinct lack of washing machine? What to do about those stinky diapers? Do you go disposable? Eco-disposable?
Or is there a cloth solution?
Obviously, we like to think so!
Here’s what we’ve come up with before you make the choice to buy those expensive disposables.
What to do with Dirty Diapers
Travelling with a bag full of smelly diapers is nobody’s cup of tea but it doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds. There are a variety of bags on the market that will help keep the smell at bay and the rest of your luggage untouched by soiled cloth.
Zippered cloth diaper bags some in a variety of great prints, possibly to match your luggage, and are super easy and convenient to store. They come in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes to accommodate any length of stay away.
Drawstring cloth diaper bags generally come in larger sizes and can easily be placed in a hotel garbage bin as an impromptu diaper pail.
Before placing any soiled cloth diapers rinse the debris off of the diapers. You can easily store a spray-style rinsing hose that hooks up to a faucet or even to the water line at the side of a toilet. There are a variety of companies that make them but the cheapest one I have found is one that you would use for bathing a dog — at the local pet store!
Washing and Drying
If you are going to be going out on vacation for longer than 3 days, I highly recommend visiting a Laundromat. If you have access to a washing machine follow your regular care routine by washing your inserts in hot water with an extra rinse and with a cloth friendly detergent, and your covers in warm water with small amount of detergent and an extra rinse. Line drying is not exactly accessible BUT if you have a balcony at your disposal try to rig a bungee cord from end to end and hang them to dry or ask the hotel if they have a drying rack to use, also a shower curtain works too ;). If you have to resort to tossing them in the dryer make sure you put it at the lowest heat setting possible.
What You’ll Need
I hate to say this but: more than you may think. Prepare your usual day-to-day, plus a few extra. A lot depends on access to laundry, and your length of stay. While you may think cloth is bulkier than disposables, think again.
VacuPak – Cloth diapers are perfect for vacuum-packing. They easily stack together and when vacuum-sealed, the package can almost be as small and thin as a large zip-lock bag.
Rope or Bungee’s – These two items are ideal for some makeshift drying lines. Drying the inserts in a dryer won’t damage them BUT drying your shells in the dryer can delaminate the PUL (waterproof barrier).
Spray Hose – compact and very useful. It attaches to faucets on sinks, tubs, showerheads, or toilets! Easily spray off debris from your diaper and place in a wet bag.
Wet Bags – buy some small ones for your purse, medium ones for your luggage and large ones to put in a garbage pin to use as a makeshift diaper pail .
Leaving… on a Jet Plane
Ok, so that song is oh-so-70s, just around the time the disposables reared (pun intended) their ugly little collective heads.
If you are flying or travelling the tracks, and your little one is wearing cloth, double-up on the inserts for maximum absorbency. Carry a small wet bag in your carry-on with a fresh cloth diaper inside of it. Once your little needs a change (after about 2-3 hours) you have a fresh one handy and a spot to put the soiled one.
The Unbearable Cost of Baggage
Going to visit your MIL for a few weeks? Why not ship some of your diapers ahead? Vacuum-seal a stash and off they go.
Cloth vs Disposable Wipes
When travelling the extra bulk of a pile of cloth wipes can weigh you down. I suggest a small vacuum-seal Ziploc baggy full of them to maximise luggage space for your carry-on. If you feel like they just will not be used, I suggest buying flushable wipes that are totally biodegradable, like Mio Wipes.
Why AI2s are great for travelling.
No need to keep changing the entire diaper unless the cover gets soiled. Just undo the insert from the inside of the diaper shell and snap in a new one. Quick, easy, and way easy to travel with.