As many of us hit the road for summer travel, there’s a common question raised by cloth diapering parents: can I travel with cloth? How do I make it easy?
Along with stories from three veteran N&G moms, Amber, Kelly, and Anne, of how they cloth diapered while on the road (and in the air), here are five tips to make it a trip to (not) remember.
Know What You Like
Being in unfamiliar places and in cramped spaces is not the time to try out the cutest new diaper out there. Bring what you know and what you’re comfortable with so that changes go quickly and easily. If you do want to try out a new style or combo, purchase your diapers far enough ahead of time that you’ve got time to try them at home a few times first.
And knowing what you like doesn’t just apply to the diapers themselves – if it’s possible, pack your diapering supplies in baskets or pretty bags that will make you smile each time you see them. The comforts of home and feeling organized and stylish go a long way to the sense of satisfaction and relaxed-ness that should accompany a good trip.
Know Your Storage
No matter how you’re traveling – car, train, boat, RV, or airplane – you want to be judicious with your use of space. Pocket diapers, such as the AMP Duo, with microfiber inserts or the BumGenius One-Size Microfiber insert are a great inexpensive thin-yet-absorbent option. Covers with prefolds are also very trim. Plus, prefolds can be rolled up like socks and stuffed in between other items, making for very efficient packing!
The FLIP diaper is also one that excels in a travel situation, because it was created with versatility in mind – it’s a trim cover with your choice of three inserts: organic cotton, microfiber, or a disposable biodegradable insert. For example, if you have a 14-hour plane ride to Australia in your near future, the flexibility of the biodegradable disposable insert may be just for you.
Know How Often You Can Wash
If you won’t have access to laundry facilities and will be hauling a week’s worth of diapers home, you’ll obviously pack differently than if you’ll be staying in someone’s home and can plan to wash every day or two. Be sure to think through your trip and then plan for the longest stretch you’ll have to go between washes. If you’re camping, you can wash in the campsite and save space on the number of diapers you have to haul around.
If it’s going to be more than 3-4 days between washes, be sure you have a large, zippered wetbag to haul the dirties, plenty of diapers and wipes, and some Rockin’ Green Shake It Up! pail fresherner if you’re worried about stink. (Stink really only becomes an issue if there’s lots of solids left on the diapers or if diapers are left for several days in a hot location. However, in close quarters, like a car, adding a deodorizer to your wetbag can be a way to feel extra-secure that no one will be able to complain as you cross the miles – at least about stink, that is.)
In French cooking, it’s called mise en place (“everything set in place”), but in everything else, it’s merely “preparation is everything.” Before you hit the road or head to the airport, have all your diapers and accessories ready to grab – pocket diapers stuffed, prefolds folded and placed inside their covers, all diapers prelined with flushable diaper liners (for especially easy poop management), water bottles filled, and wetbags packed. That way, no matter where you end up doing diaper changes, you can change quickly and neatly. (Other parents will marvel at your calm demeanor and obvious skill….)
Prepare for the Worst
There’s nothing worse than not having diapers when you need them, say, if the airlines lose your luggage (the ones where you packed all your diapers) or you run out of diapers in your carry-on – that makes a normally stressful situation hit Level 5 in no time flat. Be prepared for the worst by having diapers available in multiple bags and locations, with wipes and small wetbags too of course, so that should stressful events happen, figuring out how to Get Diapers Right Now won’t elevate the stress level.
If you’re still leery of traveling with cloth, be sure to check out our whole series on Cloth Diapers on Vacation. There you’ll find more tips and strategies on cloth diapering away from home, including Cloth Diapers on Vacation :: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Cloth Diaper Laundry on Vacation, and Cloth Diapers on Vacation :: Camping.
We’d love to hear from you too – what ways have you made traveling easy with cloth diapers?