12 Days of Clothmas Day 9: Traveling with cloth

(Full Disclaimer: Yes its nearly May and I’m still working on this– I got distracted but am determined to finish all 12 days!)

“I use disposable diapers when I travel, cloth is just too hard to use when we’re away from home.”

Although there are some situations where this may apply, most of the time it isn’t hard to make cloth work away from home– it just takes a little planning.

My traveling cloth stash hanging out in my parents’ guest closet over Christmas.

Cloth is going to require a larger suitcase to travel with, especially if you use a diapering system that takes up more space, like AIOs.

I use one large suitcase for Alice when we travel. All her diapers go in the bottom and I pack the rest of her Items on top. If you are really tight on space you can even use a vacuum bag to place your diapers in. This sort of solution isn’t recommended for long term storage because the elastics need to breathe, but short term it is fine. The basic considerations you need to make when deciding to travel with cloth are: Flying or driving? and Can I wash at my destination or not? The answer to these questions will help you decide how and what to pack.

We’re flying to our destination, what should I check vs. carry on the plane?

If you are flying– you’re going to want a larger diaper bag depending on the length of your flight and how long you will be without access to your child’s main suitcase. I actually pack nearly identically for a road trip because I don’t like digging in her suitcase every time we stop. If you don’t mind and have easy access to the suitcase, you can pack a much smaller diaper bag.  I pack a diaper for each 2 hours we will be without access to our main suitcase, plus an extra. For our flight home, this equates to about 4 or 5 diapers. We use cloth wipes generally– but I keep a couple packs of disposable wipes around for flying. Security doesn’t really like random bottles of water in your carry on luggage (That being said if you must use cloth wipes, just bring an empty bottle through and fill it afterward).

Here’s my diaper bag from our last flight. It doubles as my purse– I use small wet bags to organize mine and my child’s items.

Your kid’s checked bag will have all the typical needs, plus her cloth. I pack all the diapers at the bottom and place her clothes and other items on top in varying wet bags and suitcase organizing cubes.

The bottom of Alice’s suitcase when we went home for Christmas. That’s 3 days worth of AIOs plus a couple spares.

If you can wash at your destination, packing becomes pretty simple– bring enough to get you through to your wash days. For us we like to wash every 3rd day, but if you wanted to pack less you could just wash more often. Also make sure you have appropriate detergent and know what settings to use on the washer at your destination.(If you’re staying at someone’s house use Amazon to ship laundry supplies straight to their house–saves you space.) I even tested my mom’s water since we go home regularly– but if its a one time trip you don’t need to bother with that. A couple washes in hard water without softener will not ruin your stash. I also do diaper laundry the same day we pack and take the few dirties we have with us so they aren’t hanging out in the pail while we’re gone. I use a hanging wet bag for a pail while we’re traveling– so the dirties just go in there and I place it in her suitcase. Make sure you bring at least 2 hanging bags so you can have a clean one to use on wash day.

Here’s what’s in Alice’s suitcase on top of her diapers typically. I actually ditched the packing cubes and use only wet bags now. This way we can use the wet bags for dirties when we go out at our destination.

Tip: If you’re going to be at your destination longer than a weekend– unpack the suitcase.

It makes it much easier to find what you need on a day to day basis. If you’ve ever lived out of your suitcase on a vacation you know what I mean.’

Here’s my setup at my parents’. The guest closet is actually really perfect for our needs with the built in shelving.

I bought cheap dollar store baskets to keep at my parents’ for organizing Alice’s things while we’re there. The closet is really close to the bed so we change her there. I hang our wet bag for dirties on one of the rods in the closet, and the cute little canvas basket at the bottom of the picture is her hamper– I always use her clothing to bulk our diaper loads.

“I can’t wash where we’re going! Its remote/family hates cloth/etc.”

Is there a laundromat nearby? They work fine in the short term. Just select the longest, heaviest wash cycle for both of your washes. I would advocate line drying in this instance– the dryers cost money and sometimes they are not maintained well and get far too hot. If you won’t have access to a laundromat you can still cloth– my stash is big enough I could bring enough diapers for a week without washing. I did a weekend trip to a convention where we stayed in a hotel with no issues. I just kept a hanging wet bag for dirties in the bathroom. I wouldn’t recommend going longer than that though, even if your stash is big enough. If you’re going to be gone longer than a week with no ability to wash your diapers– that’s the one instance I would use disposables. If your kid is allergic to disposable diapers you can always use flats and covers and hand wash. You can hand wash other types of diapers but flats will be the easiest to get clean. Here’s hand washing instructions. You can make cloth work just about anywhere you have access to water– its just a matter of how much effort you’re willing to put in.

I hope I’ve helped you gain confidence in traveling with your cloth diapers! If you have any questions at all leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out. Thanks for reading!


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