People cloth diaper for a number of reasons. Maybe it’s because you have a genuine concern for the environment, maybe it’s all you can afford, maybe you’re cloth diapering for health reasons, or maybe it’s just what you prefer.
Regardless, traveling with cloth diapers is more of a challenge and most people opt for disposables. But you absolutely do not have to. We have had kids in cloth since 2012 and we’ve gone on many trips without buying disposables.
Here’s what we’ve learned…
Can you go on vacation with cloth diapers?
But it takes some planning. We have gone all the way to Maui and back with cloth and even enjoyed some simple weekend trips using pre-folds and covers only. There are a lot of ways to make it work but, again, it takes planning.
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Use it as an opportunity to deep clean, strip, or just do inventory.
One of our favorite things about vacation and being a cloth diapering family is that it allows us to get fully caught up on stripping, cleaning, and sunning our main stash of diapers.
So I always recommend to cloth mamas that if they’re taking cloth diapers on vacation, to not take their normal stash. First, usually those are the more expensive diapers. Second, they can be cleaned and ready to go when you get home. Third, it makes losing any not as big of a deal.
When flying or going on a long drive, choose a fitted diaper or two and a cover
We have found fitted are great for holding a large capacity of urine.
This means they’re great for overnight, but they’re also great for really long car rides or long flights.
We recommend: Workhorse Fitteds
Otherwise, take only flats with you if possible
Yes, you could buy cheapo diapers that you designate just for travel.
However, getting some high-quality flats is honestly the very best solution we’ve found. And I’ll let you in on a secret… I otherwise hate flats.
But for traveling, they are thin and easy to pack. They don’t bulk up or weigh down a suitcase. They are versatile. And most importantly, they can be washed in any environment or stripped easily without frustration.
They’re also fairly inexpensive!
So we pack about 5 flats per diapered child and 3 covers. Sometimes we add in something like a hemp soaker pad for nighttime.
That’s not much space in the suitcase and all you need!
Use only a very small wet bag and clean diapers every night
The bigger the wet bag we’ve brought on vacation meant the more we put off washing our cloth diapers. When in reality a quick wash at night was all that needed to be done and didn’t interfere with our fun. So something just big enough to hold a single day’s diapers is all you should take or you might get caught procrastinating washing diapers right before leaving for home.
Stay somewhere with a laundry facility or at least a place to hang clean diapers
We’ve stayed in standard hotels without any washing machines and in that case we dumped out in the toilet, washed in the tub, rung out, and hung over the shower curtain or in the closet.
It wasn’t ideal.
Most of the time we’re choosing a condo, something on AirBnB, or somewhere with laundry facilities.
A note about washing machines:
First know that flats can easily be washed in a sink or washer or anywhere. But the reason we want to bring up washing machines is because if you have a detergent like Charlie’s Soap that can take off gunk from the washing machine, it’ll end up as gunk on your diapers. So the build-up of everyone else’s soaps and fragrances and such can wind up making your diapers less effective.
This is why flats are superior for traveling. I don’t mind stripping them down and it’s an easy process if they wind up “yucky”.
Choose your detergent wiseley
As mentioned, find a detergent that you can use to clean your diapers but doesn’t also clean the washer. When we go on trips, we typically use Country Save laundry detergent and use half a small trial package per diaper load.
This means we only have to buy one sample package per day of vacation at most because it should be twice as much as we need. Or we can just put in a bunch of powder in a big reusable bag.
Always choose cloth swim diapers
I recommend this to all moms even if they don’t normally use cloth. The elastic on swim diapers is fantastic and they work very well. They also don’t get waterlogged like even the disposable swim diapers can.
More on Cloth Diapering
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!