I remember when I went on my first trip with cloth diapers; I was a little hesitant about how it would work. This would be my first time traveling with cloth diapers! To my surprise, it went very well, and there are only a few things I would do differently next time. I can say without hesitation that after completing my first trip, I plan to travel with cloth again in the future. For me, traveling with cloth turned out to be easy and even fun!
Since summer is nearly upon us and the time for summer vacations almost here, I thought I would give you my top tips for traveling with cloth diapers. Here’s my top five:
1. Call ahead
It is essential to call ahead and ask the person with whom you are staying if it is okay to use their washer to clean your cloth diapers. Although I have not experienced this, I have heard that some people may be skeptical about washing diapers in their machines. I would suggest you kindly explain to them that washing cloth diapers are completely sanitary and it will not dirty or damage their machines in any way.
2. Plan ahead
It is also crucial to carefully plan so that you pack enough diapers. I can think of little that would be more disastrous on vacation than running out of diapers for your little one. About a week before leaving for vacation carefully track your child’s diaper changes for 3-4 days. It is most important to know just how many diapers you use each day. When doing this, I even kept track of what type of diaper I used (for example, FuzziBunz 1-size double-stuffed) so that I would have an accurate picture of exactly what I used each day. Next, decide how often you would like to wash diapers. If you decide you want to wash diapers every other day, bring enough diapers for two days plus 1 to 2 extras for emergencies.
3. Decide on washing schedule
Since my little one goes to bed several hours before I do each night, I decided it was most practical to wash her diapers after she was in bed while on vacation. This had two benefits; first, we tended to be away from the house most of the day which made washing during the day nearly impossible and second, it allowed for all of the diapers (except the one she was sleeping in) to be clean and fresh every other morning. Even if you do not usually wash when your little one is in bed (which I usually do not), I would suggest this pattern while vacationing to make your life easier and to allow for the most time to enjoy the vacation.
4. Bring detergent
Because cloth diapers need to have a specific cloth diaper friendly detergent, I would highly suggest bringing your own detergent to avoid being stuck using a detergent that could damage your diapers. The absolute best way to do this is to get sample packets. If you do not have sample packets, I would suggest measuring out how much you will need (being sure to add a little extra for good measure) and bringing it along with you.
Tip: When I find free samples and coupons for laundry detergent or basically anything baby/baby care related, I immediately share it on our Facebook wall and Twitter account so be sure to check there often!
5. Use disposable diaper liners
While away from your house, you are likely away from your diaper sprayer, as am I. Thus while traveling I decided to use Bummis Bio-Soft disposable diaper liners to catch the solid waste. I found these liners to be extremely convenient and easy to use. The one time I did not use a liner, we (of course) had a bowel movement, it was a huge mess, and I instantly regretted it and vowed to always use a liner when traveling!
Traveling with pre-folds can be way easier. We experienced this first hand on a trip to Chicago.
I carried my diaper pail, all my pocket diapers, and my detergent to the hotel where we were staying. I did a load of diapers every morning on the slowest machines I had ever seen in my life. (The hotel had a washer and dryer for guest use). It literally took 3 hours out of every day. I was glad to spend the time as opposed to using disposables- but it was a hassle.
Just for curiosity, when I arrived home, I called one of the diaper services in Chicago. They would have dropped off clean pre-fold diapers before we arrived at the hotel and picked them up after we left. This was something they had done many, many times. It would definately been worth the $30-$40 dollars.
After hearing my story- a customer of mine took advantage of the diaper service in Denver, CO on a recent trip. She was going to stay for a week with friends. It is a big awkward to ask someone if they mind you using their washing machine everyday or every other day for a week. So instead she called ahead to the local diaper service and set up service for a week. You usually need to give them 2 weeks notice- but they are almost always willing to oblige. If you at least have some covers and pre-folds as part of your “stash” of diapers, you can more easily use a diaper service when traveling.
I just wanted to throw my two cents in. You sometimes don’t think about traveling with cloth until you are reading to get in the car and go!
Have you ever traveled with cloth diapers? What was your experience? What are your top tips?