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Tips for Using 100% Reusable Cloth Diapers On the Road

NameLocationTravel Tips
Heather San Diego Observe everything you do regarding your diaper process for one full laundry cycle prior to the trip. Take notes. Use that as a basis to plan for your trip. Remember these things: clean diapers, wipes & rash ointment for emergencies, a place to put dirties - when out, and when back at your base, laundry detergent, quarters if you'll be using pay laundry. Remember - flats or prefolds and covers pack down really easily so are great spacesavers AND they're really easy to launder - even by hand! Consider getting a travel set if you don't already have one - since they're reusable, it's a great investment!
Catherine Utah When we stay in hotels, I specifically look for one with laundry facilities, the same way I would search for any other amenity important to me. I have a large, zippered wetbag that I made of PUL and fun outer fabric with a handle that can hang from a doorknob, towel rack, or whatever is convenient. Since I don't have my diaper sprayer on the road, I use flushable liners to make poop cleanup easier. Dunk and swish just isn't for me.
Elizabeth NC 1. Get several LARGE wet bags. This makes diaper storage on the go easy! You can just toss the bag into the wash with your diapers! 2. Bring ALL of your diapers with you. Even your not-so-favorite ones. You never know when you'll need one extra. 3. Bring your own detergent and LOTS of quarters (if you will be using a laundromat or hotel laundry facilities). 4. I have found that rolling the diaper into a little ball still stuffed (I use pockets) helps with wet bag space, and helps keep the smell down. 5. Be sure to strip your diapers before you leave. Odds are you won't be able to do it while you are gone. 6. Plan on doing TWO dryer cycles for every wash, especially if you are using hotel washing facilities. These are some tips that have helped me through our many travels and even a cross-country move! :)
Crystal hall Whitby, Ontario Get a good wet bag - this has been our saving grace, there is nothing worse than traveling 15 hours in a car with kids and food and DIRTY DIAPERS! Yuck - so the diapers go into the wet bag - which doesn't let any smells out - and off we trek. We're not world travelers but we do traipse 1/2 way across the country usually 1-2 times a year to visit family and friends and our cloth diapers come with us for each and every trip! Oh and another tip - try and take all of them with you clean - you don't want a load of dirty diapers waiting for you when you get home and showing up at your destination with 1/2 a load of dirty diapers isn't much fun either :) Happy Trails!
Chanda Tennessee I pack the clean diapers, wipes, a small wet bag with wipe solution and diaper rash ointment, and a large hanging wet bag, all in a large bag. If I will need to wash while gone, I will also pack enough diaper detergent. I like having it all in one place and easy to get to. Once you get to your location, pull the hanging wet bag out to use for the soiled diapers. I also take a diaper bag with enough diapers to last until I get to the destination, so I'm not having to deal with all of the diapers while on the road. I typically keep 4 diapers (each in it's own wet bag) and a travel pack of wipes in this bag.
Katy Haderthauer Marion, IA We had a small diaper pail that we threw in the back of our car. Whenever we changed a diaper we just threw the insert/diaper in the diaper pail as normal. When we reached our destination we were all set just like at home. We packed all of our diapers in a separate small bag all stuffed and ready to go so we just had to grab one for a diaper change.
April Dallas, TX Check to see if there is a diaper service in the city you are traveling to. Some diaper services will provide service for you the week or two that you are in town.
Susie Pearson ottawa
Lindsay Evans NC Washington Here is an article I wrote on traveling with cloth diapers: wetbags are key when traveling with cloth diapers. Flushable diaper liners make life a little easier and help to keep diapers cleaner. Bring along lots of diapers and your trusty diaper detergent for washing on the road....
Marie Virginia The first thing we would determine is whether or not we would have laundry facilities where we were going. If so, then I packed our normal fitted diapers and covers, along with some detergent. We washed diapers in family's & friend's washers, and in hotel laundry rooms. The first time we travelled with cloth, we were still using prefolds (thin ones) & flats exclusively, so I would rinse them all out at night and hang them to dry. Then I'd fold them and stick them in a bag until we were able to make our one and only trip to a laundromat. By rinsing them out first and hanging them to dry, they didn't stink!......If we knew that there would be no laundry facilities available, then I packed our flats along with some thin prefolds that I had used when my daughter was a newborn, and some fleece covers. I would also put a small bottle of liquid soap in my bag. Then I would wash the diapers out by hand in a sink in the morning and hang to dry. We traveled for 7 weeks in Italy one summer using this method for my daughter when she was 4 and still wet at night. I would use one flat folded origami style with another flat folded into a soaker pad, covered by a fleece cover. This way, I only needed 4 flat diapers & 2 covers for the whole trip.
Angela Imes Plano, TX 1) Don't be afraid to ask friends or family to use their machine. 2) Have a good wet bag(s) with draw string or zipper so you can close it without a pail if needed. 3) Have plenty of extra diapers in case you don't get to wash exactly when you plan to. 4) Remember that cloth doesn't stink like disposable s do and you won't even notice carrying along diapers in the car or plane.
Heather B. Goldsboro, NC I recently used cloth for the first time on a weekend trip. I used an overnight sized suitcase to pack all of my diapering supplies so that they were all together. I brought twice as much as I thought I would need of everything. The diapers that I brought were all prefolds and flats so that they would dry quickly and not get smelly in the room. I don't have a wet bag so I just brought a large shopping bag to put dirty diapers in. As was previously mentioned, since I didn't have my diaper sprayer, I used flushable liners. When I needed to air out a cover, I just hung it up on the shower curtain rod.......I am so glad that I decided to travel with cloth. It was much easier than I had anticipated, and when it was over, I felt accomplished. I can't wait to cloth diaper on our next family trip!
noreen flaangan johnson masachusetts Traveling during the holidays is stressful enough without having to worry about using cloth diapers while on the road. Luckily, with a little planning ahead of time, using cloth diapers while visiting far-flung relatives for the winter holidays should be no trouble at all!......First thing to consider is how long you will be gone from home.......If you’ll only be visiting for the day, then you’re usual diaper bag stash should do the trick. Just make sure to double-check that you packed it with clean diapers and a small wetbag for the dirties before you leave. (Trust me… I learned that the hard way!)......If your visit will be overnight, make sure to bring enough clean cloth diapers to get you through two days of diaper changes, plus a few extra just to be safe. When using prefold, flat, or fitted diapers with covers, make sure to also bring extra covers! If you are using wool covers, I would suggest packing a few PUL covers as back-ups; you don’t want to have to hand-wash poopy wool longies in the sink during dessert!......If your travels will take you away from home for more than one night, or if you have only a small stash of cloth diapers, that’s when it is time to start thinking about washing dirty diaper laundry. Is there a washer/dryer that you can use wherever you are staying? *NOTE* Please, if you are staying at your great-aunt Myrtle’s house, please call ahead and ask her if she minds you washing your dirty nappies in her machine. While you may know that the washer will be perfectly clean afterward, she may believe that it will smell like poo forever. The holiday season is not the time to be having this argument; save it for another time!......If you have to go to the laundromat to wash your cloth diapers, make sure to pack your cloth diaper laundry detergent of choice. (We recommend Rockin’ Green Cloth Diaper Detergent!) Also, it’s a good idea to call the laundromat(s) to find out if they have top- or front-loading washers, and whether or not their machines use coins. Top loaders are the best bet for washing cloth diapers while away from home – they use more water and therefore require fewer, if any, extra rinses (saving you time AND money!).......Finally, if you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time while using cloth diapers, I suggest packing your clean diapers in your regular large wetbag/pail liner. When you get to your destination, remove the diapers from the bag and stack them somewhere accessible. Use the wetbag/pail liner to store the dirty cloth diapers. When you are ready to go home, your dirty diaper laundry will be already packed and ready to go!
Michelle Rivenburg NJ All-in-two diapers can help keep the bulk in your luggage and in your diaper pail to a minimum.
Melissa Matthews Grand Junction, Colorado I own a diaper service. I occasionally get a call requesting temporary service (for a week on average) while somebody is visiting our area. I drop off so that the diapers will be there (at a relative's house usually) when they arrive, and pick up when they leave. I have also had a friend do this when she visited Ohio. I plan to try this out when I visit Portland next month. Good luck!
Vanessa Harrisburg Many companies makes flushable liners, we use these to minimize any mess that may occur while out and about. This way we may be carrying wet diapers around but at least most of the mess goes in the toilet not with us!
Meredith Miller Brick, NJ My biggest recommendation would be to use flushable liners while traveling. It is easy to rely on a diaper sprayer when you are at home, but impossible to take it with you. When I pack diapers to go on a trip I line them all and then bring the roll with me. ...I also bring ALL of my wet bags, big and small so that I can separate out any really gross diapers from the ones with just a little pee in them.
Reesa Mareitta, Georgia If we have access to a washer and dryer, we 100% cloth as usual. If not, here is our plan: We use disposable inserts in our covers until 48 hours from when we should arrive home. I just rinse out the cover and the wipes in a sink and trash the insert. Once we hit the mark when I know I will be home in time to wash the diapers, we start using 100% cloth. We usually use cloth wipes the entire time and rinse them out as we go. I have about 4 days worth of cloth wipes.
anj hamilton, ontario check and see what laundry facilities exist where you will be traveling. or see if there's a local diaper service that will let you use cloth for just a week (or two...or three...)...• bring covers that can be washed with the diapers, and bring your simplest care diapers (you don't want to have to be finicky while vacationing). ...• bring along a BIG zippered wetbag to keep the stinkies in. also bring your own laundry supplies - detergent and dryerballs.
Selena Everywhere my Passport takes me Keep your routine simple and realistic. Take just as many diapers as you need (not everything you own), plus 2 extra, just in case. Also, take a good wetbag (I suggest Planetwise) that really holds in odors and wetness, and pre-measured laundry detergent. ......Personally I use wool 100% of the time, but when I am traveling I use PUL. Also, consider what your washing situation will be like. I was in the Caribbean with DS #1. It was so humid my organic prefolds took 3 days to dry!!! Next time I went to a humid climate, I opted for muslin flats - if you don't mind synthetics polyester pocket diapers would have also been perfect in this case.......While you may prefer AIOs at home, consider a 2 part system while traveling if you will be hang drying, or aren't sure if you will have a hot dryer. If washing is not a concern, use whichever system is your favorite.
Melanie Columbia, SC Wet Bags are your friends- have many. Planet Wise Wet/Dry bags are the best. Clean in one side dirty in the other.
Jacki dallas make up an extra container of wipes, just in case, and have TWO wet bags for storing the diapers, not just one. Otherwise, I don't do much different, I guess! Most hotels have a guest laundry, but I recommend washing them twice.
Pamela Goldsboro NC I traveled to Okla. City this past Christmas (by car) and I just loaded my cloth diaper dresser. When I visit my hubby's family in VA. I pack on diaper bag full of CDs. That will usually get me a weekend pass. I wash right before I come home and everyone is happy!!! On a plane, I would just pack CDs in a duffel bag and pack some in my carry on for "on the plane" changing.
Lori Utah If you are in a car, toss dirty diapers in a 5-gallon bucket in the trunk with a little laundry soap. The motion of the car agitates the diapers and starts the cleaning for you. Travelling with one-size diapers helps if you have two children of different ages. I had a baby and a toddler who wore the same size, so I didn't have to worry about taking two different sizes.
Brooke Matherne San Antonio, TX When I was asked to write about traveling and cloth diapering it occurred to me, my cloth diaper adventure began while traveling. My husband was deployed so my 7 month old son, two 95 pound German Shepherds and I set off for a cross country adventure. It was in my first stop that I met some Moms who introduced me to cloth diapering. After months of horrible diaper rash and countless doctor visits I decided to give it a try. Happily for me and for Tristan's poor heiny within one week of our switch his rash had cleared. ... ...I have learned a lot in these past few years of cloth diapering at home and on the road. We typically travel by car, but have made half a dozen plane trips as well. If you are planning a trip this summer or anytime there are a few important steps to take to ensure that your vacation and cloth diapering goes easily. First, you really need to study your child's diaper routine for a few days. Right everything down. You will want to figure out how often you change your child, how many wipes you use and what type of diapering accessories you can't live without. Once you figure out your daily needs you will need to decide if you want to wash while on vacation or wait until you return home. Now is the time you need to decide if you will cloth diaper full time or use a hybrid system like g Diapers or Flip. ... ...I don't have set diapers I take while traveling. I plan my diapers around our travel plans. If we are going to be visiting friends or family then I would take my normal home diapers (for me an assortment of pocket and all-in-one diapers). You may want to make sure who ever you are visiting is OK with you using their washing machine or that your hotel has access to a machine. However, if we will be traveling by air and paying ridiculous fees per bag, then I would opt for a flat diaper and covers. Flat diapers take up very little room and can be folded differently to fit both a newborn and a toddler. Another good option is a one size diaper. I really like these diapers for families that have more than one child in cloth at a time. If your vacation plans call for a lot of activities you may prefer to use one of the hybrid systems during the day and your usual night time diaper. In general you will want 2-3 days worth of diapers, a dozen or so wipes, a wet bag for day use and a pail liner or large wet bag for the hotel. Plus, your detergent, any diaper creams or ointments and a wipe solution and perhaps the most important, a flushable liner to aid in clean-up. ...... ...My favorite tips: ......Wash out your diapers and air dry until you are able to wash. This will prevent any unwanted smells lingering in your hotel room. ...Pack a separate suitcase for all your diaper needs. It helps keeping them all together. If traveling by car you may prefer to use a basket for easy access. ...Don't try a new system on the road. My first plane trip in cloth ended with both of us being soaked because I didn't know the new diaper I bought required a cover. ...Check to see if there is a diaper service in the area. For a nominal fee you will have everything you need without any extra work. ......Whatever you decide don't be afraid to try cloth on vacation. It is surprisingly easier than you would think. Your baby will feel better and you will be helping the environment. For more inspiring travel diapering tips (including one mom's rain forest adventure) visit the Real Diaper Association for stories and advice from Real Moms using Real Diapers on Real Babies. .........Brooke Matherne is the co-owner and founder of Eden's Baby in San Antonio, TX. She has been full time cloth diapering her two children since August of 2007. She is currently training to become a RDA Diaper Circle Leader. She teaches monthly cloth diaper classes in San Antonio and around Texas. ...This was originally written for the blog My Tot Travels ......If you would like to read more from Brooke join her blog at
Jennifer Enders NJ We use 100% cloth diapers while traveling for one to two months at a time with my husband's band. Since travel is a way of life for us, I was determined to make cloth work on the road. ...For a short one week trip I would recommend using bumgenius's Flip or the Grovia (Grobaby) system. Because of the length of our travel I actually brought my entire stash of Bumgenius 3.0 one-size on the road and used them the same way we do at home. ...I make sure to book hotels that have guest laundry rooms. If you're on vacation, the thought of doing laundry may not be appealing, but if you throw the diapers in the wash before you begin your bedtime ritual you'll find that you're not wasting vacation time with "work" and it's really not a hassle. Hotel dryers are usually the worst. They rarely dry in less than two cycles, and sometimes it takes three. I recommend putting diapers that need a dryer in for one cycle and then hanging them in the hotel room to dry the rest of the way over night....The Flip and Grovia work well on the road, even without relying on disposable inserts. The cloth inserts are smaller than carrying around pocket diapers, so you can take more of them to extend time between washes. ...More about our travels with cloth diapers can be found on my blog:...
Brandy Miracle Troy, MI We have done car trips and camping. We take flats and covers for camping because we can easily wash them in a soapy bucket, rinse and hang on the trees or tents to dry. Their fast, easy and try folding works great......When on a car trip we take 2 Happy Tushies Zipper pails, one clean, one dirty- we have a large stash so we don't have to wash as often but that way we have a separate amount. ...When flying- take one suitcase for your diapers, 2 zipper pails, clean flying out, dirty flying in .... They can search your bag if they don't believe you right? Their nose will know as soon as they unzip the pail. But no one else will because the zipper pails keep odors in and the suitcase keeps it all in too!
Susie Pearson Ottawa, ON
Jill Illinois Take all your diapers and wipes, even the worn out ones, just in case! Rent a place that has a washer or borrow a friends' washer! If all else fails, use the bathtub!
Jonathan Medford, MA While camping, you can boil cloth diapers for 15 minutes with a small amount of soap, rinse and hang dry.......Read more about our experience with it at
Katie W Ohio I prestuff my pocket diapers and bring a extra pail liner to keep them in!!
Pamela Olson Long Beach, CA 1. Bring a large wetbag (or 2 if possible) I have the PlanetWise Hanging Wet/Dry Bag and it works great on trips....2. Check for laundry facilities before choosing where to stay...3. Bring enough detergent...4. Remember you can wash by hand and hang dry as well.
Courtney New Jersey When we went away recently I bought a small container with a lid, in it I packed all my clean diapers for the time we where gone, minus what I packed in the diaper bag for the way there. Once we got to our destination I unpacked the diapers and then used the container for my dirty diapers. I packed the unused diapers in my diaper bag for the trip home. It was easy! I also made sure that the hotel we stayed at had a place for me to launder my diapers if I needed to and made sure to bring a small detergent sample with me for that!
Bella Troy, NY I think it would be wise to find out ahead of time from the hotel where the closest laundromat is or if the hotel can do it for you. Best not to leave this to the last minute when you're there.
Katharine Ft Bragg, NC We LOVE flushable liners and the planetwise wet/dry bag. Don't leave home without them! {and the babies, too, of course :)}
Heidi Johnson Raleigh, NC My suggestions are to bring lots of diapers, bring more than one wetbag and bring your own detergent so you can wash your diapers.
Mary M. Wyoming double-check your process when doing laundry away from home - it's easy to just follow your routine and not realize the dryer was on high.
Lisa Washington Make sure you take plenty of cloth diapers with you, in case you aren't able to wash as often as you think you'll be able to. Also make sure to bring a large wet bag with a zipper or drawstring closure. Bring your own detergent since you may not be able to buy or borrow cloth diaper friendly detergent.
Erin Pellot Point Pleasant, NJ I make sure when I am visiting a relative they are on board with me using their washer. I also get a few small containers and pre-measure detergent so I do not need to bring the whole container.
Heather Aguilar California Put your dirty diapers in a bucket w/ a lid in the trunk of your car while traveling if you will be on the road for an extended period of time.
Kathleen NY state Birdseye flats. They're a bit intimidating at first, but if you use prefolds you already have the covers and snappis (or pins). Folding flats to look like prefolds is really no big deal. They're cheap enough (I think I paid $1.25 each, and I saw disposables in the airport for $2.50 each) that you don't have to worry about losing one or two or washing them perfectly (I just use whatever soap is around and carry some powdered disinfectant since its short term). They dry easily hung up overnight in a hotel room, or even in a hot car, so you just have to find a place to stay that is near a laundromat or has washing facilities. ......The biggest challenge for me when flying is space. Flats also seem smaller than carrying prefolds or all in ones, since they're easier to stuff into the nooks and crannies of your carry-on luggage. I have flown on multi-leg trips on flights where I expect to be asked to gate-check one of my bags, so before I board I put only a few diapers in the bag I'm carrying on to that flight and the dirties from the previous flight into the gate-checked bag to save space. I also pack a little tote within my larger bag so that I can grab it to go to the airplane bathroom quickly if I only have a minute of fasten-your-seat-belt light off time.......Also: I use disposable wipes when out and about, but the flushable ones are so much easier to deal with. (I have no idea why they make non-flushable wipes). They're sold as "toddler" wipes, but they're fine for any baby. For me it helps when I'm trying to change a squirmer in a tiny airplane bathroom or have a toddler on the toilet to be able to toss the wipes into the toilet and not deal with the garbage.
helenlam Oakland, CA 1. Get a wet bag! They are so handy for lots of other things besides storing diapers....2. Bring sample sized laundry detergent with you. Or pre-pack liquid detergent into small bottles
Karen Union, SC Use Flushable Liners if you need to, bring your wet bag and you are set! I have never had any issues cloth diapering and traveling. You can always wash your diapers by hand if you had to.
Kayti North Carolina Stick to the easy-to-wash diapers.... prefolds and flats
Meaghan Primm Spokane, WA Flats and PUL covers! Birdseye flats are absorbent and super easy to handwash in the tub and dry quickly when hung to dry - as do the PUL covers. I will also take a wool interlock pull on cover to put over the pul cover for night time leak prevention (and obviously doubling up on the flats).
Bao Seattle, WA I would first tell them to have grace for themselves and their children. Disposables are wasteful, but is it worth being angry at yourself or frustrated at your children? ......Secondly, I *know* that it is possible to use 100% while traveling. So my tip would be to pack AIOs & biodegradable liners that can be thrown away.


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