How to Cloth Diaper on Vacation
Going on vacation is supposed to be relaxing and rejuvenating. But, if you’re a cloth diapering mom, the thought of figuring out a diaper routine while traveling can be stressful. Though we respect your decision to take a break from cloth diapering while on vacation, we have some tips for those of you that want to give it a shot! After all, a vacation is a great place to show off all those cute prints.
Beyond having adorable cloth bums, cloth diapering can also SAVE you headaches while traveling. With fewer blowouts, no risk of running out of diapers, and a customizable fit, cloth diapers can actually make travel a little more relaxing. So, today, we’re sharing tips on how to cloth diaper while traveling. Here they are:
How to Cloth Diaper on Vacation
Determine how many diapers you need.
First up, determine how many diapers you’ll need. You’ll need to consider the length of the trip as well as the age of your little wildling. If you’re traveling for just a few days, you might pack enough diapers for the whole trip and avoid washing altogether until you return. But, if you have a lengthier trip, you might opt to pack light knowing you can wash whenever you need to.
A good rule of thumb is to bring one diaper for every two hours of wake time. (For newborns, go for every hour.) So, if your child is generally awake from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm (not including naps), that’s a total of 12 hours. You’d then pack six diapers. Then, make sure you pack nighttime diapers for each overnight plus a few (average 1.5 for each night). This way, you’ll have plenty of diapers for daytime and nighttime!
Again, if you’re going on a long trip, consider only packing enough diapers for just 2-3 days. This way, you don’t have to bring as many, but you still have plenty of time between washes. No one wants to spend their whole vacation doing laundry!
Consider extra protection in the car seat.
When you’re cloth diapering on long road trips, you want to add some extra protection. The tight crotch buckle on your child’s car seat can cause compression leaks. Additionally, your child might snooze while riding and need something with more absorbency. Because of these potential problems, add extra protection.
Try adding an extra insert for more absorbency. Also, wool or fleece pants over your diaper act as an absorbent and moisture blocking barrier for even more protection! Lastly, stay-dry fleece liners, whether purchased or homemade, can keep your kids comfy and dry as you drive to the next rest stop. The point is, take time to think through what goes into your car seat travel diaper!
Make a plan for washing.
Next up, make sure you have a plan for washing. If that plan is not washing at all, that’s fine! But, if you do plan to wash, make sure you locate the washing machine you’re using and confirm you can wash your diapers in it. If staying with a relative or at an AirBNB, they may have some strange, unfounded objection to washing diapers in their machine. Though annoying, it’s good to know that information before you leave.
Do some research on the machine and the community’s water before you go to confirm nothing needs to change about your wash routine. If no washing machine is available, but you’d like to wash them the old fashion way, throw a bucket and plunger into the trunk. You could even use a washboard!
For drying, confirm there’s a dryer. If there’s not, bring a collapsible drying rack and clothespins. You can always set it up in the bathtub of your hotel or put it on the lawn at your in-laws!
Bring washing machine cleaner and your own detergent.
If you’re using someone else’s washer, let’s face it, you don’t know what it’s been through. Fabric softeners. Too much detergent. Poor cleaning practices. Maybe a few markers just went through it. (Haven’t we all been there?) Whatever it is, you don’t want to discover it AFTER you wash your diapers.
So, bring washing machine cleaner and do a quick run before you need to use it. And, of course, bring your own detergent. For the dryer, consider wiping it down to get rid of any waxy film left by dryer sheets. The last thing you want is to get build-up of any kind while on vacation!
Simplify where you can and pack light.
It’s hard, but try to pack light. If you have a washing machine to use, stick to the 1 diaper for every 2 hours rule, and only pack for a few days. For cloth diaper accessories, try to go minimal. Maybe you bring a concentrated wipes solution instead of a gallon jug. And, maybe you go with a type of diaper that’s a little less bulky. (This is especially helpful if you’re flying!)
To keep the diapers packed and compressed, use diaper pods! They’ll fit your diapers and diaper accessories perfectly. Plus, they’re super easy to pack and organize. Be careful not to store your diapers in vacuum seal bags or other airtight methods. Review our article on cloth diaper storage for more information on that!
Go big on wet bags.
In honor of packing light, you probably aren’t going to bring your whole diaper pail. Because of that, make sure to go big on the wet bags. Large wet bags will ensure you’re not packing dozens of tiny wet bags with a few diapers. That makes more laundry and more work for you!
Big wet bags and pail liners will help you consolidate and keep things tidy. It’ll also confirm you don’t have to wash any more often than you want to! But, don’t forget those smaller wet bags. They’ll be great for when you’re out and about once you arrive at your destination.
Don’t forget your swim diapers!
Water safety and cloth diapers are a big deal. Standard pockets and covers with or without an insert are NOT safe for water. They retain water instead of letting it pass through, which creates a tremendous drowning risk and develops poor swim posture. Because of this, it’s important to grab a specialized cloth swim diaper to keep poop in and keep your baby safe.
Make a poop plan.
In the cloth diapering world, we don’t shy away from talking about poop. So, what’s your poop plan while on vacation? You likely won’t have the luxury of your fancy diaper sprayer, so you’ll have to either hand scrub or use disposable liners. The choice is yours! Though we love to promote exclusively sustainable practices, if you need a little break from poop scrubbing while catching some sun rays, we totally get it. Grab those liners!
Understand there’s no shame in some disposables.
Like we said, it’s okay to weigh the pros and cons of disposables vs cloth diapers. Which is better for you in this season? If you decide disposables would be better for the airport and cloth better once you arrive at the destination, go for it! If you want to use disposable or cloth the whole time, that’s okay too. You deserve a true vacation, so let nothing happen that doesn’t bring you peace and relaxation.
Cloth diapering on vacation doesn’t need to be hard. It just requires a little planning!
Where are you headed on your next vacation? Don’t quickly disregard the notion of cloth diapering while you’re traveling. There can be real benefits, and it can obviously save you money. Work through these tips and tricks to consider every part of the cloth diapering vacation journey and embark on your next adventure with your little wildlings!
For more cloth diaper information check out our blog! We share wisdom on cloth diapering and parenting weekly. Additionally, check out our shop of high quality cloth diapers and cloth diaper accessories. We’re a small company focused on delivering the best products and the best knowledge for your cloth diapering lifestyle. Let’s do this together!