Today I'm going to talk a bit about my favorite ways to travel while still using cloth diapers, but first I will list some of my credentials in this area:
- my kid was on over 25 flights during her first year of life (I lost track after that, but I know it's more)
- we moved halfway across the country when my daughter was 4 months old
- during our move, we were in and out of hotels and without our "household goods" (that's what they call the stuff in the moving van) for about a month
- we have immediate family in 7 states and have visited 6 of them with Penny
- we have traveled by plane, train, and automobile with the baby in tow
- use a diaper service at your destination
- pack diapers and launder them where you're staying
- pack diapers and use a laundromat
- pack diapers and hand wash them
- pack enough diapers to use them and bring them home dirty
- use disposables
1. Use a diaper service at your destination. This option is perfect for when you're staying with family/friends and are shy about asking to wash dipes in their laundry machines or when you're staying somewhere without laundry facilities. I bring my own covers and small wet bags (the ones that go in the diaper bag), and the diaper service provides the prefolds and the large wet bag. I've done this twice now, and it really simplifies everything. Nothing extra to pack or cart home. All the convenience of sposies with all of the clean, healthy, fresh, green benefits of cloth. It usually costs under $20 for a week (depending on how many dipes you need), which is probably what you'd spend on a pack of sposies, and diaper services are almost everywhere these days.
2. Pack diapers and wash them at your destination. This is perfect if you're staying in a rental, timeshare, or condo with a washer & dryer, or if you're staying with family members who are supportive of cloth. Remember to pack your own detergent, and it's probably a good idea to do a load of towels or other clothes with your detergent in the washer first–just to clear out any remaining buildup/residue. If there's no washer on site, you can take your dipes to a laundromat or wash them by hand (although I do think using a service is better than washing by hand). I did both of these while we were moving and staying in hotels. If you ask at the front desk of your hotel, they are usually helpful about directing you to the closest laundry facilities. Often times, there are even laundry facilities on site that you can use.
3. Pack enough diapers and bring them home dirty. This is really only practical for very short trips, but if you're headed out for just a night or two, this is totally an option. Although, I always wonder what would happen if TSA had to hand-search a bag of dirty diapers. Talk about a dirty job.
When packing diapers for travel, I prefer to bring either flats, prefolds, or a Flip/Grovia AI2 type system with inserts/covers. Pockets and AIOs don't pack well in my opinion, as they take up so much space. Also, it's a good idea to throw any dirty diapers in the wash right before you leave so that they aren't sitting dirty the whole time you're gone. If you want to completely avoid sposies, you'll always need at least a couple cloth dipes for the day of travel there and back, even if you are using a service at your destination.
Happy travels, folks! Where are you headed on your next vacation?