Travel & Vacation with Cloth!

I love this awesome blog post on Diaper Junction which poses the question to readers:

“Do you pack paper undies when you head out of town?”

I hope you don’t have to! And neither should your baby!

tent ovalWhether you’re camping locally, flying to a hotel out of the country, or anything in between, it is possible to take cloth along! All it takes is planning, which is necessary for travelling anywhere with a baby, even a quick trip to the grocer, whether you cloth diaper or not.

airplane oval


In order to be prepared, you need to consider where you’re going, how long you plan to stay, how you’re travelling, and how you plan to launder (if applicable).


But above all these things, I can tell you, from both having heard it suggested and from experience, the biggest piece of advice I can give you: take what you know works! Being on vacation is not a good time to find out that a certain diaper or diaper product you thought would work great turns out to be a total flop. I both took this advice and failed to follow this advice when I took diapers I knew would work best for my son and daughter, but assumed disposable liners would help us tremendously. Turns out, disposables liners irritated both my kids’ bums, mostly my daughter’s super sensitive skin, and had I tried that before vacation to make sure it’d work alright, I could’ve avoided the nasty rash she ended up with as a result on our first day out. (Fortunately a thin layer of hydrocortisone cleared her by the next morning). So if you’re thinking of taking a certain cream, detergent, liner, diaper system, wet bag, anything that you’ve never used or tried before, do a trial run before vacationing.

In considering where you’re going, you have to decide what you need to take. If you’re going someplace with a water park or to a beach, you’re going to need swim diapers, which may mean fewer actual diapers are necessary. If you’re going skiing, maybe some wool longies. If you’re going someplace tropical, a wool cover or wrap is actually useful there, too! I took my wool to Florida’s Disney to allow maximum breath-ability while also minimizing diaper laundry. Consider the climate and activities you’ll be doing when deciding what to take.

How long you plan to stay can determine how many diapers you plan to take. If you plan to stay out for a couple days and you have the stash to do so, consider just taking a couple hanging wetbags and washing diapers when you come home. If you are going to be gone for a while, you need to decide how often you plan to wash, then do the math making sure to account for diapers to use while washing already used diapers. For instance, if your baby uses an average of 10 diapers a day and you plan to wash every day using a washer and dryer facility, then you need at least 15 diapers so that you’ll have 5 diapers to carry you through while the original 10 are being washed.

This is also important when considering how you’re travelling. If you’re taking a flight, for instance, you may want to minimize diaper stash to cut back on luggage. On the other hand, if you’re travelling by car, you may have the space to take an entire stash with you! Consider which style of diaper meets your packing needs as well, and remember that vacuum seal bags work with cloth as well! It’s also important to remember changing during travel. For extended rides, consider adding inserts to boost absorbency in order to potentially reduce the frequency of diaper changes.

How you plan to launder, as already mentioned above, determines your stash size, but it also determines any additional items you need to pack and what exactly you’ll use. If you plan to launder using a machine, don’t forget to bring your detergent! If you’re camping and plan to hand wash diapers, it wouldn’t hurt to grab a 5 gallon bucket or even a mop bucket would work! Rubber gloves are a nice luxury to have, and what is your water source? Have a clothes line and pins? Consider stuffing flats into pocket diapers or covers instead of inserts to expedite dry time. If you’re going to a hotel, are there laundry facilities? How long would it cost to dry an AIO on low versus a flat diaper at higher heat with a cover draped over a shower rod to dry? It’s important to consider how you’ll do laundry when deciding what kind of diapers to take along with you, within reason of what works for your child.

suitcase diapers againSo what could a packing list look like?

  • Diapers: preferably a style that works for your laundry routine, the climate you’re heading for, and the activities you’re going to be doing. You’ll need a number that will carry you through until wash day with extra available for during the wash, whether you’re washing abroad or waiting until you’re home. Obvious if you wait until you’re home you don’t have to pack the extra diapers baby will use at home but you want to make sure some will be clean and available when you do come home. The equation?


  • Wetbags: think about how you plan to store dirty diapers during travels, while abroad on vacation, while at your destination; you’ll probably need a hanging wetbag or two, maybe a pail liner with a pop up hamper, maybe just the pop up hamper! Maybe you’re hand-washing diapers on a camping trip, you can bring a 5 gallon bucket with a lid to store dirty diapers in and then just fill the bucket to begin washing them! Some small wet bags are great for during travel, at the beach, shopping, or just out and about.
  • Liners: Whether disposable or reusable, liners are always great to have on hand! They can reduce the struggles of dealing with stools as well as provide a barrier for those instances your baby finds themselves in need of…
  • Diaper Cream/Ointment: this is an essential whether you take cloth or disposables, but can be easy to forget on the long packing list.
  • Wipes: Disposable wipes are just dandy, but if you’re using reusable wipes, don’t forget your wipes solution!
  • Detergent: and any other laundering supplies you may need. If you are using a laundry facility, many are equipped to take credit cards now, but some old school machines may still require quarters. If you’re hand-washing, you may benefit from additions like a clothes line, clothes pins, a clip’n’drip, or a bucket and plunger.

Basically, take a look in your diaper bag and imagine you’re going on a week long glorified grocery trip. Then you essentially ask yourself what you’re going to need more of and what things are you going to need in addition to what is currently in your bag. Most of what you’re going to need is already in your bag in smaller sizes/quantities with the exception of laundering items and maybe swim diapers.

But what about taking cloth diapers on long flights? How do you pack diapers efficiently? How do you hand-wash diapers? How do you deal with poop when away from your beloved toilet sprayer? All of these topics will be discussed in another post!

And remember: choosing to use disposables on vacation is never a poor choice, and there’s nothing wrong with utilizing such a luxury if it makes your vacation enjoyable too! That’s what vacations are for and that’s a more-than-appropriate use of disposables! But if your child is like mine with very bad skin reactions to disposable diapers, don’t worry about vacationing with cloth. Transporting them and making sure you have what you need may require some thorough planning, but the actual use of cloth diapers while on vacation really isn’t any different than doing it at home!

Do you have a question about travelling with cloth you’d love to see answered? Do you have a tip for travelling with cloth? We’d love to hear it! Drop it in the comments below!

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