Take cloth on vacation not a vacation from cloth!
In the last 15 months we’ve been cloth diapering baby #3, we’ve taken several vacations. As my husband has a flying phobia, we drive…everywhere. This makes traveling slightly easier but MUCH longer. In September 2015, we took a two week road trip to Disneyland. In January, we did another to Northern California for about 5 days, and then last month, we did a 10 day trip to help my in-laws move closer to us.
Traveling with kids requires more planning than traveling with just adults. Traveling brings lots of changes: long periods confined, unfamiliar sleeping quarters, irregular routines, etc. You need to be flexible and pack wisely, but that same logic can be applied to traveling with cloth as well. The following are a few of my personal tips for traveling successfully with cloth:
· You don’t need your whole stash.: I promise. You really don’t. Pick your favorites and the ones that coordinate with the most clothing items you’re already bringing. Leave the ones that cannot be replaced at home. You don’t need more stress than necessary. Make a list of what you pack. You will need this to reference when you pack to go home so that nothing gets left behind! Bring enough to get you through two days plus two more for emergencies, that way you can wash every other day. If you want to wash every day, you only need to bring enough for just over one day. Example: kid uses (on average) 8 diapers a day, so I can bring 10 and wash every day, or I can bring 18 and wash every other day.
· Detergent: If you use mainstream detergent, just buy it when you get there. There’s no reason to bring more than you have to. If you’re traveling to more than one destination as we did in September, buy as small a container as you can when you arrive at your first destination. Restock again as needed. If you are using a specific detergent that isn’t easily accessible, be sure to double bag the container (consider sticking it in a ziplock then a wet bag). The last thing you need is to have to clean up detergent that has spilled over ALL of your vacation things!
· Wetbags/Pail Liners: One pail liner and several wetbags (one for each day/every other day depending on size of wetbag) and truly how many you bring is a preference because I use wetbags for everything (dirty clothes, bathing suits, toiletries, etc) so I bring a lot of them.
· Wipes: Cloth or disposable, your call. You’re going to be washing diapers anyway, and we all know that cloth wipes get the job done with less wipes, so why not? Plus, disposable wipes will take up more room, be heavier, and then require a place to be thrown away unless you want to pick them out of the wash later.
· Rash prevention: I suggest bringing cloth diaper safe rash treatment in spray or stick form (I use CJ’s Butter Spritz but the CJ’s Butter Stick or Grovia Magic Stick are also great for traveling) if necessary. Other CD safe creams can get all over your hands causing you to use more wipes if there’s not a place to wash your hands (which happens a lot while traveling) and more wipes means more laundry (if you’re using cloth wipes) or wasting disposable wipes (wasting money). Sprays and sticks are also faster for those changes where you don’t have the most space for baby to wiggle around and squirm while changing.
· Hand sanitizer: There will be times you don’t have a convenient place to wash your hands while traveling. Even when not traveling with kids, hand sanitizer is always a must.
· Consolidate by type: When packing, keep all of baby’s stuff together. Pack the diapers with baby’s clothes, blankets, toys, etc. For us, we have two older girls and the baby. The girls share a suitcase, and the baby gets his own smaller bag. My husband and I share another. This is similar to how our things are laid out at home with each having their own room/closet. If everything is in one place, you’re not tearing through everything to find exactly what you need.
· Easily accessible storage: Pack your diaper bag with more than you’d usually use in one day. Once the car is packed, inevitably the thing you need the most is always at the bottom or farthest in the back. I usually pack two days’ worth of diapers, with rash spray, wipes, and hand sanitizer right in the diaper bag. I repack the diaper bag each night so that it’s ready for the next day.
· Consider liners or bringing your sprayer & Spray Pal: We don’t usually use liners at home, but especially when I don’t have access to a sprayer, I prefer to use disposable liners. Remember these are not flushable but not having the sticky poop stuck to the diaper is a big help. It makes it easier to plop the solids in the toilet and toss the liner.
#Lalabyemama Jordan said, “I took my Spray Pal and sprayer and set it up on vacation since it’s easily portable (especially since we were staying in the same place for the entire trip).”
· Set up a diaper station: At home we use a pail with liner. When traveling, we just bring the liner. We hang it from the elastic on a hook in the bathroom or a hanger in the closet of a hotel room. I also stash wetbags in any of our daily travel bags/diaper bag, in the vehicle, and in the hotel.
· Unpack: If we’re going to be staying in a hotel more than one night, we always unpack the bags into the drawers. Some people just live out of their suitcases, but I find when I do that, my suitcase ends up a huge mess, and I end up emptying it when we get ready to leave and repacking it anyways. This same theory applies for diapers too. I unpack them, that way they’re easy to access and all in one spot with baby’s stuff.
· Just like at home: Treat your diaper station just like at home. When we’re out having fun, I toss everything into the wetbag and then empty it into the pail liner when I get back to the hotel, rinsing out nap/overnight diapers and soiled diapers before tossing in the wetbag as usual.
· Laundry facilities: Whether you’re staying in a rental house, with family, or a hotel, check out the laundry facilities ahead of time (like before you leave on your trip- make a phone call- do you need to bring quarters?) and check it out as soon as you get there. The last thing you want to do is lug diaper laundry to the laundry and stand there for 20 minutes figuring it out. Sometimes I need to research the washer to find out which setting uses the most water or ask about the water temperature (play it safe and use warm over hot). I’d rather have all the info ahead of time than be scrambling when the time comes to wash.
· Wash regularly: Don’t wait too long between washes. In my experience, 3 days is plenty long enough and 2 days is ideal. This is another reason you don’t need to bring your whole stash. Especially if it’s your first time taking cloth on vacation, the laundering part seems to be the most daunting. If you give yourself room to wait longer, then you probably will. If you’re traveling in tropical and humid locations, consider washing more frequently to avoid problems like mold!
#Lalabyemama Jordan said while they were vacationing in south Florida, “I separated the shells and inserts/wetbags/etc when dirty since I was in a humid place (we do it at home, too). That way I didn’t have to worry about super wet stuff sitting with my shells. I put all the shells in a wetbag on the door, and everything else went into the pail liner until wash day.”
· Wash before you pack again: Wash all the diapers you can so that the majority of them are clean when you pack up to go home. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but if it is, it definitely cuts down on the time you’ll spend unpacking once you get home and everything else needs to be washed too.
· Refer to the list you made: Check the list you made when you packed at home and make sure you have all the diapers you came with. The last thing you want is to call the hotel and ask them to look for a dirty diaper that has been left behind.
· Pack as before: Just as you did when you packed to go on vacation, pack for the trip home the same way. The same principle of purposely over-packing your diaper bag and consolidating into one bag applies now, too.
Now, go and enjoy your vacation!