Cloth Diapers and Traveling – Would You, Could You, On a Plane?

Whether expectant parents are choosing to cloth diaper at home because it’s the healthiest option for their baby or the better option for the environment – or both – the exciting news is that an increasing number of families are choosing to cloth diaper! Modern cloth diapers and accessories have made cloth diapering an easy and convenient choice for parents.  Plus, it’s easy to get into a cloth diaper routine at home, with options to use a service that provides weekly laundry and delivery or washing them on your own at home.

For many parents, the big diapering dilemma comes when it’s time to plan – and pack – for a vacation. If you want to continue with cloth diapers while you’re away, it can be done. Or, use disposables or a combination of the two in order to have some flexibility. Whatever the case, choose the option that works best for your family.

My husband and I loved using cloth diapers and especially loved the convenience of using a service – so much so that eventually we purchased the business, Baby Diaper Service! With our eldest son, we used cloth diapers for road trips. When we traveled by plane however, we used disposables because it felt easier at the time. Our second son had particularly sensitive skin; we discovered that the plastic and chemicals in disposable diapers caused terrible diaper rash. We know of numerous families who choose to use cloth diapers outside of the home for similar reasons. Others have shared they prefer not to leave the waste behind. With some planning and creative packing, we learned how to use cloth diapers while traveling.

We recently asked our customers who routinely use cloth diapers while traveling to share their tips and here’s what they said…

In general:

  • When traveling with cloth diapers, use disposable liners. This will allow you to easily dispose of the solids and minimize the odor.
  • Use reusable swim diapers. They’re more comfortable for children, easy to wash, and create zero waste.
  • Pack what you’ll use. Pack the same number of cloth diapers and covers as you would normally use in the same amount of time at home.

Traveling by car:

  • Use a 5-gallon bucket with a lid to use as your diaper pail. It takes less space than a diaper pail, won’t tip over in the car, works great to use once at your destination, and can contain soiled diapers on the return trip home.
  • Use a double bag as your diaper pail liner and sprinkle baking soda in the bag with the diapers to neutralize the odor. Bring extra zip ties too!

Traveling by plane:

  • Pack a few days’ worth of prefolds and covers in each bag.
  • Divide your diapers and accessories into several separate bags, in case your luggage gets detained or lost. e.g. in the carry-on, in the checked luggage, etc.
  • If you are bringing the wet and soiled diapers home, use a large Ziploc® bag. Press the air out, zip it up and pack them in checked luggage. You might be surprised by how many prefolds you can get in those bags!

If you’ll be washing your cloth diapers while traveling:

  • Research laundry facility options ahead.
  • Pack enough diapers and covers for 2-3 days. Bring your preferred cloth diaper detergent and place inside Ziploc® bags or empty shampoo bottles.

Another option to consider is that many local diaper services will provide their service to visitors within their service area for a reasonable rate. It may be worth a phone call to check.

Traveling with cloth diapers generally takes a bit of planning and creativity, but it may be a good fit for your child and family. Most importantly, enjoy your vacation and your time together!


About the Author

Carolyn Janisch  grew up in the Seattle area  and is raising three boys with her husband, John, on the Eastside.  She enjoys spending time with her husband, three  sons, extended family and friends. In her spare time, you can find her out hiking or enjoying time out on the water in the sunshine! Before owning and operating Baby Diaper Service, Carolyn enjoyed a  career  with the  Boeing company, followed by The Little Gym International. Baby Diaper Service is the premier diaper service in the Puget Sound, servicing customers with the highest quality products and highest level of customer service since 1946. Baby Diaper Service makes it simple,  convenient,  and affordable for families to choose cloth  without adding extra work to their already busy lives  – simply change your baby and drop the diaper in the provided pail. No rinsing, no soaking, no pins. Let Baby Diaper Service do the dirty work!

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