We, as a family, love to travel and have since the boys were itty bitty. Asia, the Caribbean, the Rockies, the beach, Grandma's house. It is just what we do as a family and how we spend our discretionary income. Often, I am asked about traveling with cloth. After many years and lots of trial and error, I have distilled my answer down to this: It is all about the washing machine.
Its all about the Machine
If the washing machine is one you trust (that of a family member or close friend), then I say go with it and there are lots of things you can do to make it easier. However, if you are relegated to using a public washing machine, I would say “Proceed with Caution.” While some public washing machine are spotless, top of the line, power houses, many are not. There is nothing worse than washing your diapers in a machine with loads of detergent build up or where the water temperature has been turned down to save money. Coming home from vacation with diapers that need to be stripped and smell as they didn’t get clean enough is no vacation at all. It can make even the most amazing trip memories turn sour quickly.
One issue to be mindful of when using a different washing machine is that the diapers might not smell and feel the same way they do at home. Water quality differs across the country. If you have soft water in your neighborhood but travel somewhere with hard water, there may be detergent build up. Perhaps you generally use the sanitize cycle on your washing machine but the one at your destination is more basic and does not have such a feature. Recognize that you may need to do an extra rinse or two and that is simply part of the adventure of travel. Don't forget to bring your detergent. We are big fans of RockinGreen and really love their sample sizes for travel.
What else do you need?
If you do have a good washer lined up and want to do cloth, there are some things that can make life easier. Invest in a great wet bag or for a longer trip, bring along a pail liner. Toss a citrus circle or diaper buddy in there in order to keep the smells down. One or both of these really are necessary for trips. You need a place to store all the diapers and the ability to keep any smells out of the hotel room or Grandma’s guest room. There are many great ones out there with my favorites being the whimsical prints of Leslie’s Wet Bags and the bright fun colors of the FuzziBunz wet bag.
My next suggestion is to Embrace the Disposable Liner. Disposable liners can be your best friend on trips. Being able to simply flush away the solids and not foul up the diaper too much with those can be wonderful. We know some people bring diaper sprayers along with them and attach to the toilet where they are visiting. That is simply too much work for us so the disposable liners are a great idea.
The diapers you bring with you can determine how much work you do. I am a big fan of the new hybrid diapers such as the Flip by Cottonbabies for travel. They offer several choices of inserts with the disposable being the easiest to use for travel. Just take out and toss the insert and put in a new one. Easy. Even if you choose to use the stay dry or organic insert, they are easy to wash and take up very little space in your luggage. The covers can be rinsed in the sink and hung to dry. So simple it is almost fun.
What not to bring?
Wool covers, while great and when properly lanolized, extremely waterproof, are hard to dry. They must be dried flat and can take a long time, particularly in humid weather. They do not tend to be a great traveling option. In addition, we have found that if being line dried, bamboo diapers can take a bit of time to dry in humid weather.
Whatever you do, have a safe and fun trip. Remember, the most important thing to bring is your senses of humor and adventure.
Of course we have a Giveaway! We love Flip Diapers for travel and want you to try one too! So, a Flip diaper will be given away on Feb 25th to a randomly selected entrant. In order to enter:
- Fan Cottontail Baby on Facebook
- Join the Cottontail Baby mailing list
- Fan the Cloth Diaper Retailer Cooperative on Facebook
- Fan the Cloth Diaper Retailer Cooperative blog