A mom has to be a little more organized (and dare I say, smarter) to use cloth diapers. Face it, disposables are spontaneous and dummy-proof. Simply buy more when you run out. That's it! With cloth, you research the styles and wash routines, calculate dirty diapers, time and money. When you run out of cloth diapers, you wash them and start over...and there's no simple run to the store to buy more.
Cloth diapering has taught me to become more of a thinker and planner at home. But, traveling with cloth takes that planning one step further. A trip with cloth requires a system, structure, and advanced preparation. I do not appreciate strict regimens invading my impulsive traveling style! Carefree disposables and I seemed a perfect match for the road, and I'd leave the planning for home. For example, some people use (gasp) a list when they pack! Not me. Even before kids (and cloth), I waited until an hour before we needed to leave, and threw some stuff into a bag. With a very busy 3 year old and 16 month old, and pregnant with our third child, there's no hope of suddenly changing my hurried habits, I'm hopelessly unpredictable when I pack and travel! I considered traveling with cloth for about 5 minutes and decided my friends and family wouldn't want me washing dirty diapers in their washing machine, laundromats are a scheduling impossibility, and I absolutely could not survive without my diaper sprayer.
Traveling with cloth sounded like it would drain the fun right out of a vacation. Then, I discovered the Cloth Diaper Whisperer's blog! I saw many different ways to pack diapers, and learned about flushable liners. I even read in the comments that one mom simply throws all her cloth diapers into a big bag and leaves for the weekend! I could do this! A month prior to this trip, I ordered a wonderful Planet Wise Wet/Dry bag from Kelly's Closet. I was remediating my helter-skelter traveling ways, and cloth was helping me do it! The day of our trip, my true colors shone brightly. I realized with absolute horror that I had not washed my diaper stash! I had only 3 clean BumGenius diapers tucked in the diaper bag! How is it possible to have EVERY single diaper dirty, when I needed them ALL clean to begin the trip? Did I mention I'm hopeless? I had a breakdown and told my husband we'd have to buy disposables on the way because of my error. "No way! We've got time, throw them in the wash. We're not spending any more money on diapers. You said so, remember?" Did I really say that? No more disposables?! But this is a cloth diaper emergency! I wasn't talking about emergencies! I tossed the diapers in the wash and glanced at the clock. Didn't he remember our wash routine includes 2 wash cycles and an extra rinse? They would still be wet and unusable...and we had a deadline. I just knew we'd be stopping for disposables that night.
Hours later, we arrived at our hotel, exhausted. There was no dryer to be found, my daughter was wearing the last clean cloth diaper, and I held a bag full of clean, wet diapers (and still no disposables). My eyes searched the room for drying locations, and didn't see many options. Inserts laid out flat would take forever to dry. Remembering the recent post where a mom showed how she hung her diapers on coat hangers, I opened the closet in the room hopefully. One lonely hangar (wooden, no bottom). But a luggage stand stood in the corner, and the light bulb went off with a brilliant brainstorm. Set up in front of the room's A/C unit, the luggage stand was the perfect travel drying rack. My inserts were dry and ready to use in the morning, along with the shells I had hung in various places around the room (I love how they dry quickly no matter where you stick them!). This trip taught me that using cloth diapers when you travel does not mean you sacrifice your spontaneity or personality. You can still be a disorganized, last-minute-packing, and too-busy-to-prepare-for-this-trip mom. You don't have to resort to disposables. You don't even need to remember important things, like making sure your stash is clean for your trip! Cloth diapers are a perfect match for ANY traveler, even the most decidedly unorganized and carefree!
By Julie G.