Saturday, August 21, 2010

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Carefree Travel with Cloth

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.

18 comments:

Ana B said...

Oh, perfect, that's so me!

Kassi said...

as a mom currently packing for a 2.5 year old and a 5month old (and being 12 weeks pregnant!), I was considering going to the store in the morning for sposies for our 2 days worth of travel.. But now I'm going with an "i think i can, i think I can attitude!" now I just hope the husband remembers to put hte dipes in the dryer tonight!

Sabrina said...

wow, your bravel. I still haven't managed to do cloth and travel at the same time.

It's great to see that cloth can fit any life style choice.

Amy Walker said...

Great Idea! We're staying in a hotel tomorrow night, but it's just one night and I just washed dipes so I'll just bag 'em to wash here Monday night. I'm going to miss my sprayer, but I think I'm just going to be brave and do the 'ol dunk and swish. It's that or disposables and I could buy an extremely cute reusable bundle of fluffiness for what I would spend on disposables for a couple of days! What a waste!

Julie said...

Ana, I'm glad I'm not alone!

Kassi...good luck! I think you can too! :D

Sabrina, thank you!

Stephanie said...

You can definitely travel with cloth - especially on a short trip with little car travel. I wan't wait to try to use complete cloth on our next trip (I did a mix on our last trip).

SoldiersWife said...

My husband deployed when my son was 2.5 weeks old. We live about 12 hours away from our family, so traveling was a given from the start. I really didn't want to use sposies though, so I was determined to figure out some kind of technique that would work for travel.

The easiest time was when he was a newborn. I breastfed so diapers were nothing. I had my planet wise wet/dry bag and I was good. The diaper bag we had for infancy was larger anyways, so it fit right in there and we could have a few days worth of diapers stored in there.

As he got older and diapers were becoming messier, I was concerned about just putting them in the wet bag and waiting until laundry could be done. We were also going to in-laws, parents, and other family members houses. My family is very supportive of cloth diapers, but I wasn't sure how they would feel about me dumping dirty diapers in their washing machines. Turned out, they didn't mind, as long as their washers weren't effected by it. I have also found that the Afresh, washer tabs are amazing to throw in the washer to freshen it up. We use them here in our home about once a week, but I bring one or two in the diaper bag when we travel so I can throw it in whichever washer I had used.

Overall, I think traveling with cloth is easy and pretty simple when you actually do it. I know the idea of it was a little terrifying, lol. Now our little one is 2.5 years old and out of diapers entirely. Now we are just building up a new newborn and grovia stash for baby number two :)

Turns out hubby will be gone for the birth of this one, but I know I will be all set as far as supplies and traveling. I even have a little helper this time :)

Thorson's said...

I'm so glad we were able to use cloth on a 6 day road trip and then a 10 day tenting/cabin vacation. Of course, it helped to have a large stash so I could wash every 3 days, and I waited til we were in the car to tell my husband!

Kasper said...

this is so me! Thanks so much for this post! It gives me hope that I will be able to tackle a flight, a 5 month old, an ADD boyfriend and cloth from Fl to Ct during the holidays!

Maggie said...

I always use cloth when I travel, but one time when we got to the airport I realized I had left the bag I'd packed most of our diapers in right by the door at home. I had 5 diapers in my diaper bag and the one she was wearing. When we got there I bought a pack of disposables, but we never ended up using it because we were able to wash the diapers in the hotel sink and hang them to dry. The hanging ones would be dry just as we needed them. I was so proud of myself!

MieVee @ MummysReviews.com said...

We've done many short trips with cloth, even on long car rides and short plane rides. It is easy, I just pack many diapers into a large vacuum bag and off we go. At worst, we use disposable inserts with diaper covers, a hybrid solution.

Julie said...

I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful comments. I'm glad for anyone that it could help!

In my community, I don't know many other people that use cloth diapers (one other, maybe two), so the support on this site has made such a difference to me!

Thanks for the "Afresh" idea, and definitely should be proud of washing diapers in the hotel sink! I hope the deployment goes by quickly for you, Soldier's Wife. Married to a Marine, so I know how that goes (although mine has a shorter deployment I think).

Hannah said...

A travel tip I used this past weekend when away for 2.5 days: After doing diaper laundry, I used flats (2 flats folded into a rectangular pad) in covers until we left. Right before leaving I rinsed out all the diapers in the laundry sink (about 8 flats... thankfully all just "wet" not dirty) and hung them to dry in the shower. When we got home I threw them in the laundry with the ones from the weekend. It was nice not having to take any wet or dirty ones in the car, but still not having to wait to do laundry until the very very last minute. So, if you have some flats you never use, there's a good use for them!

melissa joanne said...

This is awesome! I'm so glad it worked out for you and you didn't have to resort to disposables! I just managed a 13 hour plane trip with cloth and felt quite accomplished : ) The Planet Wise Hanging Wet/Dry Bag is my new best friend as well. I have a long post about our experience on my blog, too.

PhotogMom said...

This gives me hope!! I've been too shy to ask family memebers to use their washer, so we use sposies. Every summer we rent the same beach house, I REALLY considered bringing the cd stash, but decided it was our first WEEK long trip with our 4 month old...not to mention a 12 hour car ride...I opted for sposies. Thanks for posting this...I think I can, I think I can... We are headed to Washington DC later this fall to visit grandparents and I WILL bring cloth!! :)

Evy'sMama said...

I always use sposies when traveling.. I'm ashamed! I need to get with it and follow your planning tips!!

Kitty said...

I love this! I'm going to be headed on our first longish (5 days) trip and am going to attempt cloth diapering. I'm not sure if I have 5 days worth of diapers, but I'm going to try! I'm going to bring every last cloth dipe I can find, including the prefold stash passed down from an auntie. This gives me hope!!

M and M said...

I cloth diapered our oldest for 1 1/2 years (started late) and now our 9 week old....I have YET to travel with them. I will go to my parents (2 states away) with them because we can wash no problem, but actually vacation with them...I haven't ventured there yet. I'm so scared to pack them all up get there and then have a problem like run out and no washer then have to buy disposables anyway or the thought of carrying home a bag of dirty diapers and we get stuck because of something going wrong!! Maybe one day soon I will try it! : )