From camping to babymoons, this generation of parent is proving that travelling with your baby is not only possible, but really enjoyable. Travelling is becoming more accessible to parents every day, with baby changing facilities and family adjustments almost everywhere you go. Whether you're considering cloth nappies or already use them, you've probably wondered is it's possible to use them whilst on away from home. I'm here to tell you that it's not only possible, but actually much easier than you might think. The key is knowing what you'll need to bring, which is why I'm here!
Benefits of reusable nappies when travelling
There are so many benefits to reusables that might not be obvious at first glance, so here's a few:
Cost Saving - If you've already bought your reusable nappies, why not just make the most of them? And if you're new to the journey - did you know that reusable nappies can save you hundred, if not thousands of pounds per baby? The more you save on nappies, the more you can spend on travelling to the places you love most!
Convenience - We all know that finding a nappy suited to your baby is a fine art, right? If you're abroad that means having to deal with the minefield of an entirely different set of disposable nappy brands all over again - like day one!
Luggage Space - Instead of using your luggage allowance on multiple packs of disposables, just take a selection of reusable nappies instead! Flat nappies in particular are very space saving and can take up the same space as one pack of disposables but prevent you from ever running out!
Which reusable nappy is best for travel?
Technically you can take any nappy on holiday with you. I think the best choice depends on the type of trip you're taking.
Home away from home
If you're driving yourself and staying in a nice cottage or Airbnb with a washing machine, just carry on as usual! You have the transport, luggage space and washing facilities, so why mix it up? It will be no different to a week or two at home! When looking at holidays I usually look for places with a washing machine - it's usually no extra cost as many holiday homes have them, but they are a lifesaver with young kids regardless of whether you're using reusable nappies.
You'll likely still have a car, but you'll want something easy to potentially hand wash or take to the laundrette. And of course it needs to be easily line dryable! I would recommend pocket nappies or easy drying two-parters such as a microfiber fitted nappy and wrap. You could even opt for a hybrid nappy consisting of a reusable shell and a plastic free disposable inner, though these are harder to find nowadays in the UK and usually require a scour of marketplace. Nappies like these which separate will be easier to wash and also relatively easy to dry.
Flat nappies all the way - prefolds & terry towels (or muslin cloths for newborns) will be your BEST friend! They're simple to wash by hand if needed, super easy to dry in the smallest of places, and very compact as you only need one wrap for ever 3 or 4 outer shells. Plus they can double up as baby towels at bath time, changing mats on the go, used for sicky burps, or an extra blanket on a chilly evening stroll. A versatile flat nappy will take on so many roles that you'll end up saving space elsewhere too. If you're away for months at a time then they will also grow with your baby and allow you to adjust the absorbency of the nappy as needed.
Reusable Nappy Packing Checklist
- 15 Reusable nappies - if using a two part system, bring 1 wrap for every 3 inner nappies
- 1 Large wet bag - for storing in your hotel/tent/airbnb
- 2 Small wet bags - for day trips
- Reusable wipes - if you're using the nappies you may as well use the wipes
- Disposable liners - optional but really convenient for holidays to make washing easier.
- Compostable nappy sacks - useful to keep in your changing bag for emergencies
- Reusable swim nappy - Just one will do for trips in the pool or to the beach, wash after use and hang to dry.
- Tub of powder detergent - I recommend just bringing enough for an emergency wash, you can buy a small box whilst there.
Washing Nappies On Holiday
Washing is probably the biggest question asked by parents going on holiday with cloth nappies, but it's fairly straightforward when keeping in mind a few simple things. Remember to check the water hardness at your holiday location - a quick google will often give you a good idea. In soft water areas you can probably get away with a liquid/gel detergent or pod (with NO softener) for ease, but in hard water you're best sticking to powder. I've had success in hard water areas by crushing up the powder detergent tablets you can get in places like Aldi, they're easier than a box of powder but more effective than a liquid, gel or pod.
If you're only away for a weekend then I would just store all of the dirty nappies in a large wet bag and wash when you get back. Three of four days is nothing to worry about - just make them a priority when you get home! Make sure you have enough nappies for the full time there, especially if you usually wash every day or two.
If you have a washing machine where you are staying then just google the make and model to find an online set of instructions. You're just looking for a short rinse, then a wash setting with a decent time length (2-3 hours) and a heat of 40 with bio powder, or 60 with non bio.
When camping I like to rinse the nappies as I go as it means they're already fairly clean by the time it comes to washing, saving you time if washing by hand, or money if using the laundrette.
Many campsites have coin operated washing machines meaning you can give the nappies an essential wash as needed. You usually have a few wash choices so choose the most intensive at 40 or 60 degrees. I have met many a cloth bum parent on my camping holiday in the laundrette, which often leads to a conversation about the types we use and techniques for washing whilst camping!
If you don't have access to washing machines then a bucket or even a shower is your best bet! Stomp on the nappies to give them a good clean, then scrub them in your hand with detergent, before rinsing them out.
Camping wash facilities rarely gives as good of a clean as your home washing machine, so it might leave a few stains behind, but it's still hygienic and perfectly acceptable for a week or two until you can get home. Just make sure to do a nice long wash when you do get home!
Our Top Tips
- Don't forget that newborn babies should only be travelling for 30 mins at a time in a car seat, and older babies should be having a break at least every two hours.
- For car seat/sling journeys you'll want to avoid microfiber as it can cause compression leaks (think of squeezing a wet sponge) which isn't fun for anyone.
- Prep nappies that need folding ahead of time so that they're always ready to go. This way if you get caught somewhere a bit awkward for nappy changing, you're not stuck faffing around with the fiddly bits too.
- Don't sweat the small stuff! Once you're into a solid nappy routine it's really no different to baby's clothing, take each day one step at a time.