With school holidays and Easter coming up it's a popular time of year for short, interstate trips and that involves a lot of staying with family and friends. We get asked frequently about travelling with cloth nappies and we do have a plethora of information about it (Check out our travelling with cloth blogs and podcasts here) but we haven't covered one of the easiest ways to travel with cloth nappies, staying at friend or relatives house. It really isn't difficult at all. So we wanted to break it down for you and share the tips and tricks a few of us have learnt about travelling with our cloth nappies.
If you're flying baggage limits apply so keep that in mind. Cloth does take up room but also means you're washing regularly so you can take less clothing as a family. If you're washing every two days everyone really only needs three pairs of socks and jocks and you can recycle shirts quite a bit. And remember wet nappies weigh more! Don't get caught out.
The actual travel part is pretty easy, you do as you would when you're out for the day with cloth, it's just likely to be a long day. Check out this blog about using cloth out of the house and this one about short flights. Basically the plan is, shove it all in a bag and deal with it when you get there! That's future you's problem.
Always be respectful and check with your hosts if they're comfortable with you washing nappies in their machine. Be prepared to explain they won't have poo in their machines and that things have changed a lot (particularly if you're staying with older relatives). No more gross soaking buckets, machines and detergents have both improved dramatically in the last 20-30 years. You'll need to work out where to rinse, but that can be easier when you're there sometimes. Bring a scraper or brush or whatever your preferred poo removal object is with you, that saves more awkward conversations. Also, be mindful of any water restrictions they may be on.
Once you've ascertained they are comfortable with it, get organised! Ask what machine they have and what detergent they use. Or bring your own detergent, depending on how long you're staying there, baggage allowances and how comfortable you are with using large amounts of their detergent. It might pay to bring your own. Google their machine manual and work our your cycles before you go that way you don't have to do that annoying stuff on your holiday, you'll be good to go!
As for how many you pack that will depend on your daily usage, and your hosts drying situation. Check with them if they have a large washing line or a dryer they don't mind you using. I always recommend throwing in a few more nappies than you think you'll need because wiggle room is always helpful. If you're particularly concerned about drying time look at flats or prefolds as they have a quicker drying time than thicker inserts. Flats are also take up very little space so they can be a great option for travel, in fact we have a blog all about this.
Make sure you're conscious of the fact other people also need the washing machine and what time of day is best to use it. I've found that offering to put a load of clothes on for everyone else can earn you some brownie points and keep the inconvenience to a minimum.
If it's a short trip and you think your wash wasn't optimal, when you get home two back-to-back long, hot washes with a full dose of detergent can do wonders to get your nappies shiny and clean again.
So remember, be organised, be respectful but most of all give it a go! Travelling with cloth is surprisingly easy and when staying with friends and family it really isn't much different than doing it at home.