Traveling with an infant or toddler wearing diapers means that you need to make sure to have diapering supplies and are able to do diaper changes when necessary.
When traveling with a child who wears diapers, the first question is – should you pack enough diapers for the entire trip or plan to purchase at your destination? Some parents always pack and others always plan to purchase.
On our first trip abroad with an infant, I brought only enough diapers for the first few days and planned to purchase diapers in London. Diapers were definitely available (something that is not the case in every destination). Unfortunately, I could not purchase the diapers, and even though we calculated our son’s weight in kilograms before buying, the ones we purchased were not ideal in terms of fit and nor were the second box we bought.
Since that first trip, having the right type of diaper became a travel essential. The last things I want to deal with on the road are additional diaper blow outs or leaks. I never took an international trip with a child in diapers without packing enough diapers for the entire trip again. However, if wipes were likely to be available in my destination, I often planned to purchase when needed.
While diapers are certainly available in large, metropolitan areas like London, they are not available in all destinations. We vacationed at all-inclusive resorts in Riviera Maya twice, and I noted that the on-site shop carried only one bag of exorbitantly priced size 3 diapers. Diapers might be available nearby off the resort but would definitely be challenging to locate. We also traveled to India with a toddler in diapers. Although we did not specifically look for diapers, selection was certainly limited, and we were extremely glad that we had what we needed.
I did purchase diapers a few times when traveling domestically a few times, but I had identified in advance a store that I planned to shop at when we arrived at our destination. While diapers are certainly bulky and take up a significant amount of precious baggage space, I found that packing diapers became an additional packing challenge that ensured that there would be some space to bring home souvenirs.
Diapering can be a bit of a challenge while traveling, especially if you are not traveling by car. Unlike nursing, diaper changes in public spaces, particularly restaurants or coffee shops, raises valid hygiene concerns because no one wants to sit and eat on a bench where a diaper has been changed. At least one diaper station is available on each flight, but not necessarily in every bathroom, so you have to check the sign on the door. There are many more diapering stations in restrooms than in the past, especially in tourist sites, but they are definitely not universal. But, a diaper kit, paper towel dispenser and standing diaper changes can make diapering easier.
I was never a fan of carrying the traditional diaper bag in addition to my own handbag. Instead, I created diaper kits using the clear plastic packaging that onesies come in with a flap and snap opening. I liked these containers because the plastic was thicker than ziplocks, and the snap was easier to open. I added a few diapers, wipes, a diaper pad and a change of clothes. I had a few of these stocked at any one time in each car and my handbag.
It has been almost a year since I have needed to carry diapers, and we no longer have any diaper gear, but Nancy took some illustrative pictures of her similar diaper set up. She used the super cute and compact diaper clutch to carry a few diapers, wipes and a diaper liner in her handbag.
While having a few diapers very accessible is key when traveling, you also need to make sure that you have more diapers than you expect to need at any one time and backup supplies in your luggage. Nancy and I both used gallon sized ziplock bags to hold larger quantities of diapers and wipes while traveling.
I discovered that the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom can be your ally. While air dryers may be better for the environment, paper towel dispensers can help you line whatever diaper changing area you plan to use. I always carried disposable diaper pads, but saved them to use only when paper towels were not available. No one ever commented that I used too many.
Nancy purchases these disposable diaper liners that you sometimes find in baby changing stations in bulk. Considering the exorbitant cost of other disposable diaper liners, I think this is a genius move that I wish I knew about. Those liners would definitely come in handy at all the bathrooms with air dryers.
Also, standing diaper changes are so much more sanitary than laying a baby down. I learned about standing diaper changes from my son’s day care and was skeptical at first until I realized that only my child’s feet end up touching the diapering surface. As soon as my children were confident standers, I had them stand during diaper changes in public restrooms whenever possible, and even on changing stations. This was typically not possible in tiny airplane restrooms. In restrooms with no diaper facilities, I would stand my child on the toilet seat or on the floor in a stall and do the change.
When you are outside with no accessible bathrooms and in an emergency situation, you can move your stroller to an unobtrusive location, turn it away from view, recline the seat and quickly change the diaper. Before you know it, diapering will just be a distant memory. Thankfully, that is what it is for me now.