Using Cloth Nappies on Holiday

cloth nappies in a suitcase with the text using cloth nappies on holiday

When it comes to using cloth nappies, I use them full-time for my son so when I go on holiday I personally don’t see why that would change. For me, this is my routine. William wears cloth nappies, not disposables (anymore) and so far since using reusables, each of my holidays or trips has allowed for that to continue. Here’s how I use cloth nappies whilst on holiday…

Our Holidays

Long Weekend in Cornwall

I will start with our very first trip away with William in cloth nappies. Now, we didn’t start using them until he was 6 months old due to him being premature. I had always planned to do it from birth this time around but that was taken out of my hands. At just 4lb 2 oz he was tiny plus he was in the hospital for the first three weeks of his life and my world was turned upside down. I didn’t get the time to research them and once he was home my attention turned to colic, reflux, medication and getting him to gain weight. So, for our very first holiday in Crete, he was still wearing disposables and it’s funny because whilst we were there all I kept thinking the whole time was how much of a pain they were, how many I went through, how much it cost us and how they stank the bins out in the hotel room. I knew as soon as I was home that it was time to make that switch to reusables.

Our first holiday using cloth nappies came later in the year – a long weekend away with my in-laws to Cornwall. Now, because this was still early on in our cloth journey, I didn’t have a large stash yet which meant I knew I couldn’t go all weekend without washing them. I took a wild (newbie) guess at how many changes he would need at 9 months old for the day, added a few more “just in case” and added in our nighttime nappies too. The house we were staying in was an ancient farmhouse so I can assure you it was not warm! It did, however, come with a washing machine and tumble dryer. I used the washing machine but was too scared to tumble dry the nappies as they were so new and I’d heard that this could ruin them so I didn’t want to chance it. Instead, I dried them on and over the AGA in the kitchen which stayed lovely and warm and made the perfect nappy dryer.

It wasn’t a big task to do this as I could get a wash done in the evening when we were back in the house, leave them to dry overnight and through the next day, then add those back to my clean pile and put the dirty ones in the washroom and so on. At the time, I didn’t have spare wetbags to store the dirty ones inside so I just used shopping bags to pop them into until they went into the wash.


This is the holiday that a lot of people are surprised at. Yes, we went on an 8/9 hour flight to Florida, stayed for 2 weeks and still managed to cloth full-time whilst abroad. So, how did I make this work?


I took almost every cloth nappy we owned and packed them into a small suitcase which could be taken on the plane as hand luggage. In here I included the wetbag, changing mat, reusable wipes as well as changes of clothes. This whole bag was geared up for William. Other essentials for the plane, such as toys, magazines, books, snacks and so on were in my other child’s bag and I could take a bag on too. Always check this. Your baby should be allowed a bag of their own on a flight due to the amount of stuff they require and as a small suitcase can be classed as hand luggage, you can fit loads in there and get away with it.

Suitcase full of reusable nappies

This meant that on the plane, I had full access to all he needed and it was really easy. I changed him as you would a baby/child in disposables and popped the dirty nappies and wipes inside a wetbag which went safely back inside the suitcase. The wetbag is waterproof so will protect from leaks and smells.

Holiday Homes

We had 2 holiday homes over our 2 week stay and both came fully equipped with washing machines and tumble driers. We chose holiday homes because we like having our own space, we needed the room for 6 of us to stay in and it meant that we could have the freedom to come and go as and when we wanted and be able to cook our own meals. If we had chosen a hotel I would have had to have checked their washing facilities, see if they offered a washing service and if that would include cloth nappies which I know would be tricky due to the handling of waste. Another reason why choosing a holiday home is a great option as a cloth bum parent.

I basically worked our days’ cloth nappy usage out the way I do when I’m at home. I mean the only difference was that I was in America and not the UK, there was no reason to change any part of our routine.

The first week was spent in Indian Shores where we spent our days at the beach, exploring the area, spending a day at a rescue aquarium and so on. I washed as and when I had the opportunity and left them to dry on the rails that the house supplied. For any that didn’t dry well (we went in March so it wasn’t overly hot), I gave them a not-too-hot blast in the tumble dryer. We don’t have one at home and as it was a one-off for a holiday I thought it was worth it.

The second week we moved on to Orlando and had a similar setup. We spent our days at Disney World, so I took plenty of nappies and wipes out with us and we didn’t run into any issues. Yes, we had a few nappy leaks because the days were busy, he was drinking a lot due to the heat increasing and because the queues for the toilets were so big but I took changes of clothes out with us too and everything wet just went into a wetbag to go back to the house with us.

Before we were due to leave, I did a wash of all of his nappies and wipes and I even did the majority of our clothes too which meant that I wouldn’t have all of that to do back at home and that I would have clean nappies for the flight.

Weekend in Southsea

Our latest weekend away was quite local to us but still a long weekend from Friday to Monday. On this trip, I decided to take things a little easier and I packed enough nappies to last us all the way through the stay. The apartment did have a washing machine but now being in the position of owning enough to last us, I thought I’d have a break and just take the dirty ones home with us.

I worked out how many I would need each day and added an extra one on for emergencies. I took enough for nighttime again with an extra nappy. I then packed three wetbags so I could put the dirty ones in those to take home. Worked out perfectly.

Things You Need To Consider

Prior to booking/going on your holiday you will need to:

  • Check washing facilities
  • Check if they will do washing for you and whether this will include cloth
  • Check that any launderettes will allow you to wash cloth at their premises
  • Figuring out if hand washing is doable
  • Work out how many nappies you can manage with during your stay
  • Work out how many reusable wipes you will also need (include hands, faces, mop ups etc)
  • Plan your packing carefully
  • Buy extra wetbags if need be

Reusable Swim Nappies

Many holidays will involve swimming so if you do use cloth nappies I am sure that the majority of you will also use a reusable swim nappy. If you haven’t got to that stage yet, this is another great investment and another good step you can take in helping the environment. A swim nappy, whether disposable or reusable has one function – hold a poo. Neither are pee-proof so spending money on a disposable one for one use and then throwing it away isn’t the best option. A reusable swim nappy can be washed in the same way as your cloth nappies and can be reused time and time again. It will also take up very little room in your suitcase!


I think the thing that holds people back when it comes to taking cloth nappies on holiday the most is mindset. The thought of dealing with cloth nappies outside of the home can seem scary and daunting but in actual fact when you break it down, all you are doing is the same routine just in a different setting. If you have access to washing facilities, if you can manage with the nappies you have and if you know you will be able to change your baby/child easily then there shouldn’t be too many reasons as to why you won’t be able to use cloth nappies on holiday just as you do at home.

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