Many people seem to think that disposible diapers are a necessity when travelling. We've just returned from a trip to Australia where I used exclusively cloth diapers (even on the 24+ hour plane ride) and I can tell you that not only is it possible to use cloth while travelling - it's just as easy as using cloth at home.
The only difference is that cloth diapers are more bulky to travel with but they're not so bulky that they won't fit in a carry on bag. (Trust me, I took 2-1/2 days worth of diapers on the plane to Australia and they fit just fine in my carry on bag.)
Here's some tips for taking your cloth diapers on an airplane:
- use one carry on bag exclusively for diapers and extra clothing for your little one - this will make it easier to find what you need when you need it
- always pack more diapers than you think you'll need because you never know when you're going to get stuck on a runway, etc.
- small or medium sized wet bags with zippered closures are great for storeing dirty diapers. One or two should do the trick depending on how long your flight is. When these are closed and placed inside your diaper carry on bag you won't even know you've got dirty diapers on board.
- use Bummis' bio-soft liners because there isn't enough water in airplane toilets to wash out poopy diapers and with the liners you can just flush them away with the poo so you won't have to carry it around. (As an aside, I also doubt that there's enough water in airplane toilets for G diapers to dissolve. One of our flights was late because someone clogged a toilet when they tried to flush a diaper down it. I don't know what kind it was, but G diapers are the only kind that I know of that you might try to flush down a toilet.)
- put an overnight diaper on your little one before you leave for the airport. We've often gotten to the airport, checked in, gone through security and then only realized that our daughter was soaking wet. When you're focused on getting checked in at the airport, etc. you tend not to think of checking a diaper. Also, you don't realize how quickly time is passing when you're waiting in lineups to get checked in and to go through security. Using an overnight diaper will help prevent leaks at this crucial time.
- pack at least two extra outfits for your little one. Your child's schedule will be out of wack and so will your own. You won't have your regular cues as to when it's time to check on a diaper, and your little one may go through diapers faster than usual - especially on your first couple of flights with your little one.
- when the flight attendant gives you a plastic bag for your dirty diapers, tell her/him that you don't need it because you're using cloth diapers and won't be throwing anything out. Get the airlines used to the idea that we're travelling with cloth diapers - there's power in numbers!