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7 Tips for Surviving Travel during the Diaper Years

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I love traveling with my kids, no matter what age and stage.  I’m currently in the middle, however, of one of the more infamous stages of travel… the toddler travel years.  Although I’ve been blessed with a very mellow and happy second child, it isn’t always easy having him along for the ride. One thing I really don’t love about travel with babies and toddlers is dealing with diapers.  The bulk.  The mess.  The inconvenience.  There is a 4 1/2 year age gap between my kids, so my daughter had long been out of diapers when my son came along.  Boy, how I hated having to start the diaper years all over again!  We are still in the thick of things with my 23 month old travel companion, but at least I can see a potty training end in sight.

Travel and Diapers Modeling Airplane PJs

Modeling his newest frequent flyer inspired PJs with the new Pampers Cruisers from Target underneath.

As summer draws to a close, my family made time for one last trip with our toddler travel companion and his well-traveled big sis.  We flew cross-country from California to Nashville for a Southern adventure.  We then road-tripped from Nashville to Chattanooga and then on to two destinations in Alabama, including my hometown of Montgomery.  Needless to say, I’ve just come off of a week of dealing with diapers in airports, diapers on planes, and diapers on the back roads of America!

Travel with Diapers - New Pampers Cruisers at Target

New Pampers Cruisers at Target.

I took along the new Pampers Cruisers diapers from Target (just released August 1, 2015) to put them to the test in our travels.  We’ve used Pampers products with our son almost exclusively and have been very happy with how they’ve held up to our tough travel challenges.  The new Cruisers at Target with Extra Absorb Channels definitely get the job done.  The new diapers will look fairly familiar with a slim design and the cute Sesame Street characters you probably already love, but the diapers are also specially designed with even less sag. If you are planning to travel with your little ones during the diaper years like I’ve been doing lately, I have a lot of time-tested travel diapering wisdom to share.  Here are my 7 best tips for travel during the diaper years.

1. Don’t count on your airplane (or even your airport!) having a changing table when you need it.

Many infrequent travelers are surprised to find that the changing table situation during air travel is pretty bleak.  While most airports have them (but not always!), airplanes are a different story altogether.  Be prepared to change diapers in wacky ways – standing up, on top of toilet seats, and even on the floor at your seat or in the galley.  Check out my guide to what airplanes and airlines are most likely to present a diaper changing challenge before you book.

2. Figure out how many diapers you will need for a flight.  And then bring double that amount.

Travel with Diapers - Toddler Flight PJs Back

Frequent flyer with no diaper sag!

Very, very few airports have diapers available for purchase.  If you find yourself dealing with a flight delay or cancellation, you won’t easily be able to stock up again.  For that reason, I always bring LOTS of extra diapers when I travel.  I’ve been down to my last diaper on a flight and it is a frightening situation!  Plus, with plenty of extras, you’ll also be able to bail out that parent who didn’t come quite as prepared as you did.

3. Road trippers should be prepared to do diaper changes in the car.

Just like airplanes and airports can be short on changing tables, often public bathrooms on the road simply don’t have changing tables handy when you need them.  As a result, I’ve mastered the art of diaper changing in the car (while it is stopped, of course).  If you drive a wagon, changing in the trunk is pretty easy (assuming you have space).  Otherwise, the passenger front seat works well as a makeshift changing station.

4.  Always bring a diaper changing on-the-go pack.

Ever tried to squeeze into a tiny airplane bathroom with a squirmy toddler and a giant diaper bag?  Don’t even try it.  I always bring a small diaper clutch or on-the-go bag with just the essentials in it with me instead.  All you really need is a travel size pack of wipes, a few diapers, a changing pad, and maybe some diaper cream.

5. Distractions are essential for toddler changes.

Getting a diaper change completed with an active toddler requires having 6 or 7 hands.  Since you don’t have that, your best ally is a good distraction.  My son loves the characters on his diapers, so I actually hand him an extra diaper to keep him entertained and to keep his hands out of my way.  Elmo works every time!  But any small plastic toy (that can be wiped down if it falls on any nasty airplane bathroom floors) works well too.

6.  Considering bringing diapers you need with you in your luggage or shipping ahead.

Travel with Diapers Boarding Southwest Flight with Toddler

Ready for flight!

While you can certainly buy diapers at your destination, it adds one more potential logistical challenge to your trip.  What if you can’t find the brand you like and need?  Will you have time to stop at a store if you have a busy travel schedule?  For that reason, I almost always bring a small pack of diapers with me to get me through the first few days of a trip.  Alternatively, I order a pack online and ship it ahead to my destination if I’m tight on luggage space or space in the car.

7. Don’t start potty training right before a big trip.

Travel is crazy enough with toddlers, but throwing potty training into the mix is downright insane.  Wait to start potty training until you have a lull in your family travel schedule.  With my first child, I gave myself a full month of time when we weren’t traveling to get it done and plan at least that much time when it comes time to train my now 23 month old son.  Look for gaps in your travel schedule and give yourself plenty of time to get all the way through training.  A tarmac delay or being stuck in road trip traffic is not the time to test a newly-trained toddler’s ability to “hold it.” What are your best diaper travel tips?  Share your ideas in the comments.   7 Tips for Travel with DiapersAnd don’t miss trying the new Pampers Cruisers at Target –  plus take advantage of these great deals going on right now (in store and online):

  • Travel and Diapers Pampers New DesignAugust 23- August 29: Buy 3 Pampers Giant Packs Get a $25 Gift Card
  • August 30 – September 5: Buy 2 Pampers Giant Packs Get $10 Gift Card

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Need more toddler travel tips?  Follow my Travel with Toddlers Board on Pinterest:

Follow Trips With Tykes’s board Travel with Toddlers on Pinterest.

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Thursday 11th of February 2021

This was posted in 2015.

Captain Happy

Tuesday 11th of August 2020

Why are you saying people should be traveling during peak Covid season?


Wednesday 11th of August 2021

@Captain Happy, You are an idiot.