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I wish I’d had these diaper tips the first time I flew with my first baby. It’s a whole new world flying with the not-yet-potty trained. You don’t just have to worry about flight schedules and hotel deals; You also have to worry about on-the-go diaper changes in lots of less than ideal circumstances.
Whether you find yourself in an airplane bathroom without a changing table or stuck in a layover with fewer reserves than you thought, there are ways to manage it all.
7 Top Diaper Tips For Travel
1. Ship, ship, ship
If you pack all the changing items you always use you’ll need an extra suitcase (and more luggage means more luggage fees). Travel lighter and cheaper by ordering online before you go and having these items shipped to your destination. Just call your hotel or vacation rental ahead of time to make sure they accept such deliveries – most can.
2. Dress for success
When you’re on the go, skip multiple layers, pants with complicated snaps and other wardrobe items that are hard to take on and off in the best circumstances. For easy changing in transit I like to dress my nearly 2-year-old daughter in a simple shirt and leggings.
3. Choose the right airplane seat
When flying with a baby or toddler there are lots of good reasons to want an aisle seat. Chiefs among them: not having to climb over your neighbor every time you need to change your baby’s diaper or take your tot for a stroll in the aisle.
4. Leave your diaper bag at your seat
Airplane bathrooms are small and notoriously dirty. So I like to have a few zip-top bags ready with all the essentials for one diaper change: 2 diapers, wipes, a sample size of Vaseline or rash cream and a changing pad. I just grab one of these packs and leave my bulky diaper bag or backpack in my seat.
5. Try the standing diaper change
At least once on every trip we really need an urgent diaper change and no changing table nearby. Now that my daughter is a toddler and steady on her feet we’ve mastered the standing diaper change. If you’re careful, it can work with all but the most …explosive … Diaper situations. It comes in handy in cramped airplane bathrooms or anyplace without a family restroom. If a standing diaper change just won’t work, check out my seven ways to handle the no-changing-table scenario.
6. Toilet seat covers = changing pads
If a changing table is, let’s say less then pristine and you don’t have disposable changing pads, or an extra diaper, consider using toilet seat covers to cover up the changing spot before you put down your diaper pad.
7. Set up diaper changing station when you first arrive at your destination.
Some parents are Okay with throwing a towel down on a bed or on the floor for an impromptu diaper change. If you’re used to having a changing station and prefer it, set up a changing station where you’re staying. Pick a spot like a spare couch or bed where you can put down a pad and put out some diapers, wipes and maybe a trash bag. Just keep in mind that you’re on vacation and are likely to still be doing a fair amount of changing away from home base.
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Jennifer Saranow Schultz is a writer based in San Francisco, where she lives with her toddler and husband. You can find her daily hints to help make parenting easier and cheaper at HintMama.com, on Twitter at @HintMama and on Facebook at Facebook.com/HintMama. Before leaving journalism in 2011, she was the lead writer for The New York Times “Bucks” personal finance blog and spent seven years as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal.