I had a friend tell me it took her an hour to figure out how to pack her change mat/pad. She was off to England for a couple of weeks with her 6 month old. I was a bit perplexed, and asked her why she would pack it. She looked at me confused and said “I need it”. I can think of many more things that I “need” when travelling with my baby, but a change mat is not one of them!
I have never packed one, nor do I ever want to pack one. I have always used a travel towel. I have had these camping towels for 10 years. I originally bought them to use at the gym early in the morning before going to work (which I did for several years). We brought them up to the cottage, camping and I have always traveled with one or two, I never knew what hotel or what airport I was going to get stuck in.
They dry in a jiffy, and can be washed in hot water. They are very soft and portable. When travelling around for the day, I pack one just in case there is a pool or beach (our son can’t pass water without jumping in, so I just go with it and prepare as if there will be water). The best part, I can hand wash or throw them into the wash with pretty much any load on the go. The are big enough to fully cover any change table in any yucky bathroom.