Packing the Perfect Day Bag for Travel

packing for a day bag

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Most people give a lot of thought to packing their luggage. They consult the weather, the weight and size requirements, and consider what activities they’ll be doing at their destination. When it comes time to pack their carry-on more time is spent determining what they would like to have on the airplane, on the train, or in the car. But not as much thought goes into what they should carry with them during the day while they’re exploring and their day bag for travel often reflects it.

day bag

What to include will vary depending on your needs. If you’re a young, solo traveler what you need will be much different than a 35 year old mother of 2 toddlers. However, there are some basic things everyone should carry with them.

Packing the Perfect Day Bag for Travel


Always be sure to carry identification documents with you. You never know when you might need to produce them and need to make sure they’re safe. There are many different ways to conceal them so that they are in a more safe location than loose in your purse or backpack.

Weather Protection

If you plan to be out for a long time, spend some time consulting the weather. If there’s a chance for rain or severe weather, plan accordingly with an umbrella and/or poncho. If you’ll be out in the direct sun, make sure sunscreen, hats or visors, and other sun protection are in your bag.

Health and Wellness Items

Include a water bottle with your day pack as well as hand sanitizer or hand wipes. These aren’t just for kids! You can’t always be sure you will have something to clean your hands with and after a day of exploring the last thing you’ll want to do is sit down to eat with dirty hands! Be sure to regularly refill your water bottle especially if the temperatures are high or you are exerting yourself. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before you head out during the day and keep some in your bag to reapply as the day wears on. If the weather is sunny having hats and sunglasses will help protect your face, skin, and eyes.


Make sure to carry any prescription medication you might need during the day. You may also want to include medication for headaches and stomach pain. If you struggle with heartburn or a sensitive stomach medication like TUMS or another antacid may also come in handy. Getting Around

We have a tendency to rely on technology to get around, retrieve notes, and find locations, but what happens when your mobile phone won’t work or runs out of battery? It makes sense to carry a map, small notepad, pen or pencil, and any transit maps that you may need. A notebook is for more than just jotting down addresses. If you can’t understand the language where you are, it can come in handy to draw maps or draw a picture to explain what you want or are looking for. Of course it also comes in handy to keep a trip journal!

Food and Drink

I mentioned having a water bottle but you also will want to carry a few snacks with you. If you’re traveling with kids this will come in particularly handy. You don’t want to be stopping all the time to grab a snack. Having some food with you makes sure to keep everyone fed and happy. It also will likely cost you much less than picking up snacks as you go. Consider packing lunch for days you will be out exploring to save some money on food.

These items are a good place to start filling your bag. You may need to add (or remove) items to fit your needs. What other items do you always carry?

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1 thought on “Packing the Perfect Day Bag for Travel

  1. I always bring a sarong or sarong size shawl, this has been used as a swaddling blanket, nursing cover, picnic blanket, bed, shawl, blanket, sun cover, even a diaper, a change of shirt, skirt or shirt in case of an accident, a beach towel, a dress up item, butterfly wings, hat, winter scarf, beach cover up, hobo bag, leash, bandage, and even a handkerchief. This is the one item my kids have used from birth – 8 years old and will always use.

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