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On-the-go essentials: what to pack in a day bag for travel


You’ve arrived at your destination ready for an adventure, but before you leave your accommodation you need to gather the essentials for you day of fun. However, deciding what these necessary items are can be a bit stressful. The worry that you’ll be left short in some way is especially acute when in a place that you’re not acclimated to, but with out list of what to pack in a day bag for travel, you can exploring safely in the knowledge that you4re ready for (almost) every eventuality.

Check out our day trip packing list to ensure that you can focus on having fun, instead of worrying that you won’t be prepared for the experience of travelling to a new place.

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Credit and debit cards

When it comes down to it, the ability to get cash is the most important thing you can have while in a foreign country. Money grants you access to fun things like attractions and experiences, as well as vital things like food and shelter. It’s the best safety net anyone can ask for, so if you’re wondering what to pack in a day bag for travel then your credit card or debit card should be top of the list. Sure, you might have to pay a premium for international transactions or withdrawing cash from a machine, but at least that extra cost means you won’t be left floundering in a new place with no ability to pay for services!

Water bottle

No matter where you are in the world, a water bottle is one of the most important day trip essentials. In many countries you’ll have access to some kind of clean drinking water as long as you have a receptacle, and by carrying your own bottle you’ll also have the added benefit of not adding to plastic waste by having to buy water from shops. This is especially true in hot climates, but don’t underestimate how thirst can ruin an experience when it’s cold too!

Camera and camera bag

If you’re a budding photographer then everyone knows a phone simply won’t do. However, wearing a camera around your neck – especially an expensive one – can feel a bit worrying, especially in crowded spots where pickpockets and thieves are known to operate. So, make sure you don’t forget your camera bag for that extra layer of anti-theft security.

Lip balm and moisturiser

Depending on what you’re doing, travelling around can lead to issues with dry and cracked skin, especially in mountainous or ultra-sunny climates. With these two items you can make sure you look and feel as fresh as possible for all your holiday snaps without packing your bag of toiletries. They also have the added benefit of preventing issues like chapped lips from getting too serious, which would make eating and smiling (two of the most important activities during trips abroad) painful.

Hand sanitizer, packs of wet wipes, and packs of tissues

If your day trip bag doesn’t include hand sanitizer, packs of wet wipes, and packs of tissues, then you’re going to have to spend a lot of time being extra careful about what you interact with – especially around meal times. However, with these three items you’re ready for all kinds of spills and potential accidents that require quick clean ups, which is why they’re on the list of what to pack in a day bag for travel.

Travel packs

Look: we love spontaneity, but there’s no doubting an organised traveller has an easier time. While we’re not suggesting regimenting every minute of your day (unless you’re really into that), making sure you have easy access to all your items can take a layer of stress out of interacting with a new culture. With travel packs you can avoid rummaging around your backpack every time you need something, which is why we think they belong on a list of what to pack in a day bag for travel.

First aid kit

Accidents happen, but thankfully most minor health issues can be sorted out without having to claim against your travel insurance. Things like small scrapes and common illnesses are all part and parcel of being somewhere unfamiliar, so a first aid kit should be high up on what to pack in a day bag for travel. That way you can have peace of mind, and even if you don’t end up using your kit yourself you might be in a position to help someone out who might have forgotten their plasters, or be in dire need of a painkiller.

Tote bag

With travel packs your bag will be organised, but even so it can be a hassle to have to swing a backpack around and open it every time you want something essential – especially in tightly packed stores. With a tote bag, you’ll have a conveniently located place to store things like cash and your phone, while also avoiding the chance of a sticky-fingered thief reaching into your pockets in crowded areas and taking out valuables.

Power bank

We all like to get lost sometimes, but phones and technology are vital to most travel plans nowadays, even for those of us who like to spend our time away really disconnecting. With a power bank you’ll never run out of juice, which means not getting lost in a strange place without the benefits of GPS and maps, or the ability to contact others.

Sun cream

Unless you’re visiting somewhere very northern or southern in the height of winter, then sun cream is always a good idea for what to pack in a day bag for travel. Even in cold climates, the sun can still cause some serious health issues like burns and sun stroke, but with an added layer of protection that you can reapply throughout the day, you can bask in the rays without fear.


Even if one of your main aims in travelling is to indulge in a new cuisine in local restaurants, you can never ensure that you’ll always be close to a venue that’s open – especially if you’re headed somewhere with a vastly different food culture to your homeland. Having snacks around can keep the hunger at bay, so you can make the most of your sight seeing without wishing you could ignore the feeling in your stomach. Plus, it’s a great excuse to head into a local supermarket and see what locals have at their fingertips.

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