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What do you carry in your day bag while traveling? Here are our daily travel essentials in four different scenarios!


Daily Travel Essentials

Written by: Niki Landry


When you go out for the day of exploring in a new destination it’s normally advisable to pack a few essentials. Depending on what you are doing, there are different requirements and suitable daypacks.

Most trips are a mixture of activities, and you do not want to bring a bag for each. Choose a day bag that is suitable for the activity you plan on participating in the most, and possibly one other small bag as an alternate.

For instance if I am visiting a big city and then traveling to do some day hikes and outdoor activities in the countryside, I would pack a technical backpack for the hikes, and a small cross body purse for my time in the city. I normally flat pack my cross body in the daypack on travel days.


Learn more about how to choose a day bag here!


Here are a few more examples:




Kind Bar / SunglassesPocketBackRaincoat / Mycharge / WaterbottleBackpackCamera / Hat


Packing a backpack for a day hike usually requires more planning than some of the other activities. I prefer a technical bag with pockets for organizing and loops to hook items to the exterior.

Once you do a few of these hikes you start to have a mental checklist of what to include. Here is a full checklist.

I always toss my small self-contained first aid kit in my bag if I’m going outdoors. Next is my water bottle and snacks. Depending on how long I’ll be gone, sometimes a sandwich and fruit are added.

My raincoat always gets packed because it gets used more often than not. I prefer not to be burdened by a huge camera so I bring along a small point and shoot and keep it hooked to the outside of my bag or on my wrist.


Use packing cubes to keep your belongings organized in your day bag so that way you can have access to what you need right away!


Don’t forget the hat and sunglasses for sun protection. Kleenex and anti-bacterial hand gel are always a good idea, no matter the activity.

I also normally bring along a backup battery charger for my phone. It doesn’t always have service, but I can listen to music while hiking.

Also note that overnight hikes require a lot more gear, food, and planning. You can find a list for overnight hikes here.

I used the above bag on my trek to Machu Picchu, but it held a lot more stuff. This gear listed above is usually suitable for 4-6 hour hikes.


Read this post for a full Machu Picchu packing list!




Bag  / KindleMap / Cardigan / Camera / Sunglasses / Umbrella


A bag for general travel can cover a range of activities, including museums, historical sites, galleries, or café hopping around a city.

In addition to normal bag contents which consist of my wallet, phone, chapstick, bobby pins, and hair ties there are a few other items I like to include. I don’t go anywhere with out a pair of sunglasses and a camera.

Shown is the mirrorless camera that I own and love. A small compact umbrella is always smart to bring along, and doesn’t take up a ton of space.


Read these tips on what to wear on a rainy day!


I also like to bring something to read, especially if I’m traveling alone. It’s nice to read while having coffee or sitting in a park if I get tired of people watching.

Download or pack a map so you can find your way around the city or town. You can have a preset itinerary or just figure out your stops as you go.

A cardigan is good to have in case you need to cover up at a religious site or the temperature drops while you are out for the day.


Whether you choose to use anti-theft or regular backpack, always use additional anti-theft products like a bra pouch to hide the majority of your cash


 Guided Tours


BagGumScarf  / Water bottleHeadphones  / LensUmbrellaSnack  / Klennex


Planning for a guided tour requires similar items as sightseeing essentials, but with a few extra necessities. When going on a full day guided tour, you normally don’t have control over your stops and itinerary so it’s nice to have snacks and a full water bottle.

Day tours can involve extend time in cars or cramped buses, and I like to bring anti-nausea gum in case of carsickness. I usually end up giving it to someone else to use on the tour.


These are eight tips to make long bus and train journeys more comfortable.


If the trip is extra long, I will pack my headphones to listen to music on the way. Don’t want to bring a camera? As an alternative to a typical camera these lenses work well when attached to a smartphone.

I complete my bag with a scarf for windy days, and I’m ready for my tour.


The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!




Sunscreen / Towel  / Tote BagHatWaterbottleSunglassesBrush  / Trailmix


The running theme through this post seems to be snacks, water, and sun protection. Even if you forget everything else, be sure to pack those three or pick them up on the way to your activity.

Going to the beach is no different; it just calls for more sun protection. Protect your eyes, head, and skin so you don’t end up burnt and in pain for the rest of our trip.

A travel towel is a lot less bulky than a traditional beach towel and is more versatile to use throughout your trip. I also like to bring along a brush to detangle before my hair dries into a knotty mess. After getting out of the water, I usually comb and apply a sea salt spray before letting it air dry.


Read more about why we love travel towels for all types of trips!


What are your tips on day bag essentials? Comment your tips below!


For more tips and ideas on travel essentials, please read:





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Author Bio: Niki is an interior designer and artist from Louisiana. In addition to her design work, she writes for local and online publications sharing her experiences and passion for travel. Niki is currently adding stamps to her passport while building her design practice, Niki Landry Designs.  nikilandrydesigns  niki-landry-designs-llc