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Packing your day bag can be as tricky as packing for carry-on only travel. You want to keep things minimal and lightweight, but you don’t want to forget any essentials. Before you rush out the door, make sure you know what to pack in your day bag for sightseeing and shopping days!
Day Bag Essentials for Sightseeing
Travel Fashion Girl help! A reader asks:
When you are sightseeing or shopping on vacation, what do you usually carry in your day bag or handbag?
We talk a lot about how to pack light with carry-on only, but it’s equally as important to strategically pack your day bag or handbag when you’re out and about sightseeing or shopping. You’ll want to keep with you a few essentials, but you also don’t want to weigh yourself down with items you could leave back in your hotel room.
Take a few tips from our readers who share what they keep in their day bag for sightseeing and shopping.
Money and Identification
Regardless of how much or how little you carry with you, you’ll want to take with you a slim wallet that contains some money (be it cash or credit card) and a form of identification, such as a state identification and a photocopy of your passport. Keep some of your money here and some in an anti-theft accessory, like a bra stash or money belt.
Most agree that you should leave your passport at the hotel in a secure place, rather than keep it in your day bag. As one reader says, “I leave my passport either in the safe at the hotel or in my suitcase at the apartment. I think there is a bigger chance to lose your purse in the city and be left with no passport.”
Wherever you’re traveling, sunglasses are a must! They protect your eyes, keep you from squinting, and make for a stylish travel accessory. So many readers swear by a pair of sunglasses as the ultimate day bag essential.
One says, “I never travel without sunglasses. To save space, I use a microfiber sleeve instead of the hard case to store them in.”
Find out the benefits of polarized sunglasses for women who travel, plus my top picks!
Reusable Water Bottle
It’s important to stay hydrated when traveling. Instead of having to buy water throughout the day, bring your own reusable water bottle. Most restaurants are willing to fill it up if you are eating there.
If your water bottle is heavy, some of our readers will carry the water bottle or use a strap. One says, “I bring my water bottle with a carabiner and hang it on the strap or carry it my hand so it doesn’t weigh down my bag.”
Our readers share their best travel water bottle options for both cold and hot beverages!
If you’re not a minimalist or need to carry with you a number of items, our readers love handbag organizers. They’re also great for tote bags that don’t have any internal pockets.
One reader says “I use a handbag organizer for my mobile phone, sunglasses and its box, wipe cloth for glasses, lip balm, lipstick, Young Living Breathe Again essential oil, facial blotter, a lightweight pen, tissue paper and antibacterial wipes. Everything stays neat and organized.”
Discover the best purse organizer for your in-flight personal item or travel bag!
Many readers bring a few toiletries in mini form to keep their hands clean and their face fresh. What you bring will depend on your daily style. If you wear makeup, you may want to bring lipstick, and a face blotter for oil. If you’re in a sunny location, you’ll want sunscreen, and if you want to stay clean, bring hand sanitizer and Kleenex.
One reader says, “For toiletries, I like to bring a travel pack of tissues, a travel pack of Charmin wipes, lip balm, mini hand sanitizer, an emory board, a tiny travel mirror, and travel hand lotion.”
Follow our ultimate guide to creating the perfect travel toiletries list and master the art of packing!
First Aid Supplies
While you can likely keep most of your first aid kit in your suitcase, many of our readers like to bring a couple of items in their day bag as a just-in-case.
One reader says, “I always bring a packet of Advil, a couple of bandaids, and a couple of safety pins. You never know when you’ll need them and they don’t take up much space.”
Here are some things to include in you travel first aid kit list!
Reusable Shopping Bag
Whether or not you intend on shopping, you never know when you might find a must-have souvenir. Several readers take a thin, nylon reusable shopping bag to use in case they pick up a few items. This way they can use the bag instead of stuffing the items in their day bag.
One reader says, “I have a lovely Kate Spade reusable bag that folds up quite small but is quite large when unfolded. It comes in handy!” Another reader adds, “I keep a nylon tote that folds into a pocket in case of any purchases or rain, as you can put a bag in it.”
Here are more bags and totes that you can use for daily essentials or even for souvenirs!
Packable Jacket or Raincoat
If you’re traveling during a rainy season, many readers love to pack a very slim rain jacket or poncho to protect them in case of a downpour. One reader says, “I keep my packable, water resistant jacket in my mini backpack during the day,” while another adds, “I’d add something for rain showers, like a ‘dollar store’ poncho or a very lightweight umbrella.”
Umbrellas can be bulky, and they’re not recommended for windy cities. For colder locations, we love the Cole Haan packable rain jacket, but for more tropical destinations, consider packing a disposable rain poncho, which takes up hardly any space.
Take a look at these stylish and Insta-friendly travel raincoats for women!
If you’re looking for gifts for a traveler that loves to travel to multiple countries in Europe or around the world, an international travel adapter is the perfect gift that they can use for their electronics. This lets you plug a device into the outlet in another country.
The Compass Rose Travel Adapter featured above is a Travel Fashion Girl product. You can charge 3 devices at once and use it in over 150+ countries. Plus, it’s red so you won’t leave it behind on a white hotel room wall. Buy it here!
Other Day Bag Essentials
Beyond these most popular items, there are a few others small items you may want to pack that our readers recommended:
- Travel journal and pen
- Technology charger
- Daily medication
- Hair ties and/or bobby pins
The Best Day Bag
Still on the hunt for the best day bag for sightseeing? Our personal favorite is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack (see our full review here), and the nylon version is a nice lightweight alternative to the leather backpack.
For more bag ideas, check out our list of the best day packs for travel, as recommended by our readers!
What ‘s on your daybag essentials for sightseeing? Share in the comment section below!
For more ideas on travel day bags, please read:
- How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack
- Cute Backpacks for Travel
- The Best Day Packs for Travel
- Best Business Backpacks
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