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What to pack for a Day Trip: Sightseeing Essentials!

What to pack for a Day Trip: Sightseeing Essentials!

There are many things you will need to remember to pack on a vacation. Not only do you need to pack your suitcase, a carry on bag, the kid’s bags, and your purse, but you also need to think about what you will need during each day! We will teach you exactly what to pack for a day trip, so you are well prepared for anything during the day!

When you are out sightseeing for the day, you can end up being far from your hotel. If you end up needing something, you could be too far to go back and get it, so you might have to buy it. That would be an unexpected expense!

No matter where you are traveling to, every traveler should have a day bag, even if it is just one bag per family. This will help you feel prepared and ready to take on the adventures of your day!

For additional packing lists, refer to our ultimate packing checklist for any vacation!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

how to pack for a day of sightseeing

Day Bag Recommendation

Before we discuss what to pack for a day trip, you will need the actual bag! We have been through many trial and errors with different types of day bags, and we have found crossbody backpacks to be the best for sightseeing.

I used a bag like this one for our trip to Las Vegas, and it was SO helpful, since we were out and about and away from our hotel most of the days!

The best part about these bags is that you can wear them in your front, which is great for preventing theft! It is smaller than a typical backpack which is great for lugging around all day, but still provides the space and pockets for everything you need to pack!

It is easy to swing over your shoulder in a hurry, and easy to take off when you need something. You can also switch shoulders which is nice in case one begins to hurt!

Definitely consider one of these crossbody backpacks– you won’t be disappointed! 

The first item on our list for what to pack for a day trip is a portable charger. Wherever you go on vacation, don’t be caught with a dead phone and no charger! We usually pack 2 of these in our vacation day bag, just in case our phones run out of battery.

Your phone will be used heavily between taking pictures, getting directions, and looking up information, so make sure you have a backup plan if your battery starts to die!

We also recommend bringing a regular phone charger, and charging it at any outlet you can! However, this can be difficult if traveling internationally, so ensure you have an outlet adapter as well so you can charge at any outlet. 

This is one of my all-time favorite travel items. All my friends and family know just how obsessed I am with this selfie tripod stick because it is amazing! 

How many times on vacation do you have to awkwardly ask a random person to take your picture, only to get a lackluster picture or one with a thumb in the lens? With this selfie tripod, you can take your own pictures!

It comes with a remote that connects via Bluetooth to your phone, so you can click a hundred times and get all those good candid photos in!

I bring this everywhere with me, and you should too!

Read more about how to take the best pictures on vacation!

Another tip for what to pack for a day trip is to bring a collapsible water bottle. Between walking miles around town sightseeing, to bathing in the hot sun, to drinking a lot of alcohol, your body is going to be desperate for hydration!

Do your body a favor and pack a water bottle. Many cities have water fountains throughout the area, so fill up whenever you can! If you are at a restaurant, fill your water bottle up with the tap water they give you. This will save you a ton of money throughout your trip, as you won’t have to spend a few dollars on the water every time you are thirsty!

This collapsible water bottle is easy to fit into your day bag, and even has pockets on the side to hold it.

For more tips on how to save money on vacation, check out our budget travel tips to save you hundreds!

Let’s face it. Sometimes on vacation, there isn’t an opportunity to wash your hands. But, after touching everything in a tourist area, you are going to want to clean up before eating! 

Put a package of disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer in your day bag, to clean up in a pinch! These also come in handy when you are on an airplane, as they are very dirty!

Staying clean is important to staying healthy on vacation- you don’t want to get sick when you are trying to explore! Try not to touch your face before washing up, and definitely don’t eat with your hands!

For more information about staying healthy on vacation, read our guide of tips for staying healthy when traveling!

Don’t forget the sunscreen! Whether you are traveling somewhere warm or cold, you will still need to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun! 

Buying sunscreen at gift shops can be heavily overpriced, so make sure you are stocked up! Burning on vacation is no fun!

Before leaving for vacation, buy a large bottle of sunscreen, and divide it up into 3-ounce bottles so you can pack it in your carry on. Bring a small bottle with you each day, and remember to reapply every 2 hours!

My favorite sunscreen of all time is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen. I burn VERY easily, and this sunscreen has saved me so many times! It isn’t greasy like many other sunscreens, which I like because I HATE that feeling. 

For more information about beach days, read our guide on how to go to the beach in style!


Perhaps the most important item on our list of what to pack for a day trip: SNACKS! Because you can’t go anywhere without snacks, right?

Packing your own snacks on vacation will not only save you from spending unnecessary money on food from restaurants, but it will keep you healthier on your trip! Aim to pack snacks that are both healthy and filling.

If you are staying at a hotel with free breakfast, take a couple of pieces of fruit with you to pack in your day bag. Maybe your restaurant gives you bread during your meal. Take the leftovers and pack them up! You never know when hunger will strike, and you won’t be as tempted to buy something unhealthy if you have a snack to hold you over until your next meal. 

This snack container is a great item to hold all your snacks in one spot! It is slim and will fit easily into your day bag. Here are some snack ideas of what you can pack. If you run out of snacks, you can also visit the local supermarket or farmers market to stock up!

  • Trail mix
  • Protein bars
  • Fruit
  • Pretzels with peanut butter
  • Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Veggie chips, fruit chips


If you plan to visit any churches or temples on your vacation, make sure you have a sweater, shawl, scarf, or some kind of cover-up. You might think your outfit follows the rules and covers your body, but sometimes they do not agree.

I had bought a new dress specifically for visiting churches on vacation, one which covered my shoulders and knees. They still were not happy with my “revealing” outfit, so I had to buy a scarf. 

Bring one with you, just in case! They are also handy to have if you are going out to dinner, and want to look a little fancier. Sometimes it gets chilly in the restaurant or at night time, so you will appreciate having an extra layer. 

Extra Shoes

This is one tip I’ve learned the hard way. Always bring an extra pair of shoes with you, especially on days you are walking a lot. If your feet begin to ache in the first couple hours of the day, it’s going to be a long day for you!

I have found sometimes just switching shoes every couple of hours can help keep your feet happy. A simple pair of sandals or slip-on shoes will do the trick! 

Read more about the best vacation shoes for men and women, and get yourself a comfy pair!

Another tip for what to pack for a day trip is to bring a mini umbrella with you! Many destinations like Paris and London are known to be rainy, so you will thank yourself for having an umbrella! Of course, check the weather before you leave for the day to see what you might need to prepare. 

This mini umbrella is only the size of your hand, so it will not take up too much room in your day bag. Plus, it comes with its own carrying case so it won’t get your other items wet after a rain shower. This will save you from having to buy an umbrella at a gift shop, and getting soaking wet on the way there!


These might already be on your head, but if they aren’t- don’t forget them! Sunglasses can really make or break your day, especially if you are at the beach or other sunny locations. 

I usually don’t bring quality sunglasses with me on vacations, because I always lose them or sit on them! The good news is that sunglasses are pretty cheap at gift shops, so if this happens to you or you forget yours, you can get a new pair easily. 

If you brought more than one pair, consider putting your extra pair in your day bag just in case something happens to yours. That way, you won’t be blinded the whole day!

You never know when disaster might strike, especially if you have children, or are doing something adventurous like hiking. Or, maybe you just got a blister on your foot from walking so much!

Whatever the case, make sure you have at the very least, some bandaids. They are small enough to pack pretty much anywhere, so there’s no excuse not to have some! 

You can even get this mini first aid kit that is small enough to fit in your hand, which makes a perfect first aid kit for traveling! 

Extra Contact Lenses

If you can’t see anything without glasses or contacts like me, you know how important they are! Especially when traveling, you want to be able to see everything, clearly! 

I always pack an extra contact case with solution inside, along with an extra pair of contacts in my purse, no matter where I go. You can easily squeeze these into your day bag!

Sometimes if the air is too dry, your contact can dry out and even fall out (this has happened to me!), so prepare for the worst, so you can have room for error.

You can even get this mini travel contact lens case kit, complete with everything you need to fix your contacts!

Touch-up makeup

Pack some makeup in your day bag in case you need a touch up during the day. This will come in handy if you were swimming all day, or if you are going out to a nice dinner.

Having some of your favorite products will help you to refresh and feel like yourself again, on the go! Stick to only a couple items like powder and lipstick, for a quick pick-me-up!

Who remembers these from their childhood?! Well, believe it or not, they still come in handy! I have one of these in my purse, in my car, and always in my day bag when on vacation.

You never know if the wind will tangle up your hair, or you need a quick brush after swimming. Plus, you get a little mirror, which is always handy! 

Here are some other beauty hacks travelers should know! 

Thank you for reading what to pack for a day trip! We hope this list will give you some ideas of what to pack during your adventures. Did we forget anything? Let us know in the comments section below- we would love to hear from you!

For more packing information, check out our essential packing tips all travelers should know!

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Mark Crone

Saturday 14th of March 2020

The perfect travel day bad (except the makeup for me...). Great ideas and reminders! Thanks,

CARMEN | Wellington World Travels

Thursday 12th of March 2020

Great list. I have been looking for a collapsible water bottle, so I will check it out. definitely scarf and lipstick for me. And sanitizer! After this crisis, I don't think I will ever forget putting that in my bag. lol

Julianne | Pints, Pounds, & Pate

Thursday 12th of March 2020

Thanks so much for sharing! Great tips! Looking forward to being able to pack a vacation bag in the near future, when we're all back to normal! xx

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