What to Pack for a Day Trip

Day trips are a wonderful way to explore an area without needing to repack and move hotels every few days. One of the great things is being able to leave the big bag behind and travel lighter. It can be worth having a smaller day pack just for this kind of day. Chances are there are several things you want to pack for a day trip.

What to Pack for a Day Trip

What type of bag to pack for a day trip

I prefer something that can double as a day pack as well as hold of some of my important stuff on transport days. Another great option is a day pack that rolls up, stuffs down, flattens, or otherwise fits in your big pack.

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I personally love my REI stuff bag because it folds up into itself and takes up almost no space.

pack for a day trip - REI stuff bag
I love my REI Stuff Pack

Andy loves his Osprey Ultralight stuff pack. It opens wider than the REI stuff bag does and it’s a few ounces lighter.

Another great daypack we tried recently is the Arcido Vaga 20L backpack. It has a little more structure than stuff bags but can be packed into a bigger backpack or suitcase more easily than a daypack with a stiff frame.

what to pack for a day trip - Andy wearing Arcido Vaga backpack
The Arcido Vaga 20L backpack is a good choice for a day trip

These are the things I usually take on a day trip or just on a day wandering in town. It is usually more than I can put in my pockets and I hate carrying things individually in my hands if I can avoid it.

I have a small backpack that normally I use for day trips. Women who use their cell phone as a camera could probably get away with a large purse.

Entertainment to pack for a day trip

Pack a camera to capture the moments and a book or Kindle for when you have down time.


Taking pictures is one of the joys of travels. This could range from your iPhone to a point and shoot to a DSLR. It’s probably the first thing I think to pack for a day trip.

Depending on the trip, I travel with either my Canon DSLR or my Sony point and shoot.

Although with smart phone cameras getting better and better, sometimes I only take my phone.

what to pack for a day trip - camera, Kindle
I never travel without my camera and Kindle


I like to have something to read on the trains, and a Kindle is a great way to carry loads of books without the weight.

Sometimes the scenery is worth watching and sometimes it isn’t. If you are the contemplative type, bring a journal and a pen as well.

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Food to pack for a day trip

It’s always good to have a little snack in case you get hungry.


Or soda or juice or whatever you want to drink. It is nice to have your own bottle and not have to buy more along the way. Plus you often end up doing a lot of walking on day trips, so it’s always good to be prepared.

what to pack for a day trip - refillable bottles
Refillable bottles are good for the environment and save you money


Food never seems to appear right when you want it. I get snippy and unhappy if I am hungry, so snacks are a must when I pack for a day trip.

Snacks also help me adjust when I’m traveling in a place where the meal schedules are at different times than I’m used to, like eating in Italy.

what to pack for a day trip - fruit
Fruit, granola bars, or a small bag of pretzels are easy snacks to bring on a day trip

More helpful things to pack for a day trip

Here are a few more recommendations for things to pack for a day trip. These will help your trip go more smoothly.


Of course this is optional based on the local weather. Though I have found umbrellas just as useful to keeping sun off me on really hot days as well as rain.

Light jacket

Again, this is a situational item. If you are spending a long day out, weather can vary and nights can be cool. Sometimes trains or buses can be cold as well, so a light jacket or sweatshirt can be worthwhile to pack for a day trip.

Maps and brochures

Even if I think I know where I am going, I still bring the map when I pack for a day trip. They are light and I have been caught lost often enough to want them. Or download Google offline maps ahead of time.

Tissues, Lotions, Sun protection, etc.

Tissues don’t take up much room, and I often find uses for them. Aside from the obvious uses for tissues, I have been in way too many bathrooms that don’t have toilet paper, so I never go out without tissues.

things to pack for a day trip - sunscreen and bug repellent solids
Depending on your destination, sunscreen and bug repellent should be on your day trip packing list

If you’re going to be outside a lot, it’s a good idea to bring your sunscreen along. Depending on where you’re traveling, bug repellent might be a good item to pack.

I use solid sunscreen and solid bug repellent, and I think they’re great for cutting back on liquids.

You might also want to pack sunglasses and a hat on sunny days. As a woman, I usually like to bring some hand lotion and lip balm with me.

Don’t forget anything more specific to your own needs. For example, if you have medication you need to take at certain times of the day, pack it for your day trip.

packing list for a day trip
What should you pack for a day trip?

Packing for two

These days, I often travel with my husband. When we pack for a day trip, we can usually deal with having one day pack between the two of us. Most of the items on this list are pretty small and fit into one bag.

The only thing that’s too big is my DSLR, so if I bring that one instead of my point and shoot camera, I carry that in its camera bag. I put my ID, ATM card, and some cash in a pocket in the camera bag, so it’s almost like a purse.

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You don’t need a lot for your day trip, but putting a few things in a day pack for a day trip will help you feel more comfortable, and you’ll enjoy your day trip more if you’re prepared. This is true whether you’re going on an organized tour or planning a day trip on your own.

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What should you pack for a day trip? Here are my suggestions that will make your day trip a little easier, less stressful, and more enjoyable. #packing #packingtips #traveltips