Whether we go for a day hike on the trails, an afternoon bike ride along the beach or set out to explore the city, I’m always prepared by taking my sightseeing bag with important travel essentials to make our adventures more comfortable and fun.
That old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” reigns even when exploring and sightseeing. So, packing important necessities in your daypack may very well be that defining moment of making you the hero of the day.
My sightseeing sling bag contains things that can fix, prevent or heal the hurts; within reason of course. Of course, I try not to overload it but it’s nice to have them wherever we go.
Whether it’s a bandaid for a cut, erasing that embarrassing ketchup stain, quick-basting a hem or preventing a sunburn, these important travel bag essentials will prove their worth when you need them most.
“Better to have them and not need them than to not have them when you need them.”
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Travel Essentials to Pack in Your Sightseeing Bag
Identification, Cash and Credit Card
It’s wise to not only carry your identification such as your driver’s license, but it’s equally important to pack some short cash and at least one credit card.
Cash can be used for buying convenience store merchandise as well as for tipping and small souvenirs. Really, you’ll need no more than $100 in single bills, fives and ten dollar bills.
We’ve noticed that coin-fed parking meters are a thing of the past. So, it would be a good idea to bring a credit card that has a low dollar spending limit to use in the parking kiosks. And bicycle rental companies and tourism companies are happy to take credit over cash. Just make certain to pay those off immediately when you get back from your day’s adventure.
Refillable Water Bottle
Running in and out of stores for a bottle of water can become quite expensive. So, bring your own refillable, BPA-free water bottle with you everywhere you go. And, when you stop for lunch, ask your server for a fresh glass of ice water that you can refill your bottle.
Oh, and if you don’t want it to weigh down your bag, just clip a carabiner on it to hang on your belt loop or strap.
Hat and Sunglasses
You don’t want to ruin your day of making amazing memories squinting at the views or getting sunburn on your face or back of your neck. So, a lightweight wide-brimmed adventure hat is the way to go.
As far as sunglasses, make sure your sunglasses are polarized with 100% UV400 Protection.
Sunscreen and Bug Spray
In addition to your sun hat (above), you’ll need to protect your skin with a high SPF sunscreen. It’s important to get one that delivers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection; protecting your skin from up to 98% of the sun’s most damaging UV rays. Give yourself a good all over spray before leaving your vehicle and every hour or so after.
And if you’re exploring takes you past dusk or in buggy areas, don’t forget to stash your insect repellent with DEET that repels those pesky mosquitos that may transfer viruses.
Hand Sanitizer and Antibacterial Wipes
There’s no doubt you’re going to want a small bottle of hand sanitizer, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic. In fact, it would be wise for everyone in your party to keep them in their pocket at all times with an extra bottle in your sightseeing daypack.
Having travel-size antibacterial wipes is also a must. Whether they’re for wiping off a table at the ice cream shop or for those sticky fingers after eating that fried dough, they are a travel essential you’ll appreciate, in your daypack, purse or your pocket.
If you’re going to be out all day, it would be a good idea to take a couple packs of Venture Wipes to freshen up for those hot sweaty adventures. These are our ultimate favorite, not only for our sightseeing excursions but also, they are fabulous for those in-between non-shower days when we’re boondocking. Trust me when I say that we’ve tested several brands and these win hands down!
Oh, and for you ladies, don’t forget to include a day’s worth of feminine hygiene supplies and girl wipes. And if you’re not fond of squatting, I personally love my Go Girl for those times where there is no bathroom out on the hiking trail.
Small First Aid Kit
It never fails, when you need a bandaid, you never have one. Or, when you feel that headache coming on, it seems that a store to buy some pain reliever is never nearby. Oh, and let’s not forget that splinter you got on the picnic table at the beach. So, be prepared by having a pocket-size first aid kit.
And, if you’re prone to dry eyes, you may want to add in a bottle of eye drops.
You may want to check out our Best First Aid Kits for RVs or Campers
I also fell in love with these easy-to-grab over-the-counter single-dose packets that include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, anti-diarrheal tablets, antihistamines, and antacid. No need to carry a bunch of little pill bottles or a pill container that needs labeling. I just grab one of each packet and stuff ’em in my sightseeing bag.
It never fails, when we’re wearing that favorite sightseeing blouse, chocolate ice cream or some sort of stain ends up in the middle of my top. So, I’ve made it a point to make certain my stain remover wipes or my travel-size stain remover stick are packed. I also include my pocket-size sewing kit.
Really, you never know when you’ll need them. So they’re good to have so you don’t look like a slob.
Why spend upwards to four dollars for a healthy low-carb protein bar in a convenience store or gift shop when you can just bring them from home. Other suggested snacks-on-the-go may include peanut butter packets, almonds and beef jerky. Just a reminder, try to keep your snacks low-carb and high protein. The last thing you want to do on your sightseeing adventure is a sugar crash or get sick.
A small lightweight set of binoculars is a great sightseeing daypack essential very few think about. But, I’m here to tell you that they are great for scoring awesome parking spots, bird watching and looking at handsome guys on boats. Oh, and they weigh less than your smartphone which is an added bonus!
Personally, I use my iPhone to take photos of our adventures. However, if you’re a photographer, taking your camera is a must to get those amazing shots. Whether it’s your DSLR camera or a simple and inexpensive, pocket-size, point and shoot camera, just make certain you have a protective case to keep the lens from breaking.
For a easy smartphone photography tips, check out our 5 Simple Tips to Capture Great Photos on Your Smartphone
Reusable Shopping Bag
I always carry a eco-friendly, washable reusable shopping bag in my sightseeing bag, backpack as well as in our glove box of our Jeep. Since a lot of merchants are now omitting shopping bags, they are great to carry your wares and purchases.
Also, they’re nice to have them for that unexpected farmer’s market, craft shows or even picking shells up at the beach. And since they’re washable, no need to worry about putting a soiled bag in your sightseeing bag. Just toss them in the washer with the rest of your laundry.
If the temperatures are iffy outside, you may want to pack a light sweatshirt or lightweight windbreaker.
But, in instances that there’s a low probability of rain and you don’t want to take your bulky rain jacket, just pack a disposable rain poncho that you can just toss when the sun comes back out. You can even use them to lay on the ground to sit on.
Oh, and speaking of rain, a small compact umbrella is not only essential to have on those wet days but also, they’re great to shield you from the hot sun.
Types of Sightseeing Bags or Daypacks
Easily described, a daypack is your touring gear bag that contains all your touring essentials you may need throughout your day of sightseeing or exploring.
But, the type of adventure will dictate what sightseeing bag or daypack you’ll need. But regardless of activity, your touring bag needs to be comfortable, lightweight, fit correctly and allow easy to access to your travel essentials and gear.
Our favorite types of touring sightseeing bags:
Cross Body Sling Bag – Soft, tightly woven 100% Cotton Canvas with two large pockets, smartphone pocket and small chapstick and hand sanitizer pocket. 20″ x 11″ x 3″
Lightweight Daypack – Main compartment provides easy accessibility with mesh side pockets. Multi-function interior sleeve can be used for either a hydration reservoir or tablet. Front zippered pocket with mesh organizer and key clip
Tote Style Touring Bag – Water Resistant Shoulder Tote Bag with Multi Pockets 14.6″ x 15.4″ x 4.7″.
Hydration Backpack – Backpack with hydration bladder all in one! No need to carry separate water bottle. Perfect for longer days on the beat or the trail. 85 oz. water bladder.
Waist Pack – Smaller touring waist bag allows you to keep smaller contents for morning or afternoon adventure. Keeps your credentials, keys, smartphone, water bottles and small contents (above) leaving your hands free to take photos.
Roomy Lumbar Pack – This bag can be worn several ways! Five pockets have enough space to hold your daily supplies. Also has a water bottle or sports drink holder. Main compartment is large enough to store mobile phone, wallet, mini camera, rain coat or other touring bag essentials.
Don’t forget comfortable shoes!
And lastly, we all know that if your feet aren’t comfortable, the rest of you is going to suffer. So, a good pair of sturdy walking shoes are a must. And while flip flops may be your favorites, they offer very little protection in crowds, stairs and escalators.
I love my waterproof sandals simply because they offer great arch support and protect my piggies while having the summer sandal feel. Plus, if I want to walk along the water’s edge, no need to worry about them getting wet. They are perfect for walking the beach boardwalk or the sidewalk!
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