What should you carry in your travel daypack?
Your plane has landed. You finally cleared immigration. Managed to locate your hotel. Checked in. Dumped all your heavy suitcases in the room. Now comes the part you’ve been waiting for – time to explore the new city!
While you can go empty-handed, it is much better to have some essential items inside your daypack. This is the travel bag that you take around during the day. Daypacks can come in all shapes and sizes – some use them for hiking, some for casual exploring, some even for shopping! They are usually lightweight backpacks or sling bags enough to carry some important items while travelling.
For me, I’ve always used a medium-sized sling bag, light enough to toss into any suitcase, yet strong enough to hold essential items.
Apart from their cellphones, most people would carry an additional camera – point-and-shoot, DSLRs, action cameras – to capture higher-quality images and videos. No clouds are obscuring Mount Fuji today, you would want to capture this rare moment in high-definition! If your cameras are fragile, do ensure your daypack has adequate padding.
With non-stop landscape photography, countless selfies, Google-maps checking, places to eat researching, you can be sure your gadgets will run of battery quicker than you will realise. A fully-charged powerbank tucked away at the back of the daypack will give you the peace of mind knowing that you will still be able to capture that full moon at the end of a long travelling day.
With the thinning ozone layer, your eyes are more susceptible to the harmful ultra-violet (UV) rays from the Sun. In some cities, it is scorching and you want to watch the waves crashing on the beach without any glare in your eyes. In addition, sunglasses help to hide your eyebags collected from a sleepless red-eye flight and make you look way cooler in your holiday snaps.
Caps / Beanies
If you want to see the world without any tints from your sunglasses, a good way to keep out the Sun’s glare is by wearing a cap or a hat. To save space, you can even loop your cap around your daypack’s straps. During the winter, beanies (or ski hats) will keep your ears warm. Both hats will even keep your head dry from light rain or snow. You never have to worry about bad hair days anymore – caps and beanies will hold your hair in place!
Light rain jackets such as windbreakers (or wind cheaters) are perfect for drizzles, cold chills, and even protecting yourself from the Sun’s rays. Being lightweight, they are foldable and do not take up much space in your daypack.
These do not take up a lot of space and yet are very useful during the winter. Only avid selfie-takers who find themselves unable to snap more than 10 photos due to frozen fingers will appreciate the usefulness of gloves. Some gloves even come with screen-sensitive tips, allowing you to take countless photographs without losing the feeling in your fingers.
Studies have shown that wearing sunscreen lowers your risk of skin cancer. The Sun in some countries is unforgiving, and if you do not want to suffer from sunburn, prevent your skin from premature aging, and keep your skin healthy, sunscreen is a must. A small tube will hardly take up any space in your bag.
Winters can cause your lips to dry up and cause painful cracks. This is when you will feel thankful you threw in that tiny lipbalm into your daypack. It will help hydrate your lips and prevent further irritation and infection. In addition, you do not want to sport those embarrassing cracked, peeling lips in your holiday photos, do you?
A rule of thumb when travelling – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Sometimes we get so excited exploring we forget drink enough water and fall ill during the trip. Begin your day with a full water bottle in your daypack, then refill once it’s empty. If you get those bottles with loop-tops, you can save even more space by hanging them outside your daypack. I usually carry 500 ml and top it up regularly during the day.
You may be waiting for a connecting flight or are on a 3-hour bus ride to the mountains and suddenly feel hungry. No supermarts are in sight? No problem when you have a handy pack of chips or a chocolate bar in your daypack to fill your stomach.
I always make it a habit to dump at least one packet of tissue paper in my daypack. The public toilets of most countries may not have a constant supply of toilet paper – and you know how the call of nature can strike anytime, anywhere. To prevent unwanted staining of your clothes and dampening your holiday, that packet of tissue will be your life saver while on the throne.
Tissue papers are also handy for accidental spills while having your meals and also for wiping deer spit or bird poop off your clothes. Well, you never know!
One thing I like to do is to stuff spare cash in various compartments of my daypack. I carry a small money purse (or a money belt, depending on the country), but you never know when you may lose your wallet. Having spare cash stowed in various areas will allow you to buy a bus ticket back to your hotel or get you something to eat should any unlucky event occur.
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