I am not a light packer. Whenever I went for out-of-town work, my suitcase was always full of stuff that I made sure I had on hand just in case. I can attribute it to my being a worrier or maybe I just adored Mary Poppins too much (her bag is basically bottomless, right?).
There was even a time when I brought a mini electric kettle with me! To my defense, we were able to use the kettle throughout our assignment because the hotel we stayed in did not provide that in the rooms. Those were the times we were living on coffee and cup noodles because we were saving for activities to do over the weekends.
While it was good that I was prepared almost always for unexpected events—and we had lots of them during our travels—it still feels nice to pack light from time to time, especially for day trips. Unless you know how to use an undetectable extension charm like what Hermione used on her small, beaded handbag she used while she, Harry and Ron were hunting for Voldemort’s Horcruxes, you may want to know what essential stuff to bring with you to make your day trips carefree other than your cellphone and wallet.
Here are my top 7 things to get when you’re touring a place and you want to be ready for anything but still travel light:
- A spacious bag
You’d want to invest in a good quality bag that can carry a lot of stuff (I am talking about the pasalubongs and souvenirs you’ll buy during your trip) but not get destroyed like getting the straps yanked/ripped off. The more compartments, the better so that you will not have difficulty looking for stuff inside. Also, make sure it’s sturdy but not heavy. There are a lot of bags that are already heavy on their own because of their material.
You would also like to consider the weather and the place you’re going to. If it’s unpredictable and it rains from time to time, go for one that repels water. If you’re going to the beach, go for a dry bag. If you’re going to be hiking, go for a backpack. Find a bag that suits your activity but also expresses your personality. After all, your bag is a part of your OOTD. Make sure it isn’t boring!
Also, you may want to just bring an eco-bag or reusable shopping bag with you when you’re planning to buy a lot of stuff during the trip.
Dry bag: Sandbar Adventures
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Whether you’re going to the beach or riding an ATV, you must never forget to protect your skin from the sun. And no, don’t start with me about vitamin D! Find a sunscreen for your body and another for your face. Yup! Different parts, different needs. Unless, of course, the product mentions being suitable for both the face and the body.
Find one with sufficient SPF for you and comes in a handy bottle or tube. Sampler sizes are great for this! But, if you’re going with friends and you’re all okay with using the same product, you may want to buy the ones in sachets and all of you can use an entire sachet up so you would not have to put it back in your bag. That will only spell disaster.
The best for me is still the sunscreen in spray bottles. Not the mist kind. The ones that come in canisters, like the ones used for deo and body sprays.
Belo SunExpert Tinted Sunscreen (for the face)
Dermplus Moisturizing Sunscreen (has a sachet version and is safe for both face and body)
Bioré UV Perfect Spray (My absolute favorite when I don’t want to feel sticky with sunscreen)
I personally prefer alcohol over gel hand sanitizer because it’s not as sticky eventually and is more versatile. Also, I prefer ethyl over isopropyl. Go whatever works for you! Lastly, I prefer the regular bottles over those with the spray tops. Sometimes those sprayers won’t function properly when I need them too because they can get stuck.
For the size of the bottle to carry, it depends on the kind of activity you are going to. If it involves getting yourself dirty, bring some more. If you will just go sightseeing, a 50ml bottle should do the trick.
Cleene Ethyl Alcohol (I love the smell!)
- Wet wipes
You never know when you’ll need to wipe your hands, your face, your legs or your butt (you know, emergency bathroom situations when there is no bidet so you can wash).
I personally spray alcohol on the wipes and clean my hands before eating. I admit, I think I am bordering germophobic already. But, it is always safe to have clean hands before you eat so you won’t get sick!
Watsons wet wipes
I’d go for a 20-sheet pack but Watsons has mini packs too that can fit your pocket! They also have 10-sheet packs.
- First-aid kit
Nope, not that one that’s as big as the one in your office’s emergency supplies cabinet.
These are the items that I make sure are in my first-aid kit:
a. Asthma metered-dose inhaler / other asthma medicine
This is for asthmatics like me. Asthma is no laughing matter so make sure you have your inhaler/medications with you. If it’s in a table/pill form, bring at least two with you.
I am allergic to seafoods (I just turn red) so when I want to eat shrimps, crabs and clams when we go to places where seafood is very, very delicious, I take anti-histamine beforehand. Also, it’s nice to have anti-histamine in your bag in case you get an allergic reaction to something you were not aware you are allergic too. Two to three tabs should be enough for one very long day.
c. Pain reliever
If you’re someone who gets headaches or migraines, always have your pain reliever with you so you can stop the pain before it gets worse. After all, you would not want a headache to get in the way of your enjoying your trip, right? Just a couple of tablets should work fine. You don’t need to bring a pack of ten with you.
d. Anti-diarrhea tablets
When we travel, we love eating out! But sometimes, our stomachs do not agree with everything we eat.
In case of trouble brewing in your stomach that would cause frequent bathroom trips (I hope you have your wipes with you!), an anti-diarrhea medicine can save your day from completely going down the drain (or the toilet in this case).
f. Adhesive bandage
This is for the clumsy like me but it’s useful to have a couple of bandages on hand. Three to five pieces should do the trick.
You should keep yourself hydrated especially when it’s very hot. Also, it is good to have something ready to help you drink your meds when needed.
Before you go on your trip, try to research for weather forecast and the place’s general climate. You have to be prepared for the kind you might encounter because you would never want to be underdressed or overdressed.
Some people are unable to take the heat of the sun without an umbrella or their noses bleed (my aunt is like this). Some are not so sensitive with the heat.
I personally do not like using umbrellas when it is sunny since I try to stay out of the sun most of the time anyway but when it rains, I have to have one with me.
Find one that’s small and light for a sunny day and a more dome-shaped one for when it’s rainy. It does not have to be automatic because those can be heavy.
For sunny weather, Fibrella F270 (I had one but am not sure if this is still available. You may look for something similar)
- Powerbank and charging cord
Back in the days when Nokia dominated the mobile phone industry, it was easy to buy an extra batter and charge it so you have back up. These days, we rely on powerbanks.
Find a powerbank that’s lightweight but can store enough power to charge your phone multiple times, especially when you’re using it to take pictures and videos. You do not have to go for the ones with 20,000mah because they can be quite heavy. That is, unless your cellphone battery drains really quickly and is almost on life support.
Otherwise, you may go for powerbanks that’s just at 10,000mah or even 8,000mah especially when you’re not going to be out the ENTIRE day.
Don’t forget your power cable/charging cord because without it, your powerbank is useless
Asus Zenpower Duo 10,050mah
Being prepared does not mean having to carry rocks with you. I have always carried all these stuff I mentioned when I went on trips. They were not heavy to bring at all. My bag only starts to get heavy after shopping (impulsive buyer here, sorry).
Of course, you may have to bring more stuff with you depending on where you’re going. For example, you’ll need to bring extra clothes and towel when going to the beach. Make sure to have large resealable plastic bags with you to keep your wet clothes in so they don’t mess the rest of your stuff. Don’t forget a waterproof case for your phone too! If going on a hike, you’d want to take a water bottle and a face towel with you. And if you’re going shopping, a large, foldable eco-bag will be helpful when buying a lot of stuff.
Invest in travel-sized bottles that you can fill with your favorite products so you only need to bring the quantity you need. Beabi is a good place to buy these stuff from. The Landmark is also a great place to buy travel essentials at very affordable prices.
If your travel is overseas, you may want to ensure your passport and other relevant travel documents are with you. What I do with mine is to keep them in an organizer that I keep in zip lock bag so they will be safe from accidentally getting wet or ruined. I do the same thing for my wallet especially when going on a sudden trip to the beach and I do not have a dry bag with me. I cannot afford to ruin my cards or else, I’ll be broke for the entire duration of the trip/travel.
The most important thing to carry with you though is a sense of adventure. Don’t just take pictures. Be in the moment! Enjoy the sun, the breeze, and the activities! Pictures may last a lifetime but you would not want your memories of your travel just all about taking pictures, right?
***Disclaimer: The recommendations mentioned here are just based on personal preference. They are not necessarily the best in the market.