Packing a Day Trip Bag

Saturday mornings are usually a mad rush of activity as Jake and I try to get ready in record time so that we can make the most of the day trip we have planned for ourselves. We have a tendency to jam pack our weekends so that we can have as much fun as possible. This definitely ensures that we never waste a weekend on a couch, but it can get a bit overwhelming. Since I battle with anxiety I have had to figure out ways to minimise the stress in the mornings of the day trip. Usually this comes from making sure that we have all the essentials like hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, hand sanitiser….you know, all the things that are so easy to forget.

having some essential items handy whenever you go out on a day trip can really make a huge difference for the adventure. These basic items really come in handy whenever we go out on our day trips or even road trips...

Forgetting any one of these essentials can have terrible consequences like migraines from hunger or sun glare to severe sunburn…typical adventure killers, because life happens.

So I realised that I had to figure out a way to beat the road-trip-morning stress as well as make sure that I have the essentials to avoid any disasters.

The simplest solution I found was to create a day trip bag or travel bag. I sometimes like to call it a go bag because it’s the last thing I grab before we ‘go’. I keep the travel bag pretty small and in it I keep all the travel essentials I need, and they live there. Sometimes I find that I’ll need to buy a duplicate of something small like hand sanitiser, just so that the travel bag has its own one. It might cost a little more but It is so so sooo worth it.

When I’m packing my travel day bag I like to stick to little travel-sized bottles of whatever I need. This keeps things light, and I don’t have to worry about leaving anything behind because it doesn’t fit or it’s too heavy. The key to creating the ideal travel bag is that it should have the essentials for the trip, but also be easy to carry.

I usually use a little tote bag that I found at Pick ‘n Pay, but sometimes I use a very lightweight backpack. I like to keep this small so that it’s easy to carry around. I find having a very light travel backpack works the best because it much easier to carry than a tote bag. The one I use folds up nice and small and is made out of very durable fabric.

Here are the items I keep permanently in my travel day bag.


essentials for summer

Being in South Africa means you absolutely cannot be out in the sun without sunscreen. Spending a day in the full sun without sunscreen is both painful and stupid! I have made the mistake of forgetting to put on sunscreen several times and believe me I have suffered severely for it. It’s so easy to forget to put on sunscreen before leaving the house, but having sunburn for the rest of your vacation here is a terrible way to spend your holiday.

Keeping a bottle in your travel bag means that you can put it on as soon as you remember. I like to use Nivea’s sunscreen range in SPF 50 because you don’t have to wait before going into the sun for it to work. It starts working immediately. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me on long day trips.

Hand sanitiser

This is another essential  I cannot leave the house without. I hate getting sick during my trips, and I find that the easiest way to avoid this is to use hand sanitiser often. This is especially handy if you are on a road trip and want to eat something, but there are no bathrooms near by. Using hand sanitiser before eating also means you are less likely to catch a tummy bug or food poisoning from something you touched.


I love these little sachets of electrolytes. Because it gets so hot and dry here in summer, I tend to battle with heat stroke or dehydration and the result is a splitting migraine. I found that the easiest way to prevent this is to have some electrolytes as soon as I feel a migraine coming on. I highly recommend keeping some in your Travel Day bag, just in case.

Pill box

If you have any allergies or need to take medication daily it is totally worth it to keep a few of your pills in a little pill box in your travel bag. It’s so easy to forget to take your meds when you are rushing around trying to get ready in a hurry.


Peanuts and raisins, a protein bar, anything with protein really. Having a snack ready in case you suddenly get dizzy hungry is so important when you are on holiday. We don’t realise just how many calories we burn when we are on holiday.  Protein will keep you nice and full till you can get to a restaurant or back home so you won’t crash.


cederberg structures

If you are touring around Cape Town in Summer then this little item is another must. Firstly it will save you from a migraine from the glare of the sun and secondly it will save the delicate skin on your face from severe sunburn. I like my little First Ascent cap because it’s comfy, light and folds up so it takes so little space in the travel bag.


This is the coolest little thing ever. I got mine from the sunflower foundation, but you can get them practically anywhere. I love how versatile it is, you can use it to protect the back of your neck from the sun during a hike, keep your hair out of your face on a windy day, or protect your face from beach sand on a windy day.

This is definitely a go bag essential.

Hand wipes

I like using disinfectant wipes instead of normal baby wipes, purely because you can quickly clean your hand or a cut with it. It’s just more versatile.

Polarised sunglasses

bright cold day

I can’t stress enough how important polarised sunglasses are if you are visiting Cape Town. We get a lot of sun and glare here, even in Winter,  and it’s so easy to get horrible horrible migraines from the glare. Normal UV filters sunglasses just don’t cut it because the glare is so intense. Invest in a good pair of polarised ones to protect your eyes

A light water bottle – BPA free

Summer in Cape Town can be very hot and dry and it’s very easy to get dehydrated and heat stroked. I have made the mistake of not keeping cool and hydrated before and it’s a mistake I never want to make again.

I have a whole bunch of lightweight water bottles and I find that plastic BPA free ones are the best to carry around. The glass ones are just too heavy.

A light jacket or hoodie

The weather can change very quickly here so having a hoodie with you at all times is essential, especially if your day adventure runs into the evening.

Pocket tissues

Summer in Cape Town can be quite windy and with all the flowers open we tend to get a lot of pollen floating around. This can trigger sneezes galore, so I keep tissues handy just in case.

A thin thermal vest

If you are traveling around Cape Town in Winter or Spring then layering up is essential. I make sure I carry a vest around in winter. The weather in Cape Town changes often and dramatically so it’s best to be prepared, especially if you are traveling in Winter.  


If you are traveling to Cape Town in winter it comes in handy to have a pair of gloves in your go bag at all times.

I like wooly gloves like these, but this is a personal preference. You don’t need snow gloves though, that may be over kill unless you really can’t handle the cold.

Fleece jacket

Again, a winter essential. In winter I never leave home without this essential.

The one I have is quite bulky but there are other really good and much lighter versions out there.

A good rain coat

Winter is rainy season in Cape Town so you will need to be prepared for anything and everything. I had to buy a men’s raincoat which isn’t the most flattering but I love it because it keep me so warm and dry. The hood is a life-saver on a rain coat, obviously, and the fact that it has air vents under the arms so that I don’t get all sweaty is so important. I also love that it folds up super small.

A good down jacket

I live in this down jacket In winter . It’s not ‘real’ down, but some sort of fibre that acts just the same. It is so warm and comfy that I feel like i’m walking around in my duvet. I have to really remind myself to wear some of my other jackets and jerseys in winter because given half a chance I’ll only ever wear this one.

I love the little details too like the pink zips and details.

And that’s pretty much all the essentials that I keep in my Day Trip Travel Bag. I obviously have one for Winter and another for Summer.

I know this sounds like a lot of essentials, but believe it or not most of this fits into a very small backpack or even a tote bag. In winter I carry a second travel bag just for the jackets. This stays in the car when were out and about and is for just in case the weather changes on us.

Having all these little travel essential pre packed in my little travel bag has saved us so much time and stress in the mornings it’s unbelievable.

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