Five essentials for a day in the city

When heading out for a day of exploring, it can be difficult to strike the balance between packing all your necessities and imitating a packhorse. As somewhat of a seasoned traveller, I tend to resemble Mary Poppins with her big bag of contingencies, but I have also learned to pack the perfect ‘essential’ day bag. If you’re setting out for a day in the city, here are five things you should not leave behind:

Umbrella
As a Melbourne girl – where it’s not unusual for it to rain, hail and shine in the space of an hour – I always carry an umbrella, which has placed me in good stead in my new home of London. While it may seem pesky at times, you’ll be thankful for your foresight during an unexpected downpour, particularly as you watch all the poor souls getting drenched.

Map
Call me old-fashioned but there are times when nothing beats a physical map. While Google Maps is undoubtedly a game changer for travelling and discovering new places, it is still only as good as the phone it is on. So, it is always best to have a plan B because, if your phone runs out of battery, gets lost or stolen or doesn’t have internet access, you may find yourself stuck between a rock and an unknown place.

attractive young tourist walks through a city park with a map

Portable charger/back up batteries
On a trip to Verona a few years back, my sister, godmother and I posed on Juliet’s balcony for the perfect photo, with my godfather snapping madly below. Weeks later, we got home and went to develop the film, but found the camera was empty! Although modern cameras may not require film, they still require battery power. Sod’s law says your device will give out at the worst possible time, so improve your odds by carrying a portable charger or extra battery.

Baby wipes
Also known as the answer to many of life’s problems. Dropped lunch on your previously pristine white t-shirt? Baby wipe. Moved to tears by the beauty of the Sistine Chapel? Baby wipe. Not only can they sanitise your hands from any germs on public transport, they can also be the perfect solution to washing on the run – also known as the ‘baby wipe bath’.

Scarf
One would be forgiven for thinking I had shares in scarf manufacturing, given how often I profess my love for them. But I bang on about them so frequently because of their endless versatility. Not only are they great for layering in cool weather, they can also protect you from the sun, be fashioned into an item of clothing should disaster strike, or act as a pillow, blanket, towel or rug.

Of course, this list assumes you wouldn’t head out without your phone, keys, wallet and cash (it is always handy to have some coins as well as notes). And don’t forget a water bottle!

What are your must-haves when you head out for the day?

Written by SJ

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