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Does anyone travel without a day pack?

I went to Spain and Portugal last year and went out several days without a day pack. I had a money belt, my iPhone in one pocket and my Sony Camera in the other.

If I needed a jacket I tied it around my waist until I needed it, if it looked like it was going to rain I hand carried my umbrella.

I bought water when I got thirsty, or something more interesting if I saw something at a food stand.

Does anyone else spend days in Europe without a day pack, or am I just nuts?

Posted by
1194 posts

I think it is absolutely reasonable, especially in the summer when the weather is consistent most of the day. You don't need that much for an excursion - wallet, phone, keys. Add in sweater and rain jacket when the weather gets iffy. You see all these people carrying heavy bags of "just in case" items that never get used. I mean really - you're not climbing a mountain. There are bandages and refreshments just around the corner. But people bring all these things in huge bags and then they are worried about theft because their big bags make them targets.
It is important to have clothing with some pockets. That's a challenge for women's clothing. But yes, it certainly can be done.
Congratulations on the freedom.

Posted by
9110 posts

A daypack is useful in the far beyonds since it's hard to get a good snakebite kit in your pocket.

Posted by
10344 posts

Yes, many travelers travel without a day-pack. Here and especially in Europe I use Rick's Civita over-shoulder day bag (like a messenger bag, bigger than a murse).
I've heard these are esp. popular in France. But actually mine is a Rick Steves model.
You buy a bag that is large enough to hold what you need to put in it.
Some people might even feel they fit in a little better (oh horrors) without a back-pack.

Posted by
4 posts

Hmm, a man purse is a lot smaller than a full day pack, but I'm curious about others that like to stay really low key and who travel just with what they need in their pockets. I didn't really find that I needed anything the days I went out empty handed.

I don't think I've ever traveled with a snake bite kit in Europe. What exactly is inside one? Would you advise carrying antidote serums for just the local snakes, or maybe expand the selection to exotic snakes that may have been accidentally flown in to the town you're visiting?

Posted by
10344 posts

Well I guess it almost goes without saying: as with many travel issues, this is entirely a matter of personal preference. Shoulder bags meet some travelers' needs.

Posted by
172 posts

I love Italian Furla purses, so when I need a new one I buy one in Italy and use it instead of a day pack while I'm on that trip. No matter where I am, I am treated as a native, (ie. talked to first in the native lang.) makes it kind of fun when I'm in a country where I can answer back! In cities I often go without a day pack, esp. in summer. I use a day pack mostly for long hikes, which I do a lot of.

Posted by
419 posts

Just curious. Assuming that you live in the USA, would you feel it necessary to have a "day pack" to travel about in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City or anywhere else in the USA?
Why do you think that things would be different in Europe?
A purse or a wallet, a secure money belt, that's all you need..
Relax, everything that you could possibly need or want will be close by and handy.

Posted by
8631 posts

Well, I find a daypack more handy than crammed pockets. I use a daypack traveling in the US too. Not a hardship. I do recall a thread where a wife carried all her husbands stuff in her purse, if that's an option.

Posted by
1393 posts

I use a canvas satchel myself. Its not a man purse, its a satchel. Indiana Jones had one.

Posted by
162 posts

I don't, but I generally travel in Europe in the fall/winter months so I'm usually wearing a coat so I have more pockets. Truth be told though, a digital camera and maybe a map are the only extra things I carry aside from my usual stuff.

Posted by
212 posts

Don't own a day pack...or a back pack. Have been lucky enough to get to Europe once or twice a year for the last 10 years. Do own a PacSafe shoulder bag but often use just my favorite pocketbook.

Posted by
484 posts

It depends on various factors. If I'm close to the hotel and gone for just 1-2 hours, then I don't need a daypack. I did not take one to the Vatican due to crowding and bag retrieval issues. However, I usually have some type of bag even in the US. On workdays, I have a purse and lunchbox. Traveling - I have extra stuff like water (I walk a lot), small snack, travel book, map, iPad or camera, etc. Stuff that I don't usually need when I 'm at home or work. So, it really depends on how long I will be out and about. I even use an old rolling carryon when I spend all day at the water park with my daughter.

Posted by
2349 posts

I don't carry a purse or bag in my everyday life. Just keys, phone, wallet. But my car has the lip balm, hand lotion, tissues, etc. And my book or Kindle for reading at lunch. So when I'm travelling without a car, I carry a messenger bag. It looks like a purse but I call it my day bag.

I could travel without the bag, but where would I keep my Kindle? Gotta have that. God forbid I should be sitting somewhere for 15 minutes without it!

You can't be a hero with the snake bite kit if it doesn't contain all possible antivenoms. "Why, yes, I can help with that nasty black mamba bite!"

Posted by
2531 posts

Whether one includes a daypack, messenger bag or similar when out and about for the day is a non-issue for me. See also the endless discussions about bags with wheels versus backpacks. Decide what works for you.

Posted by
19169 posts

I don't carry a day pack at home or in Europe, but when traveling I do keep my netbook with me in a small case that just fits it. Everything I need, maps, etc, is on the netbook. My camera fits in a pocket in the case. I rarely need an umbrella. If I do, I carry it.

@Ed. Do you need different bite kits for good and bad snakes?

Posted by
9110 posts

Hah!

One day I shall relate the story of having fallen asleep slouched down in a corner and waking up to see an upright cobra whose head was higher than mine. Or the story of the city boy who blasted shotgun holes in the bottom of the johnboat instead of flipping a cottonmouth out with the paddle.

Or, more recently, being blessed with a wife who is terrified of the things, pulling a pine snake out of a timber retaining wall to toss down into the swap and finding that I had hold of a copperhead. As a side note, snakes crap when squeezed and it's hard to wash the stink off of your hands.

Posted by
11613 posts

I don't carry a daypack where I live, but I don't carry a camera, iPad, map or water bottle around Toledo.

I use a Mandarina Duck cross-body bag the size of a normal handbag, and it holds all that stuff.

Posted by
2349 posts

Some of us only need to pack the everyday, run of the mill, generic,. domestic snake bite kit, and others need the industrial strength dee-luxe version. If you sleep with cobras and grab copperheads by the tail, better to spend the extra bucks.

Posted by
2630 posts

I use a great canvas/leather messenger bag I bought from Smoking Lily in Victoria--it's light-weight & sturdy and I love the funky prints on it, and it can comfortably hold my usual purse things plus map, book, camera, snack, water, small purchases and light sweater.

Posted by
5697 posts

Actually, I DO walk around my hometown with a day pack ... but I live within 10 miles from Berkeley so there are lots around on non-tourists. And I carry one to Europe -- some days worn, some days left in the hotel. Whatever floats your boat.

Posted by
4 posts

I feel that there's kind of an underlying expectation that when you travel you need to bring extra stuff with you, and that you should put that stuff in a bag. It's sort of implicit with this kind of travel- I see it in guide books and even on Rick's TV shows.

But is there anyone else that likes to buck the trend regularly, save some weight in your main bag, and enjoy your travels a bit more, worry free, without this accessory?

Posted by
4411 posts

There are NO 'good' snakes, and For Heaven's Sake it was a Cottonmouth - blast away!!! Got NO time for paddle-flippin'. And FWIW, I don't care if the snake's head is triangular or not 8^O

As for the 'day bag' issue (whether just your regular ol' daily purse, a murse, a dedicated messenger bag or backpack allocated specifically for travel), traipsing around Dallas is different for me than spending a morning training from Munich to Dachau, then visiting 3 more points of interest (museums, memorial sites, flea markets, etc) before returning to Munich for dinner before returning to my room. I may want to bring a travel guide, a camera, sunglasses & regular glasses (and perhaps separate reading glasses - grrrrr), some water and probably some kind of snack and/or some picnic supplies, and I practically never leave the hotel without one of my RS Hide-Away totes [great for consolidating many small purchases, provides great cushioning for delicate items (purchased earrings, figurines, small beer glass, etc)]. Even though I'm usually hot, if I'm out all day the temperature swing could be enough for me to bring a scarf/wrap at the very least. When it warms up I want that thing off of me! Same thing with a rain jacket or umbrella. If I'm expecting to do A LOT of walking, I might bring a second pair of socks (if I'm worried about blisters, heavy rain, whatever). Nothing like blisters to ruin a vacation.

As noted earlier, women's clothing (cut and style) usually don't offer much in the way of pockets - and we tend to look more like a greedy squirrel stashing all of the nuts than men do when they load up their pockets. Women (esp. in Europe) very often want to carry tissues to replace non-existent TP (again, most men don't worry about that).

If I'm walking around Dallas, a) I don't need tram schedules, train tickets, TP (usually), guidebooks, b) the car won't be too far away, so no need to carry everything I may collect or need for my entire day, c) I won't be picnicking, d) I won't be carrying a camera, and e) again, I'm probably driving to dinner. I just need some cash and a few credit cards ;-) ... AND my water bottle. Just don't tell Jo ;-)

Posted by
10344 posts

Now Eileen, au contraire, I suspect many men do worry about TP.
They might not admit to "worrying" about it, but in their travels to especially rural European locations, the thought probably does cross many of their Neanderthal minds.

Posted by
4411 posts

Please don't recommend progressives or Transitions, either. I detest all but one pair of progressive glasses I've been fitted with, and THEY ain't THAT great, and the first time I wore my Transitions outside to collect my mail from the PO box a few houses down from mine, I literally had to grope my way towards my front door. Seriously. Those last 30' were bad. I thought I was going to have to crawl :-( I have to wear sunglasses in the rain and until it's to dark to see. I was furious that my fancy Transitions lenses apparently weren't! Until Iooked in the mirror...

Meanwhile, my husband loves HIS progressives and Transitions. Sometimes I don't like him ;-)

Posted by
4411 posts

"They might not admit to "worrying" about it..."

No - they just ask to use MINE.

And (most) men don't use it every time they enter a WC.

Real men - like Kent and brushtim - will carry a murse [giggle/snicker/snort ;-) ] AND his own TP.

I'm sorry, brushtim - 'satchel '. Just.Like.Indiana.Jones. ;-)

Posted by
2583 posts

I'm another peri-Berkeley resident and fanatical non-car owner, so I actually carry a bigger messenger bag on my normal commute than I do when traveling. My daily commuter might need to hold a laptop, books, water bottle, notes, sweater, gym clothes, etc,
while my travel bag just needs a map, a guidebook, a hat, and maybe a sweater or towel,
so for me a vacation is a vacation -- I'm lugging less while I'm out exploring than when I'm commuting.

I use as close to a pillowcase as I can get without using an actual pillowcase.

[I used to have a weekend visitor who did carry his stuff in a Hefty bag -- very easy to unpack, you know. Just lift it by the other end.]

Posted by
2081 posts

Rumohr,

You need to travel as hou you see fit and ot worry about what others think.

I dont use a pack, but i have/buy shirts with 2 pockets or more and pants with 4 or more pockets. I carry 2 point n shoot cameras instead of a DLSR. So far.

I will usualky buy water ir drink from a fountain.

Of course fresh squeezed OJ is always sought after first.

I plan my buying time to do it on my way back to my room so i dont have to carry it all day.

Happy trails

Posted by
9037 posts

I do wear a messenger bag every day, as dislike carrying my wallet, keys and my i-phone in the pocket of my jeans. It is uncomfortable as well as unsightly. Usually have an empty water bottle that I can fill up as drinking fountains are non-existant here in Germany. Always have something to read in there for the trains or waiting in line at the Post, plus a cloth bag or two for daily shopping. Yeah, the umbrella comes with me sometimes.

Posted by
333 posts

I agree that while not a necessity, a carry bag of some sort can be very handy. In most places in the US weather doesn't change on a dime, requiring a rainjacket or umbrella to be a regular part of your daily gear. Nor do I have a camera, water bottle, maps, etc. After witnessing a crazy subway mugging of a tourist in the Paris metro, as well as outside of the Louvre, I was extremely glad for my pacsafe backpack. I'm planning to spend a month in Europe next summer and plan to invest in a pacsafe day pack, as my backpack was a bit bigger than I needed. However it will be packed flat in my carryon to use for souvenirs and then I'll check my carry on for the trip home.

So the daypack is a personal decision, but not a bad one at all. If you're thinking about it, then you should probably get one. Just make sure it's secure, as certain cities are full of pickpockets. It doesn't need to be Fort Knox, but I can't say anything bad about the pacsafe products. In spite of witnessing a lot of pickpocket activity in Europe, I wasn't a victim.

Posted by
11613 posts

I've had pacsafe bags in the past and for me they are too heavy to lug around all day. But if it makes you feel more secure, I guess it's worth it.

Posted by
3234 posts

I've managed for years traveling in Europe with a small Eddie Bauer cross-body bag.
It's only about 6x7 ", but holds every darn thing I need in the day; including a camera and a tiny umbrella.
However, I see now that I will have to get a day-pack, to hold the wretched snake-bite kit that I now need to visit Florence and Rome....

Posted by
1221 posts

I don't think that Pacsafe bags are really that heavy in and of themselves. It's just that they tend to be pretty high volume so it's easier to put a lot more heavy stuff into them than you'd usually lug, and then their straps aren't particularly great about even weight distribution, so you're carrying a lot more than usual and feeling every bit of that extra weight. My everyday purses aren't huge, and then going to the pacsafe that will hold a DSLR camera with extra lens, two raincoats, and a travel guide in addition to the usual was a bit much.

Posted by
14 posts

On our two trips my shoulder bag stayed in the bus, because I could carry everything I wanted in the pockets of my Columbia Shirt, or in a pacsafe waist pack. It felt odd walking around with nothing in my pants pockets, so I carried a handkerchief in one and our travel photo mascot (a small Domo-kun figure) in the other.

For this winter's trip to France I bought a scottevest jacket which will hold all my flight stuff (ereader, battery pack, snacks, tickets, water, info on where we stay, etc) inside in zipped pockets. I will be carrying one bag only, and not checking anything at all. I've carried less on every trip than the previous trip.

Posted by
5 posts

Woman's perspective: I have stopped using day packs. I use a Baggalini brand purse that is just large enough to carry Kleenex packets, a guidebook, small notebook, a small change purse, and a small water bottle (I think it was American Airlines who handed this out. It is plastic, but I kept refilling and reusing through two trips because the size was so handy). My small camera fits in the phone compartment, which means I can grab it quickly. I don't have to take the bag off and ask my husband to hold it while I dig something out, as I did with the day back. The strap is long enough to sling it across my body, leaving my hands free for taking pictures. I don't often carry umbrellas, wearing a jacket with hood instead, but if I did want to carry one, a compact umbrella can also fit inside. I see that RS is promoting use of messenger bags, but they look heavier than my Baggalini. It is all about comfort, practicality, and looking good :-).