Regina Garson's Blog

Packing Checklist for a Day Tripping Boomer

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With the holiday season upon us, a lot of folks are planning trips to visit family and friends. At whatever phase of life we are in though, we all have certain needs. Anybody who has ever raised kids remembers packing every inch of the trunk for a three-hour trip and still not having everything they needed before they got back home. Us boomers have our own set of needs and just about the time we settle into the simplicity of life in the empty nest, we find our own list of needs getting longer and a three-hour trip is no longer so simple at all. Not to be daunted though, we traveled the country with our little ones and we’ll do it again with our walking sticks and pills.

We learned a long time ago that the key to a good time is to be prepared. I have long since learned to make a list and check it twice any time I head out for more than a couple hours.

First, I’ll cover the basics, with notes, about what I pack when I hit the road for a day trip. At the end of the post, there is a printable version, without the notes, to print out, add your own notes and use as a convenient day trip packing checklist.

Day Trip Essentials for Comfortable Boomer Travel

  • The bags – Depending on where I am going and what I am going to be doing, I generally carry a large purse or a tote bag.  Sometimes both. Depending on the planned activities, sometimes I opt for a day use backpack. If I’m either going to be spending several hours traveling or in areas where restaurants may not be in easy access, I also pack a lunch bag.
  • Mints or gum
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Spare cash and change for vending machines
  • Pocket knife – now is the time to pull out your all-purpose Swiss Army knife
  • Camera
  • Map and tourist information


  • Bottled water or other drink(s) – a refillable water bottle is lighter than individual bottles. When in doubt, pack an extra bottle or two of water, to stay hydrated and to avoid the stomach upset that unfamiliar water can bring.
  • Powdered sport drink mix – since hydration can be an issue with any kind of travel, and is especially an issue as you get older or have any kind of health problems, planning ahead to stay well hydrated and replace your electrolytes can make for a much more comfortable and healthy trip. Individual sport drink pouches are lightweight and easy to pack. Coconut water is my favorite go to for hydration, both powdered and regular, and it is considered the “original sport drink.”
  • Snacks – no mess junk food favorites are a road trip tradition but you’ll feel better and have more energy if consider your good health and individual dietary needs in the process.

Health and Comfort

For us senior age travelers, health and comfort are a priority any time we are going to be away from home. The older we get, the more conscious we have to be to see to our own health needs and comfort.

  • Prescription medications – with the label
  • Over-the-counter meds – as needed, painkiller, stomach meds, motion sickness if you are prone, allergy meds, etc.
  • Personal medical gear – as needed

Weather Gear

Weather gear needs vary depending on your own area, where you are going and the time of year. Be sure to check the relevant weather reports before you leave out.

  • Coat or jacket
  • Rain gear
  • Umbrella
  • Rain ponchos are a good choice for outdoor activities and tours, a jacket can be worn underneath if needed for warmth
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat – depending on the area, activity and season
  • Scarf – the new oversized blanket scarves are the latest trend. Lightweight and versatile, they can be worn as a scarf or shawl or used as a lap blanket
  • Comfortable shoes


  • Reading material – book, magazine, puzzle book, Kindle or other reading material
  • Notepad and pen – for taking notes

Toiletries and Cleanup

  • Tissue
  • Lip balm
  • Lotion
  • Pads and hygiene products
  • Travel size bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes for clean-ups and emergency sanitation
  • Brush or comb
  • Handkerchief or hand towel
  • Paper towels – if I am driving, I toss a roll of paper towels in the backseat for spills and cleanup
  • Plastic trash bag

Printable Packing Checklist

Click here for a printable Daytrip Packing Checklist (pdf)

Image credit: Pixabay


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