The Ultimate Excursion / Day trip bag!

What’s in your bag when you step off the ship?

I have been cruising for a while, but before that, I have been a season pass holder for Disneyland Park. My family refers to my day trips in the park and sometimes off the ship as a “Death March .”Over the years and many death marches, I have developed a day bag ready for anything while not carrying anything that can cause problems. If you are getting off the ship or planning to spend the day in a lounge chair, a well-supplied day bag can make your time on the run or the lounge chair go more smoothly.

Why did I create this article? First and foremost, every day bag article I have found is written from a female perspective. They tend to focus on clothing and not supplies and frankly leave out most of what I think is most important. Every item on this list I have pulled out at some point on an excursion/day trip. This is the Hero bag list, pack it properly and at some point, you will be the hero of the day.

My bag setup has several staples, and I change items depending on the day. For instance, I do not carry headphones if I am walking off the ship. If I am spending the day on deck, I do bring headphones. Every bag-packing video and list I have seen on the net has significant problems. They try to pack everything you need for every possibility, or they focus on the beach and nothing else. This guide is split into sections; you could pack each section in a zip loc and swap out the ziploc “kits” based on your day plans.

My starting point is the bag. There is the perfect bag for everyone, and what I like differs from what you like. So here are the basics. I am sticking with something smaller than a backpack and larger than a purse. This bag is not intended to carry your clothing or a towel. If you need a towel or change of clothes, use a second bag just for that. If the bag is two large, it gets left because it’s too much of a hassle, and if it is too small, it’s stuffed and hard to find items in, or you wind up leaving things behind and regretting them later.

Generally, only one person in a group needs this bag, others can haul swimsuits, towels, cover-ups, water shoes, and whatever other clothing your excursion specifically needs. If the excursion is shopping or hiking everyone else should have their own hydration and phone/camera. My wife generally only carries a wallet off the ship and it goes in my bag.

If you like this list I have a simplified checkbox version available.


This is a Tactical Sling Bag, I am on bag number three since they are cheap and the zippers seem to wear out over the years.

What’s in the bag



I carry a 26 oz Yeti Rambler with a straw cap. It’s a little larger than a normal water bottle but once filled with ice stays cold all day. I like to fill mine completely with ice in the morning then add water right before stepping off the ship. I attach the bottle with a Molle bottle holder. I use my water bottle on the ship filling it with Ice tea or Water.

If you want to go cheap you can use silicon bottle holders that attach to your bag and hold any plastic water bottle.



  • Phone

  • External Battery Charging Pack (Phones do not last on trips, running the camera drains the battery at a high rate. Phones with a battery that is OK for the day at home seem to run out of juice mid-excursion.

  • Phone charging cable

  • Waterproof Pouch for phone

  • Headphones (When on the ship, I leave them in the cabin when on an excursion)



  • ID (Drivers License or Passport card)

  • SeaPass required to get back on the ship

  • Excursion credit card (I use one credit card for on-ship charges and bring a different card just for excursions. This way if a sketchy restaurant steals my card I still have a working credit card to get home with. Never carry an ATM card or those combo visa/check cards off the ship)

  • Cash for tips and vendors. Most ports have local currency and just about everyone works in dollars.


When on ship you need nothing, but it’s nice to have something just in case on those all-day excursions. Especially if you are like me and rather explore than hit a restaurant. Bring as much as you want or nothing. Some of these items are for when I am on a day trip and not on a cruise excursion.

  • Water flavor packets (you can get squirt bottles and packets that turn a bottle of water into the drink of your choice)

  • Beef Jerky Stick

  • Nut Pack

  • Granola Bar

  • Wine bottle opener

  • Mini Hot Sauce

  • Mini Montreal Steak Seasoning (seasoning pack of your choice)

  • Sweetener Packets (many locations just have sugar.)

First Aid

Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. You can fit all these items in a zip-lock sandwich bag. I keep pills in a little alumunum screw top container

  • Dramamine

  • Pain Reliever (I carry Aleve and Advil or Naproxin and Ibuprofin)

  • Pseudoephedrine (cruises bring you in contact with plants you never knew you were allergic to)

  • Pepto Bismol Chews (The jellybean form of Pepto, is completely brilliant)

  • Triple antibiotic ointment

  • Band-Aids

  • Sterile gauze pads

  • Alcohol prep pads

  • Tweezers (This is a must, not having them can ruin an entire day.)

  • Disposable exam gloves

Personal Hygiene

  • Comb

  • Chapstick

  • Tissues

  • Compressed Towels (these things are awesome, get a bunch to carry a few)

  • Insect Repellent

  • Sun Screen (many locations require “reef safe” sunscreen it’s much cheaper to purchase before the trip rather than during the trip.)

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Talcum Powder (lots of walking a little bit to release chafing really helps)


  • Caribeaners

  • Hat (attached to pack with a carabiner)

  • Sunglasses

  • Microfiber Cooling Towel Picked one up at Disney World now I don’t travel without. Soak them in water and place them around your neck, or under your hat. They can double as sun protection and cooling.

  • Roll up reusable grocery bag (really handy if you are shopping and pick up items your pack can’t fit)

  • Writing Device

What not to pack


This is a new section specific to cruises… and Disneyland. There are items I carry every day that I make sure to remove before traveling. Double-check for stuff like this, you don’t want to dump something that has meaning to you at a security checkpoint.

  • Pocket Knife (this is why I have a separate wine/bottle opener)

  • Screw Driver

  • Multi Tools

  • Anything with a blade or could be considered a weapon