15 Everyday Bag Essentials to Be Prepared for Anything

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As a mom and a woman, you need to be prepared for anything. You never know what small items you or your kids are gonna need — not just for travel but for hopping around town. Check out this packing list of everyday essentials so that you’re prepared on the go.

bag flat on the table with snacks, water bottles, and other every day essentials splayed out on the table.

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Whether you’re gone for a few hours or a full day, if you’re prepared for anything, anything is possible. Sounds like Mary Poppins, don’t it?

Most people associate dear Mary Poppins with an umbrella, and while flying with your umbrella is pretty cool, I’d like to suggest that her genius was in that dang carpet bag.

It carried everything you needed no matter how big or how small.

As a mom of young kids and now as a busy mom of older kids, the idea of having whatever you need when you need it has long intrigued me.

Mary Poppins had one. Michelle Pfieffer had one in One Fine Day. You can, too.

What are everyday essentials?

Everyday essentials are those items that you know you probably have at home but would be really nice to have on hand when you’re away from home, especially on staycation or days off.

Early on in our parenting, Bryan and I realized this and developed our Activity Bags. Keeping those packed and ready when our kids were young was a godsend! I always had snacks, a game, or spare socks when someone needed it.

Now that my kids are bigger, I find that my everyday essentials have evolved as my daily activities have changed. But, I want them on hand nevertheless.

While I could certainly go to a store to buy what I need when I’m out, I’d really rather not. Especially since it’s more expensive to buy things when you really need them than to find a sale and stock up. These everyday bag essentials come in handy almost every day I go out!

Bottom line: you’ll save money when you’ve got your everyday essentials packed in your bag or car.

Everyday Bag Essentials to Consider

What you use on a regular basis may be slightly different than what’s below. Keep this in mind as a starting point and build your own list!

  1. water bottle – Keeping a filled water bottle with you at all times will solve thirst as well as hanger. You’ll save money not buying drinks out and about.

  2. a travel cup (and your favorite tea or coffee) – Whether you like your drinks hot or cold, having one you love makes the day, the commute, the afternoon coffee or tea break so much nicer. I traded in Starbucks stars for a set of color change hot cups and it’s been awesome. We use them for cold drinks, too. Now that Starbucks will refill your own clean cup, it’s also handy to keep on hand.

  3. a way to charge your phone – You don’t want to get stuck without a way to contact someone in an emergency. At the very least, keep a cord and charger plug with you; level up with a car adapter and/or external battery pack.

  4. hand sanitizer and wet wipes – soooo handy, especially if you use public bathrooms or even public work spaces. I keep a stock of alcohol wet wipes for sanitizing my phone and tablet as well as table tops when I’m working remotely. I recently was sent some samples of Handzies that I’m eager to try out.

  5. a nail kit – Breaking a nail is a bummer, picking it down to the nub while stressing is worse. A nail kit can solve both problems. I bought one fairly cheaply at CVS on vacation and it now lives in the glove box. A spare nail clipper and file in your purse would not be amiss.

  6. a change of clothes – This will vary depending on what type of activities you do on a regular basis. Regardless, wardrobe malfunctions do happen. Be prepared. This might include spare socks or hose, an extra tshirt (hello, baby spit-up), or a jacket.

  7. a spare set of shoes – Likewise, having an extra set of shoes in the car is good for the above reason but also in case of natural disaster or other emergency.

  8. moisturizer and lip balm – It’s the small things, people. There’s nothing more annoying than spending a day with dry itchy skin or chapped lips. Be prepared with a mobile stash – I use an old school contact lens case; each side holds the perfect amount of lotion on one side and vaseline or lip balm on the other.

  9. Advil, Tylenol, Benadryl, Allegra – Don’t pay for allergy meds or pain relievers out and about when you’ve got Costco-size bottles at home! I bought travel size vials of each once upon a time and now just refill them. Easy-peasy.

  10. sunscreen/bug spray – These are needed depending on your location and season — and can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t have them – either in pain or $$$. Buy travel size and refill as needed.

  11. shelf-stable snacks – Don’t let hanger get the better of you or your wallet. Keep a stock of protein bars or other shelf-stable snacks in your car and purse so you always have something to snack on.

  12. kleenex – What’s worse than needing to blow your nose and having nothing but a sleeve to work with? You’re a grown up. Since cloth hankies are hard to come by, pack a travel pack of kleenex. (Doubles for toilet paper in a pinch.)

  13. feminine hygiene, first aid, and/or hair ties – Not exactly the same thing, but in some same general category. It’s a bummer when you aren’t prepared with these things.

  14. sweater or light jacket – No matter the season, having a light jacket for the AC or the elements is always helpful.

  15. paper towels/napkins and cutlery – A full blown picnic kit is nice to keep on hand in the car, but for regular days, one of those packets of napkin and cutlery you get from take-out will suffice. Save extras you receive so you’re always prepared to eat!

items you might keep in your bag.

More Packing Lists for Moms

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