Exploring a nearby city can be a great, less expensive alternative to a weekend getaway. A day away from home, however, can be a catastrophe without some planning. Whether you’re flying in to an unknown city or just catching the bus to your local town, there are certain items no explorer should leave home without. The most important item is sunscreen. If you plan to spend more than 30 minutes outside, pack a bottle of the stuff and plan to reapply throughout the day. If you’re going to be rubbing sun lotion in – and for any number of sticky reasons – also pack a box of baby wipes.

You’ll be walking a lot, so make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes. If you’ll be in a rainy city or in inclement weather, an extra pair of socks in the bag is a good idea. Wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers, so you can adapt to changing temperatures throughout the day. Don’t forget a jacket and an umbrella.

Not only will you appreciate having the free hands, but wearing a fanny pack can protect your money and credit cards from being stolen as you walk through busy and perhaps unfamiliar streets. Use the fanny pack to store cash, credit cards and lip balm. Stow the rest of your explorer gear in a back pack.

Little explorers should have a map and compass. Most cities have maps you can print from your home computer. You can buy inexpensive compasses for your school-age child and let them help guide the exploration. If you are bringing along little kids, don’t forget the stroller. Bottles of water, sandwich baggies stocked with pretzels and other snacks and a camera, and you’re ready to explore!