I recently had Lasik Eye Surgery which means II now have better than 20/20 vision. My Dad suggested doing one eye at a time because knowing “my luck” something will go wrong – thanks, Dad. I’ve researched it, and the statistics are all in my favour. I think I’ll be A-Okay. I mean, if it turns out that I’ll be able to shoot lasers from my eyes how sick would that be, and just in time for the Incredibles 2!
But it got me thinking, I’ve been travelling since I was 18 with glasses and how have I managed? Well, poorly, to say the least.
So here are five tips on how you can travel with glasses when you’re a bit of a doughnut-like me.
Have a second/third pair.
I’ve been in so many situations where I’ve damaged/lost my glasses. It’s incredible how often it happens seeing as I need them to see clearly for more than an arm’s length away. I keep a second pair in my backpack just in case something happens while out. A third pair kept safe in my luggage due to unforeseen circumstances – lost, theft, damage etc.
If you can wear contacts, keep the solution and a spare case, just in case.
Have a copy of your prescription and keep it up to date.
Scan your prescription to your email, have a screenshot of it on your phone and have some paper copies for when internet access/phone battery is an issue. Have both contacts and glasses.
I say keep it up to date because I’ve had to get glasses made slightly out of focus because of this reason – out of focus is better than no sight.
Know where to get replacements.
I’ve had to get new glasses while in the USA and Guatemala before, knowing where to get them made it very handy.
Western Countries you can find delivery pretty fast when entering your prescription online.
USA/Canada? Try Glasses
Australia/New Zealand? Try VisionDirect
Europe? Try SelectSpecs.
Places in Central America, South-East Asia etc., you can go into Optical Stores. In a 2-4 business, day return can have a pair of frames in hand.
Invest in your contact lenses.
There are so many different types of contact lenses these days, I suggest having more than one pair/backup. It’s not so much difference in price – but depending on what you’re doing it can make a HUGE change.
Hard Contacts isn’t something I’ve ever personally used. Still, I understand that depending on your vision, these are the ones you may wear. They’re very durable, which is suitable for long-term travel as you don’t need to carry multiple pairs. You should still carry backups. The disadvantage is that your eyes take a while to get used to them, you should be taking them out every night, and they can fall out if you’re not used to them.
Soft Contacts are my go-to. They are the actual best. I personally wear Cooper Vision Biofinity because you can wear them for 6 days and then glasses for two days/one night. This means I can wear them trekking, camping, action sports, travelling and it doesn’t give me any issues. I recommend this brand personally 100%.
**Do not sleep in your soft contact lenses unless approved by medical practitioners or the product itself.**
Disposables (daily) are a good option, because no matter where you are, just sanitise your hands and pop them out and grab your glasses. They’re also great to have in your bag as a quick back up if you get yourself in a situation where you suddenly cannot see.
Take care of what you’ve got.
If you’re going to be taking off your glasses & swapping with sunglasses – have an open/close case like the ones you slip frames into can create scratches instantly anyways.
If you’ve had to grab some cheaper/flimsy frames – having a repair kit can be handy. Or, if you’re like me and pack sticky tape – rep some HP looks, who knows maybe you’ll meet your new best friend that way.
Look, travelling with glasses is something we have to do if you’re not born with perfect vision that allows you to do so (not throwing shade at anyone, but I also hate you for it.)
Situations I’ve been in:
- I’ve jumped into the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon only to then have both my contacts pop out. I then spent the whole day blindly swimming around and shouting my friend’s names. Imagine swimming in a body of water just shouting ‘NICK” for at least 3 replies to come back.
- I’ve been horse riding and had my glasses fall off mid-ride. I’ve then had to wait for our guide to help look for them.
- Running for a bus on the streets of Antigua, Guatemala only to drop my last pair of glasses on the ground to then step on them. This was a week after breaking my main pair. This meant running around looking for optometrists and trying to see if they could get a pair in 2-3 days
Have a story about travelling with glasses yourself? Any other tips?
Let me know below.
As always, stay cool.