How To Travel with Eyeglasses

Do you think it would be very ironic to take a great trip to a once in a lifetime destination and yet not have the pleasure of seeing the places of interest?

You or probably someone you know wears eyeglasses. But in a very, very rare occasion that you have not met anyone in the entire earth who wears them, well… move aside as this may not be relevant to you at all.  For the rest of us – eyeglass and/or contact lens wearers, I have several “healthy eyes” tips on enjoying your vacation.  Nothing can stop us from having a great time, but knowing how to travel wisely with you spectacles will preserve unforgettable memories that will last our lifetime.

Nothing ruins a trip more than getting vision problems.

What could be more exciting than traveling to beautiful places and capturing spectacular landscapes and amazing attractions? Of course, it is SEEING all of them!  But if you are like me – a prescription eyeglass wearer, it may present a problem, especially when traveling footloose solo, and more so, in and around Asia.

I have heard several woes from some friends returning home very disappointed from their once a year vacation destination because they either lost or broke their eyeglasses in the middle (or worst yet, at the beginning) of their journey.  I hope none of us will never be in that same dilemma after reading this article.

Being a photographer myself, I prayed and hope that I will be spared from the misfortune of being clinically blind to enjoy my adventure.  Although there was this one time when I MUST remove my contact lens in a middle of my trek in the absence of my lens care kit and a disinfectant saline solution.  On occasions like those, I have put on my thinking cap and try to be self-reliant and improvise.

Read through as I share with you 10 tips on traveling with prescription eyeglasses especially when you are in the tropical Asia (because that is where I am from).

10 Tips on Traveling with Eyeglasses

Eye care essentials when traveling.
Eye care essentials when traveling.

1. Bring a Spare

For non-contact lens wearers, it is always good to bring spare eyeglasses that you will keep in your carry-on and another one in your check-in luggage if you are not wearing it on board the plane already. Remember to store them in their sturdy eyeglasses case; that is why they were made with such kind of material for that purpose.

2. In Your Check-In

As luggage gets no respect with airport handling, a good packing hack is to keep your eyeglasses in its sturdy hard case (from tip #1) and drop them inside your packed closed shoes for a better padded protection.  Spray a disinfectant spray while you are at it; you would not want to smell your shoes on your face when you put them on.

One other important little thing to consider is to slip in a mini-screw driver in case any of the tiny screws get loosened.

3. On-board the Plane

If you have to choose between wearing eyeglasses or contact lens during your flight, opt for the glasses. The recycled air inside the plane is extremely dry that it dehydrates contact lenses especially when you snooze yourself to sleep.

The next tip will be helpful when you doze off on long-haul flights.

4. Eyeglasses Strap

It is not a good fashion sense to alternate your eyeglasses to function as a headband or tuck them on the side by clipping them on your shirt. They are very vulnerable to falling off, thereby cracking the lens or breaking the frame. The strap, although nerdy as it may seem in the past, now comes in different modes and styles.  They will not only keep your eyeglasses close by when you fall asleep during your flight but will also be in a retrievable area when you awaken.

(On the side note, it was a worry-free moment for me as I enjoyed my awesome ride on the highest zip line in Southeast Asia).

Zipline adventure at 7 Waterfalls Lake Cebu, South Cotabato.
Zipline adventure at 7 Waterfalls Lake Cebu, South Cotabato.

5. Keep Your Glasses Clean

Asian weather can be extremely humid which means you get sweaty on the head which trickles down to your eyeglasses. When that happens, refrain from the temptation of wiping your glasses with the hem of your shirt – even when you think that it will be safe enough with the softest fabric you had on. There is a possibility that small unnoticeable particles of sand or dust not visible on a naked eye may have caught on the shirt.  Before you know it, the damage has been done.  Instead, always use a lens cloth that should always be kept inside the case. It is prudent to be extra sensible when it comes to caring for your lenses.  A travel-size lens cleaner is also an added “must-have” in your toiletries pack.

6. Information to Carry

Bring a copy of your prescription with the name and contact number of your doctor. In the event when your glasses got totally incapacitated, you may be able to get it ordered right away with that information being handy.  However, there may be several towns and cities where ordering from a prescription may not be possible especially if you are in a country where their primary spoken language is their own. If you can not express your predicament well enough in words that the locals can understand, you are in tough luck; you may also need an interpreter. Nevertheless, it is still a good information to carry at all times.

Here in the Philippines, for as long as you can walk or drive to shopping malls, it would not pose as a problem even in the provinces.  You can easily get fitted for glasses or contact lens on the pretty much popular grades.

This now brings us to the next tip.

7. Contact Lens

If you are already comfortable with wearing contact lens, it is a good option to fall back on if you are an eyeglass wearer. You can switch back and forth between the two. The only drawback with contact lenses is they are made for seeing long distances.  In my case, I still have to carry my reading glasses (with strap around my neck, of course) for situations like ordering from a restaurant menu or reading fine print which requires my signature.

With contact lens, it is pretty obvious that you can easily wear your sunglasses too.  Take care of those windows-to-the-soul with darkest shade possible you can buy.  It protects your eyes from the harsh glaring sun conditions of the tropics preventing you from squinting.

8. In Your Carry-On

Avoid the hassles of a lost luggage or a delayed flight by packing the eye care essentials in your carry-on bag wherever you go. For eyeglasses wearers, refer to tip numbers 1 and 2 above. For contact lens wearers, pack your re-wetting drops, lens solution, lens carry case, mini-bottles and an extra pair of contact lens, if it is still in the budget. Only make sure that the amount and size of bottled fluids you are carrying are within the airport standard.

9. Sanitizer and Water

In times when you need to clean your eyes and/or contact lens, it is as important to always carry a sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. Whenever traveling, always be wary of your hands being grimy when it comes to getting them close to your eyes. First and foremost, clean and sanitize your hands before you place your finger towards your eyes or when removing your contact lens.

In addition, you may not have been considering it in the past but while your bottled water may quench your thirst from the hot and humid Asian weather, it can be used for cleaning and washing up when clean water becomes an urgent necessity. So make sure you carry your bottle with you filled with purified water all the time.

And finally…

The wonderful world of wearing glasses.
The wonderful world of wearing glasses.

10. Extra Loving Care

Pull your glasses by your nose bridge when removing them. Develop this daily habit until it becomes a second nature to you.  It will keep your eyeglasses fit and aligned for a longer period of time before another adjustment.

There you have it – all ten!  If you have any other additional tips that may be helpful to all of us, happy eyeglass-wearers of the world, just pitch in with your comments.  I am sure we will all appreciate your helpful and practical input.

We are ready to go! Enjoy your destinations and let me know of your personal amazing traveling experiences with eyeglasses as well.  Bon voyage!

20 thoughts on “How To Travel with Eyeglasses”

  1. For short trips I often don’t bother bringing a spare pair (mainly because i’m not that blind!) but when backpacking around Asia I made sure to have a spare. I also only took the cheap plastic ones and not my nice pair

    1. That is the smartest thing…or maybe some old prescription glasses just in case cheap ones get run down too 🙂 I appreciate your comment.

  2. Thanks for sharing this post!! As a contact lens wearer, I have to always remember to bring extras. I panic when I don’t bring a spare set. It’s the worst feeling! I’m heading on my trip to China on Wednesday and I have to bring along all the essentials… extra contacts, glasses, contact solution and cases. Erg… I should just get laser eye surgery while I’m here in Korea! lol..


    1. Been contemplating on a laser eye surgery for the longest time but was told that I still have to wear my reading glasses. Enjoy your trip to China!

  3. As someone who does wear glasses, I can attest to all of this! I can’t wear contacts so keeping an extra pair with me is essential. I usually wear a hat to keep rain and other debris to a minimum.

  4. I dont wear glasses but I feel ya totally. Few of my close friends whom I travel with often resort to wearing lenses and its quite a hassle – especially losing that fateful lens inside your eye – while traveling! Thats the worst coz they are not really cheap to replace on the road. Having a spare def helps (be it glasses/lens) – My dad always has a spare pair of glasses in his suitcase.

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