Traveling With Eyeglasses: Hacks for Women

A few years ago I made the switch from wearing contact lenses most of the time to wearing eyeglasses. After a few hours of wearing lenses my eyes get dry and tired. I’ve tried every type of dry-eye lens on the market, used lens-friendly eyedrops, and have even tried restasis. No matter what, my eyes get dry, tired and sometimes red after wearing contact lenses all day.

So I switched to eyeglasses. In some ways traveling with eyeglasses vs. contacts is easier as I just grab my glasses and go as opposed to taking time to put lenses on.

At first it required more thoughtfulness while I was packing – glasses are ok for traipsing around a city but what about adventure activities like ziplining and canyon swinging? What do I wear when I go out for a fun/date night? What if my glasses break or I lose them? How and where do I store them when I’m wearing my sunglasses. All things I never thought about when I wore contacts all the time. So I learned over time and with each trip, and now I can share my travel hacks and tips with you.

Me in my kids glasses at Chobe National Park, Botswana, 2016.

#TravelHack: Pack 2 pairs of glasses. The planner-cautious side of you will be happy in case one frame gets lost or breaks while you’re traveling.

#TravelHack: Pack some contact lenses too. You’ll be glad for the change in your look for when you’re going out for a fun night, on a date, or clubbing. For my fellow petite ladies, we know all too well we’re at elbow height of most “normal” height people and the last thing you want is an elbow smacking you in the face with your glasses on!

{Adventure Activities + Eyeglasses}

If you’re going out for a bumpy drive or hike, a skydive, bungy jump or canyon swing these are good times to switch to contacts. I wore my contacts to do the Sydney Bridge Climb in 2012. Even though this is NOT a strenuous “hike” at all, I didn’t want to take the chance of losing my glasses as well as them falling off and causing a traffic accident. I also wore contacts to go skydiving, canyon swinging, and zorbing. But for ziplining I wear my glasses and it’s always fine.

The key is how secure your glasses are on your face. Even if you’ve got a string securing them to yourself it’d kinda suck if they’re loose and come off mid-zipline.


I wore my eyeglasses ziplining in Costa Rica and I was totally fine. Granted my glasses were not loose on my face. Still I didn’t have a string or anything securing them on my person and my glasses stayed on.

Zipline, Arenal, Costa Rica, 2017
Skydive overlooking Abel Tasman, Nelson, New Zealand, 2007
Queenstown canyon swing, 2007
Gorge Swing, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 2004

{Prescription Sunglasses}

I can describe my best travel investment…ever…in two words: prescription sunglasses.

Before I invested in a pair of these gifts from heaven, I could only wear sunglasses when I had contacts on. I am not sure why I didn’t get prescription sunglasses sooner, I mean I have lived in sunny California for practically my entire life….c’est la vie. Anyways, they were an incredibly worthwhile thing to get.

When I recently bought new eyeglasses I had the option of getting transition lenses, that automatically transition to sunglasses depending on the light in your environment. I imagined worst case scenarios, like my glasses going dark in the middle of a meeting with clients or when walking outside at night. The rational part of my brain knows the likelihood of those things or anything like them, happening is pretty low, but every other part of my brain said to just buy a separate pair of sunnies… so I did.


Rockin’ my prescription shades at Tikal in Guatemala, 2017.

{Packing Your Eyeglasses}

As you saw above I recommended traveling with at least two pairs of eyeglasses, in case 1 pair breaks. The annoying thing about this is the bulk that it adds to your gear with not one but two bulky eyeglass cases. So I bought a couple of thinner, cloth cases that are easy to travel with, like the generic black case below vs. the bulky Jimmy Choo case.

These are great for easily packing in your hand luggage as well as packing in a purse or handbag. I like the slim, thin, and light footprint of these, which make them easy to pack and carry.

#TravelHack: Don’t pack eyeglasses in checked luggage. Baggage handlers literally toss your bags around, so don’t risk your glasses breaking.

You might also like our post on the ideal crossbody travel purse for petite women.


{Eyeglasses for Petite Women}

Finding eyeglasses for petite women is particularly challenging in the USA. I have always had to wear kids glasses, as even the smallest size in ‘Women,’ is too big for me. I’ve looked lots of places – LA, Orange County, San Francisco, New York, Warby Parker, every website online, asked my friends, I’ve even stopped to ask strangers on the street at the grocery store….and nada. Couldn’t find feminine, glasses that fit me.

Occasionally online I’d find a cute kid pair, and click to scroll through the photos, only to find mermaids or rainbows on the sides of the frames.

For about 6 years I had a really difficult time. And believe it or not, a couple of times I’d find perfect fitting frames at Walmart. Bonus points for me as they were super inexpensive!

I recently discovered that Ann Taylor has their own line of frames, specifically catered to petite women. And Jimmy Choo offers frames in petite sizes as well. So I went b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I expected to only find one pair I liked and that actually fit me, but instead I found three! So I bought all of them! I did some damage to my credit card that day, but I’ll get several years of wear out of these, so it was worth it. And I take care of them. Keep reading for my hack to increase the longevity of your eyeglasses.


{Hack for Increasing the Longevity of Your Eyeglasses}

I take care of my eyeglass frames. Given how difficult they are to find I want to make sure I have them for a long time. I always store them inside a case and clean them prior to each use. Additionally I only wear my frames on certain occasions – when I’m going out. The rest of the time – running errands, at home, and working out, I wear my old frames. To some people switching between old and new glasses may seem like a hassle, but I keep my old pair in the same area where I put my purse whenever I get home, so now it’s become a habit to switch out my glasses when I get home.

When I’m getting ready to go out, my glasses are the final touch and switching from my regular everyday glasses to my nicer, newer ones adds a little perkiness, just like wearing my fancy going-out heels or new jewelry. It looks good and makes me feel good too.


Switching from mostly wearing contacts to mostly wearing eyeglasses was a good change for me. It requires a bit more planning and thoughtfulness when I travel. Now I’m used to it, so it’s not a big deal but at first I had to consider packing a case for my glasses, when and when not to wear them, i.e. skydiving and canyon swinging, as well as the look I was going for. During the day for tours and traipsing around a city, they’re fine but for an evening out, I wanted a different look.

#TravelHack: I keep items I know I’m going to need on every trip stored in my Osprey backpack. Before I started this practice I would always forget some essential like deodorant or much worse, my contact lenses. So now, I just keep a bunch of ‘things I’ll need on every trip’ packed in my Osprey pack. Whether I’m going on a backpacking adventure with my Osprey pack or a business trip, now I just grab that bag full of stuff no matter what, because I know I’ll need it.

I love the grab-n-go ease of eyeglasses, especially when I’m traveling. For anyone traveling with eyeglasses I recommend:

  • Always travel with at least two pairs, in case 1 breaks or gets lost
  • Buy cloth carrying cases which reduces their bulk when you travel
  • Never pack glasses in your checked luggage, they might break!

Happy travels. Cheers to wonderful sights and adding more stamps in your PassportPages!

{About PassportPages}

I created the PassportPages travel blog, to provide nuanced, detailed travel advice, tips, and hacks for traveling all over the world — from a unique and different perspective than the other popular travel blogs. There aren’t as many travel blogs geared towards:

  • nuanced, detailed travel tips and advice
  • vegetarians/vegan travelers
  • ethnic Americans, Canadians, and others
  • women, especially petite women


{About Samta}

When I’m not traveling and/or adventuring (and even when I am), I operate my tech startup, ShaadiShop. ShaadiShop is a marketplace for Indian-friendly wedding venues in California.

During undergrad I decided to study abroad which triggered my travel passion. I lived in Adelaide, Australia for a year and after that, for the next 10 years I spent 1-2 months each year, traveling to various destinations around the globe, on my own while I managed my direct marketing company.

I think traveling solo, prepared me to become an entrepreneur – journeying into new experiences, figuring it out as I went, self-reliance, facing your fears head on, trying new things, and so much more!

Then I decided to get a Masters in Business Administration, and I met my husband. Now we travel around the globe together and often. I love backpacks, vegetarian and vegan cooking and of course planning our next trip. I’m also kinda addicted to blueberries. =p

Check in on the blog or better yet follow PassportPages to get travel info from around the world. And definitely post your questions and comments. I love hearing from our readers! Cheers!

You might like these other PassportPages posts:

The Best Things To Buy on Travel to India

Hack for Traveling Lighter

Dealing With Beggars and Theft While Traveling: for Women

9 Non-Obvious Things to Know Before You Go on Day Trips





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