It’s pretty clear: Why I always pack 4 pairs of glasses while traveling

Jan 25, 2022

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I know some people wear glasses to make a fashion statement. I have over a dozen pairs of glasses myself. But it’s not just to have a pair to match every outfit in my closet.

Instead, I keep that many pairs of eyeglasses as a “just in case” — and even when I’m traveling, I pack more than a few backups.

Four, to be exact.

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As a seasoned traveler, I take packing for trips seriously. I ensure that, in addition to comfy shoes and a swimsuit, I pack a first aid kit, extra medication, sunscreen and four – yes, four – pairs of eyeglasses.

That may sound strange to some people, but life gets a little fuzzy without my glasses.

I have a pretty strong prescription (I don’t wear contacts), and when I’m not wearing my glasses, I can only clearly see what’s directly in front of me. That means if I only brought one pair of eyeglasses on a trip and something happened to them, my vacation would quickly become a disaster.

Without assistance, I wouldn’t even be able to get myself back to the airport, let alone through security screening. Reading signs? Impossible. Navigating busy streets? A guaranteed one-way trip to the emergency room.

Because my vision is so poor, I’ve taken what may seem like drastic measures to ensure I always have a backup pair of eyeglasses while traveling. And a backup for my backup.

You may not have thought about what could happen if you’re stranded on vacation without a clear way to see, so here are some tips that have worked for me over the years.

Keep your prescription handy

Trying to find an optometrist in a foreign country can be pretty tricky, especially if you don’t speak the local language. Even if you do manage to find one, you may also be out of luck if you lose your eyeglasses and don’t have your prescription on hand.

I suggest keeping a copy of your prescription where you can quickly locate it, if necessary. I keep a copy on my cell phone, but it may also help to keep a copy where you hold other essential documents such as your passport and travel itinerary. If you find an optometrist abroad, it’ll be helpful (and speed things along) if you have your prescription.

Get travel insurance

We’ve talked a lot in recent months about travel insurance and how it can help you while traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. But some travel insurance plans may also come to the rescue if you find yourself in a pinch and lose (or break) your eyeglasses.

For instance, Trawick International has a partnership with On Call International that provides travel assistance during your trip. This service can assist with replacement medication, medical devices and eyeglasses or corrective lenses. On Call will arrange for the shipment of replacement eyeglasses or corrective lenses, according to Trawick. Note that you are responsible for payments of all costs related to these services.

Other insurance providers such as Atlas International offer vision benefits for travel purposes. This insurance provides an emergency eye exam up to $150 with a $50 deductible per occurrence (plan deductible is waived).

If you’re looking for a plan that may cover replacement eyeglasses or contact lenses, insurance marketplace websites like InsureMyTrip and Squaremouth can help you pick a plan that best fits your travel needs and budget. Just make sure to read the fine print, as many insurance plans don’t offer this option.

Keep your eyeglasses in separate locations

I’m nothing if not an over-planner, and I tend to plan for the worst-case scenario. When it comes to my vision, that means keeping my pairs of glasses in several different places while traveling.

I keep one pair, obviously, on my person, and one back at my hotel room or Airbnb. I store one pair in my carry-on luggage when traveling, typically in my backpack. And while I rarely check bags anymore, if I’m forced to gate check, then I’ll stick a pair in my checked luggage.

That way, in case I lose or break my glasses or my bag is misplaced or stolen, I have at least one backup pair somewhere close by, and my vacation isn’t completely ruined.

Featured photo by FreshSplash / Getty Images.

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