If you wear contacts, when you travel, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, like how to pack them. This post is filled with tips for traveling with contacts.
For more help, check out all of our travel posts.
Whenever I travel with my parents, they always leave at 6 am. They prefer to get up early and get to their destination early. When I travel with Pete, I always leave for trips after breakfast because I would rather drive when I’m well rested and not eat breakfast in the car.
With my parents, I’m just a passenger so I don’t get a choice. So I roll out of bed, leave my glasses on, and throw my contact case in my purse. If you’re one of the many contact lens wearers out there, you know it’s sometimes a pain to travel with contacts.
I’m always worried that I’ll either forget to throw my contact case in my purse or I’ll be wearing contacts and forget my glasses (which has happened). And then, of course, there’s the worry that I’ll tear a contact when I’m away and not have any extras.
To help calm your fears and get you ready for your next trip, read through these tips for traveling with contacts.
5 Tips For Traveling With Contacts
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Now, keep in mind, these are all things I do when I travel. I’m not an optometrist, though. So, definitely check with your eye doctor if you have any specific questions.
Pack Daily Wear Contacts
I’ve worn contacts since I was 16, but it wasn’t until recently that I tried daily disposable contact lenses. My optometrist wrote me a prescription for them as a trial pair, so I figured what the heck. You wear them once and you throw them away. They do feel sort of wasteful (so I didn’t actually fulfill the prescription for daily disposables) but they’re great for traveling.
If If you pack daily contact lenses, you don’t have to worry about packing contact solution or a contact case because you don’t need them. And if you pack one pair per day, you won’t stress if you rip one.
Pack Extra Contacts
If packing daily disposable lenses isn’t an option, you’ll want to pack extra contacts instead. You may not need to change your contacts, as far as timing goes, when you’re on your trip. But, the last thing you want is to lose or rip a contact and not have a fresh pair ready.
In that case, you’d end up having to wear your glasses for the whole trip. Which for you might not be a problem, but it would be awful for me. I only wear my glasses at night, so I haven’t upgraded them in about a decade. So they’re an old prescription. And they don’t have transition lenses. So they’re terrible if I’m sightseeing because they’re not sunglasses and have no UV protection.
If you understand my pain, pack a backup pair of contacts.
Bring Extra Travel-Size Solution
If you’re flying, you can only pack liquids that in a 3.4 oz. or smaller bottle. When we were going to Japan for weeks at a time, I was worried about running out of contact lens solution. It’s so easy to fix that, though. To make sure you have enough solution for your entire trip, pack more than one bottle. The limit is 3.4 oz. per container, not total amount of liquid
What you’ll need to do, though, is put all your liquids in a quart-sized bag zip-lock bag. So, in that sense you are limited to the number of solution containers you can bring. But, you’ll have enough to get through a normal length trip.
And, side note, but one of my top travel tips is to use a piece of tape to secure the top of any liquids before putting them into a bag. It’s an extra barrier of protection so they don’t open and ruin your stuff.
Pack An Extra Contact Lens Case
I could never be a housekeeper at a hotel. I give them a lot of credit. It’s so hard for me to keep our house neat and tidy, so I can’t imagine having to do that for complete strangers. So I always do my best to clean our hotel room before a housekeeper comes in.
I know that one of these days, in my haste, I’m going to accidentally toss the top of my contact case in the garbage. So I always pack a second case … just to be prepared.
Wear Your Glasses On A Plane
If you’re flying, wear glasses while you’re flying. The air up there can really dry out your contacts and cause you to have dry eyes, especially on long flights. And that’s bad for your eyes. And, if you’re like me and fall asleep on the plane, that’s bad for your contacts too.
So, when you’re on a plane, stick to glasses. Then, when you land, just run to the bathroom, and pop your contacts into your eyes.
It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: Don’t put your contacts back in when you’re still flying.
Your hands are touching the seat, the safety card, the vent, the armrest … and they’re all sort of gross. Yes, the plane is cleaned between flights, but you still don’t want to touch all that and then touch your eyes (and unintendedly get some sort of eye infection). You also don’t want to be holding your contact at the exact moment the plane dips because of turbulence. Bye bye contact, never to be seen again.
So wait until you land and can get to an airport bathroom to put your contacts in your eye.
Pack Your Contacts In Your Carry-On Bag
If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that the airline lost my luggage in November. I got it back, thank goodness, but my bag did go on an adventure without me. My glasses, my aforementioned only pair of glasses, were lost in my luggage.
So, here’s my lesson: Pack your contacts and glasses in your carry-on luggage or purse, whatever item will be with you at all time. That way, they’ll never be separated from you and you won’t have to worry.
Have A Copy Of Your Prescription
Unfortunately, there’s a chance that no matter how careful you are, you still may need to replace your contacts.
Quick. Off the top of your head. What’s your prescription?
Even if you do know that answer, or have quick access to it, no respectable optometrist will actually sell you contacts without your contact lens prescription. So, make an extra copy of your up to date prescription and throw it in your bag. There’s a good chance you won’t actually need it. But, in the case that you do, you’ll be so happy to have it.
Maintain A Good Eye Care Routine
When you’re at home, you have a bedtime routine that (I’m sure) involves taking out and cleaning your contacts (unless you use daily contacts, then your routine just requires you to toss them).
When you’re on vacation, you fall out of that routine a little. You may be waking up early for a tour or the hotel’s breakfast and staying out late because you don’t want to miss anything. That’s the right way to vacation. However, it means you may have your contacts in for longer than usual.
If that’s the case, you really want to make sure that you are taking them out as soon as you’re back in your hotel room, not showering while wearing your contact lenses, and cleaning them according to the instructions on your solution.
Absolutely, under no circumstances, should you be sleeping in your contact lenses (so if you do meet a stranger when you’re away, don’t stay the night … or ask to borrow his contact case and solution. I kid. About the stranger. Not about the eye care).
Travel Tips For Contact Lens Wearers: Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can pack contacts in a carry on. They can also go in a checked bag.
Contacts don’t have to go in a bag with the rest of your liquids. However, its recommended that you put contacts in a plastic bag, just in case something does cause them to open. You don’t want the fluid they’re packed in all over your belongings.
Yes, you can pack contact solution in a carry on as long as the bottle is 3.4 oz. or smaller. Anything larger needs to go in a checked bag.
We double checked this with the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) website before posting. It’s the authority on air travel rules. However, double check the site before your flight to make sure nothing has changed.
We don’t recommend you wearing contacts on a plane for long flights. They’re fine on short flights, although planes are filled with dry air and can cause your eyes and contacts to dry out, even on a short flight.
What tips for traveling with contacts do you have? Let us know in the comments.