How To Travel With Contact Lenses

how to travel with contact lenses
how to travel with contact lenses

Travel with contact lenses can be pretty annoying. Trust me, I’d know – I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember.  

I’ve been wearing glasses since fourth grade and made the transition to contact lenses when I was about twelve. I’ve always been a bit of a fashionista and until recently I would never even dream of leaving the house with a pair of specs on my nose.


how to travel with contact lenses

So yes, it’s safe to say I’m a bit of a contact lens travel expert. And while travel with contact lenses may seem straightforward, it’s not always the case. I hope my tips and tricks will help make it as comfortable and hassle-free as possible!

Stock Up Before Your Trip

I can’t overstate how important it is that you stock up on contact lenses before your trip. Finding your prescription abroad might be difficult and a real hassle.

To avoid this I always bring a big stash of lenses on my trips. I buy my lenses online from Vision Direct, because my prescription isn’t always available, it’s much faster and they often have really great deals.

I also like ordering from Vision Direct because they put little bags of candy in your order box… But that’s just me…

travel contact lens vision direct

Monthly vs Daily Contact Lenses

There are lots of different kinds of contact lenses – from daily ones to monthly ones, and even the kind you can sleep in!

Daily contact lenses are very convenient when you’re travelling because you don’t have to worry about packing contact lens solution when you wear them. This will give you additional space in your carry-on which is always a plus.

Dailies are also useful if you’ll be doing lots of water activities and worry that your contact lenses might get damaged.

They are, in general, more expensive than monthly lenses but when you factor in all the contact lens solution and case costs the difference becomes negligible.

contact lenses air optix

Having said that I’m a big fan of monthly lenses which I find more comfortable. I’m currently using the Air Optix Night & Day Aqua which are designed for 30 days and nights of continuous wear.

I wouldn’t advise actually not taking them out – it doesn’t seem hygienic and your eyes really deserve some rest. But they do keep my eyes from drying out despite all of my time of front of the computer screen.

Extended wear contact lenses are usually made of silicone hydrogel which is more breathable and supplies your eyes with more oxygen. If you’re conscious about the wellbeing of our planet, also consider that monthly lenses translate into considerably less waste.

Either way, the choice is yours and there are so many varieties of contact lenses that I think you’ll have no trouble finding one to suit your needs.

Bring A Prescription

If for whatever reason you can’t bring enough contact lenses with you on your trip, make sure you pack a copy of an up-to-date prescription from your doctor.

Some countries – like France or the UK – tend to require a doctor’s note to buy new lenses. They might even refuse to sell you any unless you pay to get examined. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

versace glasses

No Lenses On The Plane

Do not wear contact lenses if you’re flying. Seriously. Do your eyes a favour and swap to glasses. hey girl glasses meme

I’d only make an exception if your flight is under two hours, you know you won’t be snoozing and have confirmation that you’ll be sitting next to Ryan Gosling. Although hey girl, you look really beautiful in glasses.

The air inside the cabin is very dry. In a normal air-conditioned building the humidity can be up to 70% while in an aircraft it can fall to 20%. This will make your contact lenses dry out and transform your eyes into a total bloodshot mess. No, thank you.

To keep you feeling good bring some eye drops on board. Most are under 10ml so will easily fit within your carry-on liquids allowance.

Pack in Carry-On and Suitcase

I don’t mean to scare you, but I’ll just say it – sometimes suitcases get lost. If yours does, the last thing you’ll want to do is argue with a pharmacist that you need them to sell you contact lenses because the ones you packed are currently vacationing in Jamaica.

So put a few pairs in your carry-on, as well as your checked bags.


contact lens solution travel

Travel-Sized Lens Solution

Travel-sized bottles of contact lens solution are amazing if you’re a light packer and like to travel with a carry-on only. These are now widely available in most Western countries or online (check here). Don’t forget, the maximum size is 100ml.

Wash Your Hands

“Ok, mom… ” I almost hear you say. But seriously – eye infections are the worst and treating them while you’re on the road is not fun.

Keep a bottle hand sanitiser and wet wipes nearby to make sure your hands stay nice and clean. And if you’re trekking through the jungle or mud wrestling (as you do!), definitely try to resist the temptation to readjust your lenses.

Get A Cute Contact Lens Case

This is definitely optional but adorable lens cases are… well, adorable. I got this glittery one for Christmas and I love it. It’s super easy to find in my messy handbag and keeps my lenses nice and clean. It also has a little mirror which is extremely practical for all us travellers!

travel contact lens case

Do you have any other tips on how to travel with contact lenses? If so, please let me know in the comments below!


  • I only recently switched from hard lenses to soft lenses and love the difference. However, if you have hard lenses definitely stock up on solution before because a lot of countries only seem to offer solution for soft lenses (I went crazy in Thailand trying to find some…). Also note that prescription doesn’t equal perfect fit – I recently went with mine to a shop in South Africa and the fit was still completely off – so it’s definitely not something you want to rely on.
    For water sports, in my case diving, I definitely second the daily lenses – they are really comfy and it is a lot less stressful on your wallet should you lose one.

    By the way – thanks for this post! My life has pretty much been dictated by my really bad vision and contact lenser are my lifesaver, but still an extra thing to think of when traveling.

  • Such a useful post! My general rule of thumb for bringing extra daily contact lenses is divide the number of days I’m travelling by four, and then bring that many extra.

  • Roberta F

    Great tips! I wear aquve lenses and they are great for me. I really like this cute case!! I gotta have one now 😀 thanks for sharing! x

  • Traveler Guy

    Here’s some more tips which can be useful: