Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains, or exploring another country, you need your eyes to be at their best on summer vacation. If you wear contacts, a few extra steps can help ensure your eyes are always primed to take in all the new experiences. Here’s our list of the best tips for traveling with contacts.
1. Pack (contacts) like a boss
The most important step in your summer travels with contacts is making sure you actually have contacts on your trip! When you wear daily contacts, that means bringing enough pairs to safely cover all of your adventures — and then some.
We’ve done a little nerdy work for you, to increase your contacts packing efficiency and maximize your fun. You should pack using the rough guide of 1.3 pairs per day of travel (and round up) — plus, add an extra set for every day that you’ll be swimming!
How many pairs of contacts should I pack for my trip?
Pro tip: If your contact lens slips out and you manage to catch it, avoid the temptation to skimp on hygiene so you can get back to the good times. Water should never be used to clean your contacts, as microorganisms in water can cause damage to your eyes. If you wear daily contacts, the answer is easy: throw it out and put in a fresh lens. If you wear bi-weekly or monthly lenses, take a time out and properly clean the lens (with clean hands).
2. Keep your friends close, and your contacts closer
Catching a flight for a sunny summer getaway? Treat your contacts like your passport and phone, and don’t let them out of your sight. Keep a full supply of contact lenses in your carry-on at all times in case — gasp! — your luggage ghosts you.
Worried about contacts and flight regulations? Fear not: The liquid in those little contact lens blister packs counts as a medically necessary liquid under TSA regulations. For reusable contact lenses, up to 3.4oz (or 100mL) of contact lens solution is permitted in your carry-on, while larger amounts should be stored in your checked bag.
Why not take this opportunity to try daily contacts? They make traveling so much easier! No need to worry about solution or cleaning at all. You can bring as many lenses as you need in your carry-on, use a fresh pair every day, and toss them before bed. Lose a lens? No problem, just pop in a new one.
3. Don’t go out without backup
You can lose a contact lens at any time, but it’s a million times worse when it happens on the beach, at a festival, one hour into an all-day hike, or while waiting in line for an epic new roller coaster ride.
It seems super obvious, but this travel tip is the most critical of all if you rely on vision correction!
- Keep a spare pair of contacts in your purse, backpack, fanny pack, or camera carrying case, even if you think the pair you’re wearing is all you need for the day
- Add a travel-sized bottle of solution if you’re not using daily contact lenses (another reason to switch!)
- Keep your prescription accessible at all times — in an email, stored in your online account details, and definitely include a photo of it in your phone (you can’t trust that you’ll always have WiFi)
- Bring a pair of glasses if you have them, just in case
4. Seek out cool, dry spaces
Travel during hot summer months has unique (and unpleasant) challenges if you wear bi-weekly or monthly contacts. If you weren’t considering switching to daily contacts, this might change your mind!
The addition of heat and humidity to contact lens solution in a lens case increases the risk of contamination and breeding bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, and Acanthamoeba. Storing your lens case in a hot car or tent, direct sunlight, or even a muggy hotel bathroom should be avoided.
Keep your eyes healthy! Here’s how:
- Use daily contacts, which are sealed to prevent contamination
- If you’re using reusable lenses, store your case in cool and cleaner places: bedroom, closet, in a bag at your feet near the car’s lower fan vents on a long trip, or even in a sealed container or baggie under the shade of a picnic table
Throw away solution every single morning, clean the lens case, and replace with fresh solution at night.
5. Watch out for water hazards
Speaking of infections… you should be extra careful with water if you wear contacts! Rivers, oceans, and lakes — but also chlorinated pools, hot tubs, and even showers in regular tap water.
There’s no way we’d ask you to give up the joys of splashing your way through summer. Instead, use these tips for water safety with contacts:
- Remember to pack extra pairs of contacts if you’ll be in the water
- Put your contacts in after your morning shower, and remove them before showering at the end of the day
- Replace your contacts after exposure to water — including tap water, a hot tub, or steam room (another point in favor of daily contacts)
- Don’t wear contacts while swimming! That includes chlorinated pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans. If you must, wear goggles to protect them and throw away the lenses immediately afterward (you don’t have to sacrifice style — check out New York Magazine’s best swim goggles list, and consider goggles with your prescription built into the lens)
- If you’ll be in the water for an extended period — like snorkeling or scuba diving — make sure to swap your contacts right away after finishing (and immediately after they come in contact with water)
6. Be a cool mom
You can always count on moms to have a disinfectant wipe handy. When it comes to traveling with contacts, be more like moms! You should never touch your contacts or your eyes without washing your hands, but it’s easy to get lax about the rules when you’re on-the-go.
Take along hypoallergenic cleansing wipes to quickly clean your hands before handling your contacts. If you’re camping and trying to reduce garbage, look for compostable wipes or use biodegradable camping soap to wash your hands in nearby water without hurting the local flora and fauna.
7. Take care of the planet
At the end of each fun-filled day this summer, make sure to properly dispose of your contact lenses — in the garbage.
Contacts should never be flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink. They contribute to micro-plastic pollution in our waters, and can hurt the fish and undersea life.
Did you know that one bottle of contacts solution produces more plastic waste than 2.5 years of daily lenses?
And the waste from one lens case is equal to anywhere from 4 to 8 years of daily lenses. Aveo daily contact lenses are naturally biocompatible with your eyes, take 10–20 times less water to produce, and come in 100% recyclable packaging.
8. UV got this!
Wherever your travels take you, make sure to protect your eyes as well (as you would your skin) by wearing sunglasses and contacts with sun protection.
Summer = sunshine = harmful UV rays. Solar radiation exposure can lead to cataracts and other eyesight problems.
Aveo daily contacts have built-in Class II UV blocker that filters out 97% of UVB and 87% of UVA radiation.
What to do if you get sunscreen in your eyes
Maybe you’re hiking up a killer trail and the sweaty struggle is real. Or maybe you accidentally applied sunscreen and then inserted your contacts without washing your hands. Whatever happened, here comes the burning pain of sunscreen trapped in your contacts!
- Remove your contacts immediately and throw them away
- Gently rinse your eyes with cool water
- Wash your face thoroughly around your eyes, or use cleansing wipes
- Reapply sunscreen, carefully avoiding the areas around your eyes
- Wash your hands thoroughly, or use cleansing wipes, and dry them
- Insert a fresh pair of contacts
Good thing you always keep a spare pair of daily contacts on hand for travel emergencies!