Sunglasses beside pool. Photo by David Lezcano, Unsplash

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Traveling should be a time for leisure and relaxation, but it can really only be enjoyed when travelers come prepared. As such, a survey by USA Today reveals that 80% of travelers have begun making changes in how they plan and arrange their trips, from paying attention to flight cancellation policies to buying travel insurance.

But another important aspect of travel preparation is ensuring you pack all the essentials. Beyond toiletries, medications, and device chargers, there’s another necessity you can’t leave out of your list: sunglasses.

Apart from being stylish accessories that match your outfits, sunglasses also protect your eyes from harsh weather. So whether you’re exploring picturesque cities or basking under the sun on some of the top beaches like Versilia along the Riviera coastline, it’s important to pack them for your next adventure.

Flowers in Corfu Greece. Photo by Bert Bohemian, Unsplash
Flowers in Corfu Greece. Photo by Bert Bohemian, Unsplash

By consciously selecting the best sunglasses for your planned trip, you can more easily remember to bring them along. To help you with that, here’s a list of the things you should consider when choosing the right pair:

Do You Need Vision Correction?

The biggest benefit of sunglasses is that they block out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage your eyes. This prevents you from developing vision loss through serious eye conditions like cataract formation and macular degeneration. However, it can be inconvenient if you can’t see clearly through your shades. That’s where prescription sunglasses come in.

Prescription sunglasses can accommodate your vision correction needs while giving your eyes
much-needed sun protection. They provide visual comfort, especially if you opt for extra
features like polarized coatings, which are available among a wide range of brands, from the
classic Ray-Ban and Oakley to luxury designer names like Gucci and Versace. Polarized tints
help reduce light glare, making these prescription sunglasses suitable for enjoying the sights at
the beach or other bright outdoor destinations.

What Kind of Activities Will You Be Doing?

Trips are the best time to let your inner daredevil out, as many places offer tourist activities that can keep you moving for days. If you plan on participating, you’ll need sunglasses, so consider what kind of frames and materials will suit your itinerary. For example, performance eyewear brands create sunglasses frames that are more durable and meant for sports.

Nylon composite frames like Oakley’s O matter material are flexible and can withstand more pressure, so they’re great for high-action activities like hiking, trekking, and cycling. For more toned-down activities like walking tours, you can instead opt for foldable sunglasses with extra hinges, as these are compact and collapsible for more convenient use and storage.

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Photo by Mario Mendez, Unsplash
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Photo by Mario Mendez, Unsplash

What Tint Works for Your Destination?

Sunglasses tints aren’t just trendy—they also allow you to maintain visual clarity and perception in certain situations. This is mainly because they help your eyes recognize more details by enhancing contrast. Retailers like American Optical allow you to choose your lens color when buying frames, so choose wisely based on the nature of your trip.

If you’re going somewhere near water, get brown-tinted lenses that work well against blue backgrounds. Meanwhile, blue lenses will be your friend if you’re headed somewhere cold. They’ll reduce the glare from sunlight bouncing off reflective surfaces like snow, so you can see clearly even during the brightest days of your vacation.

What Frame Style Suits Your Face Shape?

Looking good on a trip means choosing the right frame style for you. You don’t want sunglasses that are too big that they become a distraction in your holiday pictures. Instead, you want a pair that expresses your style while flattering the contours of your face. As a rule of thumb, you want the angles of your eyewear to be the opposite of your face shape.

Wear sunglasses with rounded corners if you have a square jawline, as they help balance the edges and angles of your face. Meanwhile, geometric frames or sunglasses with sharper edges suit rounder faces since they can add contour and proportions.

If you’re still unsure what frame shape suits you, you can utilize the virtual try-on features on eyewear sites like Zenni Optical, which will digitally show you what you look like with specific frames. As long as you get suitably shaped sunglasses in a neutral color, they’ll look good—no matter what outfits you pair with them.

In summary, the top factors to consider when choosing sunglasses for your travel are vision needs, type of itinerary, appropriate tints, and frame styles that flatter your face shape.

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Author Bio: Eleanor Lewis is a globetrotter and gastronomic traveler. She enjoys exploring new countries by visiting their tourist destinations and feasting on their native foods. She hopes to travel to at least 30 countries by 2025.

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