Traveling the world, for months at a time, is something that a lot of people are doing these days. Gap year travel is still something a lot of students do. It is also becoming increasingly popular with the older generations. Golden gap years are all the rage, right now. As the baby boomer retires they are rediscovering their thirst for adventure. Traveling sabbaticals are also still quite common.

Being able to travel long term has many benefits. But, globetrotters do have problems regular travelers don’t experience. One of which is replacing their glasses with a new pair when their old prescription is no longer adequate. 

You can only just muddle through with your old pair for so long. At some point, you will have no choice but to replace them. So, below, we quickly go over the challenges you may face when doing so, whether you’re looking for a new pair of Ray Ban eyeglasses or some cat-eye prescription sunglasses. 

Go to a local optician

In theory, you can simply go to a local optician’s office, get an eye test and order some new eyewear from them. Unfortunately, this can be trickier than you think.

Overcoming the language barrier

If you cannot find an optician that speaks your native language you will find yourself reliant on translation apps to get through the test. For what is quite a complex process, this is not ideal. So, it may be worth your while hiring a local translator to help you through the test.

Waiting times can be an issue

In some countries, the postal and courier services are not very reliable. So, parcels get lost all of the time. If your glasses are not going to be made locally, which is highly unlikely in remote places or developing countries, you could end up waiting a long time to receive them. 

Plus, of course, you do not want to have to stay somewhere longer than planned just because you are waiting for your new eyewear to arrive. Waiting until you are staying in a large city is usually the best approach to this issue.

Traveling in a country where there are very few opticians

You also need to bear in mind that you may find yourself in need of new glasses in a country where there are very few opticians operating. Surprisingly, in some countries, there are only a small number of people who are qualified in the entire country. So, seeing an optician may be all but impossible. However, you are likely to find that the local population has found ways to get around this issue. In many places, a little local knowledge goes a long way, so never be afraid to ask for help. 

For example, you may discover that magnifying devices are relatively easy to buy. These can act as a stopgap measure to get you through until you can buy new glasses. In an emergency, making a pinhole lens shield out of cardboard may enable you to see just enough to get around until you can buy new glasses. You can read about this innovation here.

Consider buying your glasses online

As you can see, buying new prescription glasses while traveling long-term can be tricky. One solution that gets past some of the above issues is buying them online and have a friend send them to you using one of the big global couriers. Most of them have offices in big towns and cities, so they actually do offer a relatively reliable service. 

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Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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