Best Sunglasses for Travel
by Daniel | Last Updated August 8th, 2019
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No trip is complete without a fashionable pair of sunglasses in hand. No matter the time of year or type of outfit, both are better with a pair of sunnies. Sunglasses are great if you are looking to block out the sun or just need to catch some sleep and block the fluorescent lighting on the train.
Sunglasses are necessary for all environments – from the sunny Bahamas to the snowy slopes. Dangerous UV rays exist in all travel locations. Sunglasses help protect against these UV rays. You’ll also want them to be comfortable and stylish for all your travel destinations.
Before committing to a pair of sunglasses, you need to know all about the qualities that make for a great pair of travel sunglasses. From there, we dive into six of the best pairs of sunglasses. Finding the right sunglasses is an investment in your next round of trips – whether it is a weekend getaway or a month-long escape. In many ways, sunglasses are the ultimate travel accessory.
Must-Have Qualities for Travel Sunglasses
This might go without saying, but high-quality makes for a great pair of sunglasses. After all, what use is a pair of sunglasses if the lenses fall out after a week? This is especially true when traveling. Of course, quality does come with a slightly higher price tag. The investment will pay off though when the sunglasses last for many of your future vacations.
If the pricey nature of high quality has you down, think of it this way: you can pay $20 a few times a year every year for low quality or pay $150+ for a high-quality pair that lasts several years. Quality is money well spent.
Not only are over-sized sunglasses a fashionable look, but they also serve to hide the under-eye bags that come from long travel days. Oversized shades can help prevent eye wrinkles and provide protection to the area around your eyes. You’ll spend less time squinting in the sun and more time soaking in the views. Wrap-around sunglasses also do a great job of coverage. They block the sun even from the side.
The main purpose of sunglasses is to protect against harmful UV exposure. Yes, this is even more important than the fashion statement sunglasses. Excessive UV exposure leads to long-term eye issues. Perhaps the most well-known of these issues are cataracts. UV rays can damage your eyes over long-term exposure. It would make your vision cloudy when the proteins tangle and unravel. The solution to cataracts involves surgery. In a way, sunglasses serve as a form of preventative medicine.
In the less extreme version, sunglasses protect against short-term issues as well. One of these is photokeratitis, also known as snow blindness. It involves light reflecting from snow or water, dosing yourself with extra levels of UV. So, even if you are hitting the slopes, sunglasses will come in handy.
Not all sunglasses offer the same amount of protection though. UV protection levels vary between various pairs of sunglasses. Ideally, you will want sunglasses that can block 100% or 99% of UV light.
When light reflects from flat surfaces, the light becomes polarized. This basically means light travels uniformly, typically in horizontal directions. The direction results in glare, which can greatly reduce visibility. Glare is common around water or roadways.
If sunglasses are polarized, there is a special filter to block that reflected light. You’ll be able to see without squinting. This can ultimately help reduce irritation, redness, headaches, and fatigue.
Of course, the main factor driving decisions around sunglasses might be the style. Travel typically involves a lot of pictures. You want those pictures to look good, so you want to be rocking your sunglasses as you take them. Sunglasses should also reflect your personality and face shape. You want them to look good all around!
1. Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses
This pair of sunglasses from Oakley creates a classic design with a lightweight, metal frame. The sunglasses are also incredibly durable and lightweight. It is accented with the iconic metal Oakley icon on the side. They are UV resistant and blocks 100% of UV rays. The lenses are coated with Iridium, which reduces glare.
Personally, the three-point fit is fantastic and creates great alignment. The glasses are a comfortable and stylish look. There are two metal divot accents on the front of the lens for a little bit of flair. The lenses curve slightly, allowing for protection from the side as well.
Blocks 100% of UV rays
Not ideal for the over-sized look
2. Ray-Ban Justin Classic Sunglasses
Another classic look is these polarized sunglasses from Ray-Ban. These glasses are inspired by the Wayfarer sunglasses but are redesigned with polarized lenses and fresh frame choices. The lenses are offered in different colors and rubberized finish. The sunglasses are unisex so you and your partner can match with this bold and classic look. The colors include traditional grey, black, and tortoise as well as bold statement choices like blue, violet, and fuchsia. These sunglasses are incredibly comfortable and offer great visual clarity.
They offer great protection as well with polarization and 99% UV blockage. The polarization is a special gradient design, allowing for a smooth transition between transparent and solid shades and colors. The lenses can also be cut for prescription needs, making them perfect for every level of eyesight.
Multiple lenses and frame options
Iconic, classic look
Plastic frames are not for everyone
3. Marc Jacobs Women's MARC119S Square Sunglasses
With a rectangular design, Marc Jacobs delivers with these sophisticated sunglasses. The frames are a classic look available in Havana Brown or black gradient. They are clean-cut with the logo embossed on the sides. The plastic frames and lenses tend to stand the test of time.
These glasses are not polarized, but they are coated with 100% UV protection. This protection allows for protection against the harmful rays from the sun. While they do provide enough protection, they also boast ample style. Protection and style are the ultimate combinations when it comes to sunglasses after all! Another standout factor comes from the lens design. The lenses are a gradient, fading from dark to light shades for a unique look. They also come with a great carrying case.
100% UV Protection
Gradient lens design
4. Ray-Ban RB4125 Cats 5000 Oversized Sunglasses
Are you a fan of the Aviator frame design? If so, these over-sized glasses might be just the ticket. They flatter a range of face shapes and styles, making them the right choice for everything from hipster vibes to biker edge. These Ray-Bans are clean, bold, and stylish. The frames are crafted from propionate, creating a durable formula.
The sunglasses are 100% UV resistant although they are not polarized. The design is finished off with subtle polished detailing and the Ray-Ban logo. Just like other Ray-Bans, these are available as prescription-ready lenses. They come in Light Havana or Black/Crystal Green. The versatility of these travel sunglasses makes them great for travel. They can adapt to every look and outfit, no matter the location.
100% UV resistant
5. Revo Baseliner RE 1006 Polarized Wrap Sunglasses
Revo is inspired by NASA, and these glasses will have you feeling out of this world. These sunglasses are a wraparound style that protects from every angle. They are ideal for sport and travel so perfect for the adventurer. The Baseliner design is comfortable and lightweight.
These sunglasses also have anti-slip nose pads, making it perfect for the active lifestyle. You’ll be able to traverse cities, trails, and more without worrying about any slippage. The lenses are also polarized. All-around, the protection here is wonderful. The polarization and nylon design are fantastic for glare reduction. On top of all that, the sunglasses can help reduce glare from digital screens as well.
Anti-slip nose pads
Sporty style rather than fashion style
6. Ralph By Ralph Lauren 0RA5160 Cat Eye Sunglasses
These cat-eye sunglasses are a fresh take on a classic style. They are complete with trendy details and splashes of vibrant color. They create a feminine flair for any outfit. They are tied together with a laser etching of the iconic RALPH logo. This is a detail commonly found on equestrian leather goods from the 19th century. Finding it on these glasses just melds modern elements with traditional design.
The color options include several gradient lens choices in a myriad of colors. These colors include classic black, vintage tort, blue tortoise, tortoise, or rosy tort. With so many options, there is something for everyone. The cat-eye sunglasses from Ralph by Ralph Lauren are crafted from a highly polished acetate substance. It has a gold-tone metal bridge that makes it stand out. The cat-eye silhouette is both elegant and modern.
100% UV resistant
Wrap It Up
Finding the right pair of sunglasses for travel is the key to finding the right travel accessory. Accessorizing for a trip just isn’t complete without a pair of sunglasses. Whether you are on a sunny beach or traveling in the snowy mountains, the sun’s rays can find you. Wearing sunglasses for travel isn’t just about style, it is about protection. Finding UV-resistant, polarized sunglasses will be the first step in ensuring you are protected while out and about. Sunglasses also benefit you in the long-run as well. You’ll be grateful years down the road when you find fewer wrinkles around your eyes because you took the steps to protect your eyes and skin today.
Of course, travel sunglasses also pull an outfit together when done right. Bring an extra element of style to every look with something that is both a protective element and a perfect accessory.
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My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.