Best sunglasses for your road trip

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Sunglasses for your road trip should have durability, UV protection and style, so you won’t need to compromise looks or practicality.

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Which sunglasses for your road trip are best?

If you are planning a road trip, a pair of shades is usually one of the first items on your list of essentials. With traveling comes changing weather, long-term UV exposure and constant variations in brightness, so a good pair of sunglasses is necessary for protection in all these conditions. 

The best sunglasses for your road trip should also be sturdy enough to handle the knocks associated with travel and stylish enough for photo opportunities while sightseeing. One such pair is our top choice, the Ray-Ban Classic Aviator, suitable for any occasion and solid protection for your eyes.

What to know before you buy sunglasses for your road trip

Lens and frame size

Broad lenses offer better wind resistance while driving with the windows open or the top down, and slimmer frames don’t interfere as much with your peripheral vision. This is why aviator-style sunglasses, with their oversized lenses and slim wireframes, work as well on road trips as they do while piloting fighter jets. Wraparound frame styles are also good for driving, as they provide plenty of coverage while not impeding vision.

Overall weight

Thinner frames are more lightweight and less likely to become uncomfortable when worn for longer periods. However, there is often a compromise between comfort and strength when it comes to lighter frames. Thankfully, you can now buy frames made of carbon composites and other alloys that are extremely tough and ultralight. Some even have flexible qualities that can withstand being sat on before springing back into shape. Sports sunglasses are also lightweight and usually offer the same benefits for driving as regular sunglasses.

Lens versatility

Constantly removing and replacing your sunglasses as lighting conditions change while driving is both distracting and annoying. Sunglasses with versatile lenses adjust to different ambient lighting automatically, allowing you to focus on the road ahead. This is not only better for your eye health, but for road safety, as well.

What to look for in quality sunglasses for your road trip

Durability

Your travel sunglasses are likely to be kept in gloveboxes, shoved in suitcases, and tossed around the car. Therefore, they must be able to withstand knocks and scrapes while you’re mobile. Polycarbonate lenses are highly impact-resistant and much more protective than glass or plastic variations. Titanium frames are extremely strong and lightweight. If you prefer plastic frames, TR90 plastic offers excellent flexibility and strength.

UV protective properties

All good quality sunglasses should protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays. UVA and UVB rays can damage your eyes in several ways, and sunglasses that don’t offer UV protection expose your eyes to more ultraviolet rays by making the pupils dilate. 

Polarized lenses are quite different, as these filter glare reflecting off of surfaces. While polarized lenses are highly effective, they may pose a problem seeing digital displays in your car.

Style

While your optical health and practicality should always come first, you need to feel good in your sunglasses, especially since a road trip is usually for a vacation. Choose a style that is versatile enough to pair with multiple outfits for the beach, the slopes, or just going out to lunch. You’ll likely have plenty of photos to remind you of your trip, so you’ll want to look your best while wearing your shades. 

How much you can expect to spend on sunglasses for your road trip

Your eyes are worth spending more on eyewear for protection, and a good pair of 100 percent UV-resistant shades generally starts at around $50. A high-quality pair usually costs between $50-$150, with some premium and designer options costing upwards of $150.

Sunglasses for your road trip FAQ

Can I add prescription lenses to my choice of sunglasses?

A. Many premium brands now give you the option of adding prescription lenses to your chosen sunglasses, but these usually come at a higher price. Alternatively, some companies make lenses to fit your existing frames, although these might not have as good a finish as those that are factory-fitted.

Are sports sunglasses good for road trips?

A. Sports sunglasses have many features that make them ideal for use when driving. These include lightweight frames, high UV protection, durability and ability to protect your eyes from the elements. Wraparound models also give you an uninterrupted field of vision, which is great for use on the road.

What are the best sunglasses to buy for your road trip?

Top sunglasses for your road trip

Ray-Ban Classic Aviator

Ray-Ban Classic Aviator

What you need to know: The aptly-named Classic Aviators are arguably the world’s most famous design and have been sold worldwide since 1937.

What you’ll love: With oversized 48-millimeter lenses and lightweight wireframes, it’s easy to forget that you’re wearing them. They are available in a wide range of colors, lens styles and sizes to suit almost every type of face.  

What you should consider: The frames are very thin, so while they are flexible, they should not be subjected to heavy forces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top sunglasses for your road trip for the money

Eye Love Polarized Sunglasses for Men and Women

Eye Love Polarized Sunglasses for Men and Women

What you need to know: This minimalist pair of performance sunglasses are equally sporty and stylish in their appearance and they are also both sturdy and lightweight. 

What you’ll love: This unisex pair has a lightweight, plastic from and polarized lenses with a special UV protection coating. With every product sale, Eye Love says they donate an eye exam, glasses, and sunglasses to someone in need.

What you should consider: Some reviewers found the glasses to be overly dark.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Oakley Oo9444 Frogskins

Oakley Oo9444 Frogskins

What you need to know: This versatile pair is inspired by Oakley’s original line of Frogskin sunglasses, and has a contemporary style and build.

What you’ll love: With lens widths of 57 millimeters, these shades are large enough to block most ambient light and UV rays while driving. Though not polarized, these sunglasses come with durable plastic frames, 100 percent UV protection coating, and utilize Oakley’s PRIZM Lens Technology that enhances color and details.

What you should consider: A few reviewers said this model feels less sturdy than the original Frogskin line.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Luke Mitchell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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