Okay. I’m starting a new series – RaW Travel Essentials – on my blog, just to share about my personal travel essentials. Each post would cover just one item, where I’ll share some relevant tips and perhaps do some quick reviews as well, where applicable. And so, for this first post, it’s sunglasses. Sunglasses? Yup, sunglasses! 😎 Whether it’s for summer travels, or winter travels, and especially for daily use whilst out and about in Malaysia, sunglasses have become like one of my top travel essentials – because most people tend to forget about them, concentrating on the more obvious ones like chargers (phone/camera/laptop), travel plugs, etc. By putting it at the top of my list, it is most likely that I won’t forget bringing one during my travels. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to list down the benefits of wearing one, right?
Sunglasses haven’t always been in my list however. I’ve only started using one less than 10 years ago when I first moved to Dubai, UAE from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. It was summer and at the height of it, the temperature even went up to 50 degrees Celsius. Until then, I’d never thought of any need for a pair of sunglasses. The sunlight during day time though, could be really harsh on the eyes. I remember going to Dubai Outlet Mall in the outskirt of Dubai with my colleague/boss. We were not exactly looking to buy anything, just wanted to pass time one weekend. I however spent the time hopping from one sunglasses store to another, looking for something that is perfect for my face shape and of course, my budget. Being a fussy customer that I usually am, I had to go back and forth between two to three stores trying out one pair after another before finally deciding on the one to buy.
The whole process was really tiring and time consuming too. What more when I was a newbie when it comes to sunglasses. Selecting one design that I like only to find out that it doesn’t suit my face. Or doesn’t have the perfect size. Or being way above my budget. And each time, you have to wait for the staff to take the glasses from display, or check for your size, etc. And if any of the above requirements is not fulfilled, the whole process starts again. I bet I’d managed to annoy the staff at those stores without much try that afternoon. And not to forget my colleague/boss too – although he’s probably like the most patient guy I’ve ever met. (I hope he doesn’t read this post though, haha!)
After a few hours however, I ended up with two pairs, a Rayban and a Ralph Lauren, both of which I have been happily using these past few years.
I hadn’t really considered getting a new pair after all these years. Firstly, because I’ve been happy with the glasses that I’d bought in Dubai. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I couldn’t really be bothered to start and endure the whole process again. That was until I found out about SmartBuyGlasses.com.my, an online store that sells, surprise, surprise, glasses.
Browsing their site was easy. Despite the many selection that they offer, you can easily filter them based on your favourite brand (they have plenty listed!), price range, frame colour & type, lens colour & types (e.g. polarised, prescription, etc.), shape (e.g. aviator, round, square, etc.) and a few more other options, so that you can narrow down your choices within just a few minutes in the comfort of your home. Talk about appeals.
One thing that had made me not consider online shopping for sunglasses before was how would I know if the shape and size are perfect for my face? What if I buy one pair, only to find out later upon delivery that it doesn’t fit me? What a hassle it would be, wouldn’t it? Well, fret not. On the site, you can try some of the glasses virtually to see if they look good on you. Also, it turned out that my concern about the size wasn’t well founded – admittedly it’s probably due to the fact that I’m such a noob when it comes to buying glasses, heh! Well, I don’t wear prescription glasses, and as mentioned earlier, my one and only experience of buying sunglasses was years ago.
In the description of every pair of sunglasses, the site would list down the size of the glasses in terms of lens width & height (eye size), the space between the two lenses (bridge size) and the length of the arms of the glasses (temple size). Being the noob that I was (until recently, that is), I took out my ruler and tried a few times to measure my Ralph Lauren for sizes to compare. Luckily I did that alone, in the comfort of my home, with no one else present. Why? Because it saved me from embarrassment after finding out that you can actually get the size details/information easily from the inside of the frame. Yes, you can laugh at me now 😛 but for those who didn’t know any better, here’s an example of the code from the inside of the frame of my Ralph Lauren to help give you the idea:
RL 7003 9002-S/13 6811 120 3N
You can guess that the first half part of the code is more like the brand & design code. It’s the second half part that would be of interest if you’re looking for the size. From the above, you can work out that:
- Eye size – 68mm
- Bridge size – 11mm
- Temple size – 120mm
I’ve read that in general, the eye and bridge sizes can vary up to 2mm either way so I was pretty happy to find a pair of sunglasses that I like have the following size: 69mm & 10mm.
So there you go. That’s how I was convinced that I’d be getting the right sized sunglasses from an online store. I thought if it still doesn’t fit, then I can always return it to SmartBuyGlasses for an exchange within 100 days of receipt. It would cost me nothing to return it as they’d cover the postage as well. (It’s free delivery too in the first place, if the transaction is over MYR310.)
In any case, I got my new sunglasses delivered by a courier a few days after submitting my order. As I’d hoped, it was a perfect fit and now ready to travel with me.
How about you? Do you consider and list sunglasses as one of your travel essentials? Or do you just take it for granted as something that you’d automatically bring with you on your travels? If you're getting a new pair, would you buy them online?
For other blog entries on RaW Travel Essentials, click here.