By Matt Meagher
9 Tips for Protection from Bug Bites While Traveling
Mosquitos and other dangerous insects are most prevalent between April-October. This same time period each year is when people look to travel to warm, tropical locations. While these exotic destinations might be the most enticing to travel to, mosquitos and other insects that live there may pose health threats.
From Zika Virus to West Nile Virus and plenty in between, mosquitos are a real concern for travelers. With this in mind, we put together a list of 9 ways to protect yourself from insects when traveling to these warm climates.
- Insect Repellent
Ok, yes, this is very obvious. However, many bug sprays only protect from mosquitos. So when you’re preparing for a trip, buy repellent that defends against all insects. It is recommended to use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent to keep insects at bay.
- Don’t Show Too Much Skin
Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants is not typically high on the wardrobe list when you are visiting somewhere warm. However, covering your skin with clothing is the best way to avoid insect bites. If you insist on wearing shorts, consider wearing some knee-high socks to protect your lower legs. Also, try to avoid brightly-colored clothing, as they would attract more insects. If you really want to ignore this tip, refer back to number one.
- Maintain Screen Windows and Doors
It’s very common to have a tear or two on your screen door and windows. Be sure that when you notice a rip in one of your screens, you repair it as soon as possible – or tell your resort maintenance crew. Insects can take advantage of the slightest opening in a screen to get into wherever you’re staying.
- Tuck in Your Clothes
This may not be the most fashion-forward style, but tucking your shirt into your pants is an important aspect of insect protection. Not only should you tuck your shirt in, but tucking your pants into your socks can be even more helpful. This is going to look super ridiculous, so maybe only take this step in extreme conditions – like when walking in tall grass. This will prevent ticks from crawling up your leg under your pants.
- Use Air Conditioners
When looking for ways to keep cool inside during the summer, air conditioning is a bit more costly than keeping your windows and doors open. However, the price may be worth it when considering that open doors are perfect entrances for mosquitos and other insects (especially if you are at a pre-paid resort or hotel and aren’t paying the electricity).
- Stay Inside Between Dusk and Dawn
Mosquitos are certainly more prevalent during the period between sunset and sunrise. So if you need to be outside during this time, make sure to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. When the weather is nice, you’ll certainly want to spend a lot of time outside. However, just be aware that mosquitos love coming out at night.
- Keep Trash Covered Up
For our Airbnb travelers and summer house renters: If you spend a lot of time outside, there’s a good chance that some leftover food may be left behind. Be sure to pick up all trash and put it in a covered garbage can. If the can is not covered, then insects will surely be found all around the can.
- Drain Standing Water
Many insects are attracted to small puddles of water that have been sitting for a long time. For example, water left in wheelbarrows, buckets or birdbaths will attract bugs. Therefore, make sure that you replace or pour out any standing water found near where you’re staying.
- Sleep Under a Mosquito Net
When traveling to an exotic location where insect-borne diseases are prevalent, it would be worth it to sleep in a bed with a mosquito net over it. This will provide you with some peace-of-mind when you head off to bed. If your resort doesn’t provide one immediately, ask!