Summer vacation, the chance to soak up some sun, drink too many cocktails and let go of the stress you’ve accumulated throughout the year. Whether you’re traveling with your family, partner or solo, your vacation should be a window of bliss in your life, unencumbered by worry or stress.
Unfortunately, there’s one global annoyance that’s almost impossible to escape, wherever you end up – and that’s bugs. They’re a pain in the ass at home and when you travel (particularly to tropical and sub-tropical regions) it can seem like the world has been overrun with many-legged monsters.
Of course, very few people let this stop them traveling – and you shouldn’t either! Read on for the most common pests people run into abroad, and how you can keep them off you.
Let’s start off with one of the world’s most hated bugs. With a distinctive, high-pitched whine and a maddeningly itchy bite, the tiny mosquito is a daily plague that most travelers have to contend with. These irritating bugs usually show up in the evening, when they arrive in droves to feast on the blood of al-fresco diners. Not only are mosquito bites unbearably uncomfortable, but they can also expose you to some nasty illnesses. Mosquitoes are known vectors for a wide range of dangerous diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis.
The best way to protect yourself is not to get bitten in the first place! So, how can you keep mosquitoes away on vacation?
How to avoid mosquitoes on vacation
Use a travel bug spray. Using a travel bug repellent is one of the easiest ways to prevent mosquito bites. Insecticidal ingredients like DEET and picaridin are widely considered to be the most effective. However, if you favor natural ingredients, repellents containing lemon eucalyptus oil can also work wonders.
unsplash.comSleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are active at night, and you’re an easy target when you’re asleep. The best way to avoid this is to sleep under a mosquito net, which will create a physical barrier between you and the bugs. Make sure there are no gaps or tears in the netting before you doze off, though – mosquitoes can (and will) find a way inside.
Wear long, loose-fitting clothing. The best way to keep mosquitoes off your skin is to make sure they have no access to it. Loose, long clothes will help to shield you from bug bites, especially in the evening.
Another all-too-common vacation pest is the bed bug. These minuscule, bloodsucking insects lurk in bed linen throughout the day, before emerging at night to nibble on your sleeping body. The bites usually show up in clusters, and, though smaller than mosquito bites, they’re just as itchy!
The good news is, bed bugs bites are unlikely to transmit diseases. However, they have a different horror in store for travelers – they can follow you home! These skilled hitchhikers are adept at stowing away in suitcases and can stay there undetected until you get back to your own house
Nobody wants to deal with a bed bug infestation – so how can you keep bed bugs away from you and your stuff while on vacation?
How to avoid bed bugs on vacation
Inspect the bed on arrival. Bed bugs can be tricky to spot, so it’s important to inspect your bed thoroughly before you get in it. Examine the linings of sheets and pillows, and be on the look-out for dark or rusty spots (bed-bug poop), shed skins, eggs, and live and dead bugs.
Pay attention to reviews. If a hotel has a problem with bed bugs, you bet they’ll have a number of disgruntled complaints from itchy customers. Read the reviews of hotels carefully before you make your booking to see if there’s anything you should be aware of beforehand!
Never leave your luggage on your bed. One of the easiest ways to bring bed bugs home is in your luggage. Bed bugs will crawl into any clothes or suitcases left nearby, where they quietly wait to be relocated to their new home – yours! Avoid putting anything on your bed until you’re sure it’s bedbug-free.
Cockroaches can be found around the world but many species are most common in tropical and subtropical regions. These odorous, disease-spreading insects are loathed by most people, and keeping them out of your space while traveling is the best way to avoid contact with them.
How to avoid cockroaches on vacation
Pay attention to reviews. The easiest way to keep your contact with cockroaches to a minimum on vacation is to stay somewhere will good hygiene and pest control practices.
A quick search through a hotel’s reviews will reveal if cockroaches or any other pests for that matter are a common problem there.
Keep doors and closed. It may seem obvious but closing the door behind you can help to prevent roaches from getting indoors. Likewise, keeping windows/bug screens closed as much as possible (especially at night) can help to prevent them from getting inside.
Don’t leave food lying around. One of the main reasons cockroaches come indoors is in search of food, and leaving scraps out can tempt them in. Make sure you wrap and store/dispose of food carefully to avoid attracting roaches on vacation!
Dry up all water spills. Standing water can also tempt thirsty roaches indoors. Make sure to mop up all spills immediately to prevent this from happening!
A vacation should always be relaxing but being bombarded by bugs can make it feel anything but! Fortunately, keeping insects away on vacation is easily done with a few, simple preventative measures. Using an effective bug repellent, sleeping under a mosquito net, checking for bugs on arrival and taking care not to leave food out can help to keep mosquitoes, cockroaches and bed bugs at bay.
Now, all that’s left to do is enjoy your vacation!