What are you most looking forward to about your next tropical vacation? Sunny days lounging on the beach, exploring lush green jungle, walking along the sand with waves lapping at your feet? These are all essential parts of any trip to the tropics, but unfortunately, they’re just as irresistible to insects as they are to humans. Bugs tend to lurk in warm, humid climates, and their bites are more than just an itchy annoyance—they can also carry diseases.
If you’re headed somewhere near the equator, chances are good that you’ll encounter some bugs—there’s no way around that. Fortunately, though, there are plenty of ways to keep them from driving you nuts or making you sick. Follow these steps to ensure your next tropical getaway is worry-free.
Do Your Homework
Before you board the plane, do some research on your destination. What kinds of insects are you likely to encounter there, and what sorts of illnesses might they be carrying? Depending on what you find out, in some cases, it might make sense to visit your doctor and get started on a course of antimalarial drugs.
Doing some digging on your tropical paradise can also help you determine where you should spend the days or nights on your trip. Read reviews before booking rooms—you may find out that your intended hotel was set in a particularly muggy zone, or, alternately, that a resort has air-conditioned rooms, which tend to be sealed off and are less likely to contain bugs.
One of the simplest ways to prevent bugs from pestering you is to cover your skin so nothing is exposed. But don’t start sweating yet: we’ve come a long way since the days of explorers whacking their way through the jungle with a machete and heavy khakis. These days, you can dress in long pants and sleeves that are comfortable and breathable, like Craghoppers’ NosiLife Range line.
Insect Shield clothing contains permanent anti-bug technology embedded right into the garment, so it doesn’t wash away or irritate your skin. Best of all, because it’s meant to be used in hot climates, it’s also designed to wick moisture and keep you comfortable, even during the hottest parts of the day. The line of clothing is effective against a wide variety of bugs, including common pests like mosquitoes, ticks, and midges. Depending how badly the region you’re visiting tends to be affected by bugs, consider bringing along a mosquito headnet, too.
Get the Timing Right
Like all wildlife, insects have favorite times of day to come out. Early morning and dusk are particularly insect-heavy times, so either plan your outings between dawn and dusk or take extra precautions during those times. Pre-dawn hours are also an especially active time for sand fleas, so beach outings are best saved for later in the morning.
Wind may be the last kind of weather you want to encounter most of the time, but in the tropics, it’s a great safeguard from insects, who can’t easily fly when it’s breezy. If you do happen to be out and about during buggy periods, keep moving—sand fleas can swarm when you’re sitting still, but they don’t move quickly enough to keep up when you’re walking down the beach. It’s also smart to bring along a towel to put between you and the sand.
Know Your Repellent Options
When it comes to repelling bugs, something built into your clothes is your best bet. Craghoppers’ NosiDefence fabrics use a tight weave that’s impenetrable to mosquitoes, while Insect Shield garments have protection woven in for their entire lifetimes (and they’re tested by an independent laboratory, so you know the technology works).
Other types of insect repellent may work on any skin that’s still exposed. DEET, of course, is among the best-known repellents, though its potentially harmful long-term effects mean it’s best to use sparingly. (Picaridin is a great alternative for those who don’t do well with DEET.) A number of more natural alternatives are available, too. Check out the health department’s recommendations and see what’s the best option in the region where you’ll be traveling.
Keep Bugs Out of Your Luggage
Whether you’re staying in one spot for the duration of your trip or traveling from one beachside cabana to the next, one way to avoid being bugged is to keep critters out of your luggage. Even if your skin is covered, bugs can camp out in the folds of your clothing, and they’re especially adept at taking up residence in your suitcase.
Keep your luggage on a rack or otherwise off the floor whenever possible, and leave suitcases, duffels, and toiletry bags zipped whenever you’re not using them. Most importantly, don’t leave any food in your luggage, and when you do bring food back to your room, make sure it’s in a sealed container.
Written by Emma Walker for RootsRated Media in partnership with Craghoppers.
Featured image provided by Štefan Štefančík