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Two Ways to Prevent Bed Bugs & Mosquitoes when you Travel

Sawyer's Permethrin

Last year when my girlfriend and her friends, returned from Costa Rica with a souvenir case of “bed bugs”, it threw my traveler’s hypochondria into a panic. I was nearing my Thailand trip and my budget agenda entailed hostels, guesthouses and trekking in the mountains.

Mosquitoes, bed bugs, head lice,… oh my!

Knowing that a travel buddy had fallen- despite her own safety precautions- warranted a call to my travel doctor for possible bed bug solutions. Until then,  I carried little travel- sized bottles of Febreze (one travel friend I know would pack a Lysol can), knowing that while it might not kill anything more than bacterial odor and germs, it would definitely lend some piece of mind to my slumber.

Here are 2 travel doctor recommendations for preventing nasty travel bugs:

Sawyer’s Permethrin

This comes as either a spray-pump, spray bottle or aerosol that lets you administer water-proof bug repellent to your clothing,  sleeping liner, bags, etc… to keep away mosquitos and travel bugs. It does something similar to mosquito repellent and Ex-Officio BugAway clothing and lasts up to 6 washes. Unfortunately, Permethrin is a toxic agent, so try not to get it on your skin. Read more FAQ here.

It’s definitely not a “spray on your bed and immediately roll around in” type of thing. After you spray it, you have to let it dry. This only treats clothing material and it is advised to apply Deet repellent to your skin in addition.  You can find it on Amazon here.



This is an exciting “off-the-record” medical tip I received from both, my travel doctor and nurse.

Sol-U-Mel is not sold in stores (it’s sold a bit like Amway, but occasionally you can find some sellers onlline). Nurses and moms swear by it, as an effective all-purpose (‘problem-solving’) agent. Not only can it “kill bugs dead” but does so gently and without hurting you.

You can apply its spray to your skin, clothing or surrounding areas. The concentrated cleaner is eco-friendly, made from Melaleuca (or concentrated Tea Tree oil) and can be diluted for use as a spray. It can cut through the toughest stains, kill germs and odors, be used as a laundry detergent and it is rumored to be able to remove Sharpie pen marks from a scribbled photo, without damaging the photo itself.

Most of all for my traveling needs, it repels or kills almost any bug- from ticks, head lice, bed bugs, dust mites and mosquitoes.

Pretty brilliant, eh?


Currently it’s on my order list, so if anyone has used it, let me know what you think of it!

Here’s a wonderful post on  Sol-U-Mel ‘s effectiveness:101 Uses for Sol-U-Mel

What are some solutions you’d recommend?


  1. No Bugs On Me says:

    YES Frebreeze works.. it does! at least the living ones you can see…
    I tried 91% alcohol, sure it will if it doesn’t evaporate first…

    Was spraying Febreeze around just for smell goods… hit one I saw.. watched it within minutes start “rearing up” and then it was gone… actually “froze” in rear up stance lol… tried again when I caught another.. same thing, not even dousing them, just a normal spray…

    Using Febreeze “Pet Odor Eliminator” in the light blue (refill) bottle… $7.94 at WalMart. true its not the cheapest solution.. but I buy the stuff anyway, so I spray any “hot spots” I find.. while also coating the carpet after vaccum.

    This is my experience.. may not be yours.. but if you have them.. try it… not saying it will solve your problem, but it’ss get a few of them… Finding more dead ones that have come up out of the carpet as i type… Vacuum Vacuum Vacuum.

  2. There is some good advice here, and isn’t it strange how bed bugs will sometimes only affect one individual and leave the other alone?
    Luckily I am usually the one who doesn’t get bitten!!
    But these products certainly seem worth getting as a safeguard

  3. Gloria says:

    Hi – I love Sol-U-Mel. Contact me f you would like more information on how to purchase safer, greener products.

  4. Shredder says:

    I have been looking for this kind of bed bugs solution, since I have been traveling with my work. I’m very much particular with the existence of bed bugs and mosquitoes. This products sounds to be effective, I might buy one of this before I off to my traveling destination.

  5. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the tips. Sol-U-Mel sounds amazing. I’m constantly looking for multi-purpose items for my lone carry-on. 🙂 I like Dr. Bronner’s soap too, but sol-u-mel sounds a little bit more hardcore, which is needed in scary locales. 🙂

  6. Gray says:

    Great advice, thank you! Sol-U-Mel sounds perfect. I’ve been wondering if there was some sort of “all natural” bug repellent out there, because I really don’t using toxic chemicals near my skin.

  7. Stupendous advice! Funny story, me and the ex shared the same bed in a Cambodian hostel, but his back was littered with bedbug bites, I was clear. Maybe there was a reason that relationship didn’t work. 🙂 I need to find this Sol-U-Mel now!

    • Sometimes you need to heed the signs, I guess… LOL. Yeah, it would be great for your RTW trip & all those beds! BTW- My ex roomie’s sister did an orphanage volunteer program in India & came home with head lice- not to scare…. but the Sol-U-Mel if you read that 101 list, supposedly does the trick too.

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