Mosquitoes, bed bugs, head lice,… oh my!
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.
Knowing that a travel buddy had fallen, despite her stubborn safety precautions, warranted a call to my travel doctor for possible bed bug solutions.
How do you prevent bed bugs when you travel? Until then, I carried little travel- sized bottles of Febreze. That does no more than kill germs which create bacterial odor.
Here are two travel doctor recommendations for preventing nasty travel bugs and the third is a traveler’s trick.
Three ways to prevent bed bugs when you travel (… mosquitoes too)
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 bed bugs. It does something like 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.
Sol-U-Mel is not sold in stores (it’s sold a bit like Amway; occasionally you can find some sellers online). 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. This is an exciting “off-the-record” medical tip I received from both, my travel doctor and nurse.
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. Here’s an article post on Solumel’s effectiveness:101 Uses for Sol-U-Mel
A Silk Liner
Silk liners are generally for camping. They are silk and they’re used to line your sleeping bag for extra warmth. However, they can also be used to deter bed bugs (not so much mosquitoes though), as silk is woven very fine and is not breathable cloth. Unlike cotton sheets, bed bugs won’t have an easy time permeating them. An added benefit is when you’re traveling during summer or spring, it works as a travel sheet and warm blanket. I recommend Sea and Summit silk liners. They’re usually priced right as an investment and you’ll find this handy in regular travels. Note: Do not get the cotton blend; it should only be premium or 100% silk to keep the bed bugs out.
Share ways you prevent bed bugs when you travel. Leave it down in the comments.