5 useful tips for avoiding insects when on holidays

Stop mosquitoes from gate-crashing the party by following our top tips.

When taking a break, it’s hard to beat the feeling of chilling on the balcony of your BIG4 cabin or around the campsite on a balmy night. The combination of warm weather, a drink in hand, and great conversation is irresistible.

However, sometimes a few unwanted guests will invariably spoil the party, and we’re not talking about Uncle Brian and his inappropriate jokes. Instead, we mean those pesky bugs. Insects that bite and sting and make us itch and scratch. Insects that make us look silly when we slap ourselves repeatedly as if we have a horrible, involuntarily affliction.

Insects can be annoying, but they don’t have to spoil your holiday fun. To help you avoid these pests, we’ve put together several great tips for your next holiday adventure.

1. Wear appropriate clothing

A great starting point to guard against insects when on holidays is to wear suitable clothing – this means long sleeves and pants. These items minimise the amount of exposed skin on your body, which insects thrive upon. To avoid discomfort, wear ‘light’ items of clothing that are suitable for warmer conditions.

2. Use insect repellent

If there’s one thing that irritating pests don’t like, it’s insect repellent. Yet it’s worth noting that not all repellents are the same, and your product choice is even more important if travelling with children.

It’s all to do with the active ingredient in many insect repellents: DEET, otherwise known as N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. DEET is effective in preventing mosquito and other insect bites but should be used in accordance with manufacturers’ directions to avoid any adverse health effects.

RID Australia distributes RID Medicated Insect Repellent, and the company’s marketing manager, Lori Thomas, suggests that you think about choosing a repellent that best reflects your outdoor activity.

“For the astute shoppers it’s about buying repellent to suit your time outdoors rather than one that is high in DEET. For example, products offering two or three-hour protection offer up to 10 percent DEET, which is enough to prevent mosquitoes from biting in low-risk areas and is safe to use on children 12 months and older. Products offering four or six-hour protection are well within the 15-30 percent DEET range in high-risk areas," Lori said.

“Recently, the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne released its updated insect repellent guidelines for safe use, which champions this very point. We encourage shoppers to look at what they are buying when it comes to insect repellent, as products vary."

Experts also advise that you wash insect repellent from your skin with water and soap after use.

Burning a mosquito coil a day keeps the insects away. Use as directed.

3. Burn coils and candles

Another ideal way to combat pesky bugs is to invest in mosquito coils or candles, as smoke repels these uninvited guests from your holiday gathering. Once more, when using these type of products it is important that you follow the instructions that are provided.

4. Avoid using fragrances

Perfume has long been a powerful force that easily grabs people’s attention. Unfortunately, it also proves alluring to bugs and so is best avoided when relaxing outside. Fragrances can also diminish the effectiveness of insect repellents, which is another valid reason to refrain from using them when holidaying.

Prevent bugs from hovering around by sealing food.

5. Keep food sealed

Everyone loves grandma’s Pavlova – including those annoying insects. To avoid these pests having a slice of the action, keep food sealed in containers or with cling wrap. Once you’ve finished eating, dispose of rubbish sooner rather than later. Also, rinse bottles and cans, as the remnants of drinks – particularly sugary beverages – can be to bugs’ liking as well.

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