Despite what we learned in school, man is not at the top of the food chain.
In many parts of the world, those little buggers are mini kamikaze pilots, armed to take you down with a deadly strain of malaria, dengue fever or yellow fever; as well as less lethal viruses like Zika, West Nile and Chikungunya.
I’ve been on six continents, and I have encountered mosquitoes on every single one of them.
So how can you significantly decrease your chance of getting bitten by a kamikaze mosquito? It’s all in how you dress, how you smell and how you sleep….
Dress Not to Impress
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors and the eau of your skin.
So invest in a travel wardrobe comprised of light-colored clothes that cover most of your body—creating fewer places for those buggers to land.
To stay cool and dry in hot and humid climates, where mosquitoes thrive most, buy clothes with wick moisture protection and UPF sun protection via brands like Columbia.
Your new travel wardrobe will keep you cool and comfy no matter where you travel—from the city to the jungle.
If journeying to places with a higher risk of mosquito-borne infection, bring along a:
- workout headband to cover your ears;
- handkerchief or scarf to cover your neck; and
- lightweight pair of glove liners for your hands.
Smell Like Death
There’s only one way you want to smell… like repellant.
You should bring mosquito repellant with you wherever you go, even to far north places like Greenland and Alaska, where mosquitoes are off-the-chain in summer.
Before your trip, visit check our BYG (Before You Go) Country Guides to determine whether you’re travelling to areas with a higher chance of contracting a mosquito-borne disease.
If you’re going to a mild mosquito zone, where there is little to no risk of contracting a deadly virus, you can use a natural, plant-based repellant like Repel Lemon-Eucalyptus, which is safer for your skin and the environment.
In the tropics, however, where mosquitoes are much more gangster, they will find your natural repellent laughable.
Instead, you should bring along heavy-duty deet (20-30%) and apply it to any exposed skin.
Also, a week or so before your trip, gather the clothes you plan to wear during hikes or outings in the wilderness and spray them with permethrin, an insecticide that is very effective against gangster mosquitoes and ticks.
Permethrin-coated clothing will still be effective after a few washings. Just be sure to wash and pack them separately from your normal clothes.
Note: only spray permethrin on the outside of clothes that will be exposed to the elements (not your underwear or undershirts, for example).
Be Stone Cold
When staying overnight in a place with a high risk of crossing paths with a deadly mosquito, your best bet is to stay in lodging with air conditioning.
Mosquitoes don’t last long in a well air-conditioned room.
Just make sure the cold air is circulating throughout your entire accommodation, including the bathroom.
For extra protection, you could also bring along a plug-in room repellant like Mosqui-Go Duo, which will wipe out the mosquitoes in your room.