Whether you are planning a seaside summer vacation or a Safari expedition, you need to make sure that you protect yourself from mosquitos. Sure, some are completely harmless and they will just annoy you, but others are actually carriers of dangerous illnesses, such as Zika, the West Nile virus, etc.
It is always better to be safe than sorry, so the best way to protect yourself from these pesky bugs (and others!) is to arm yourself with an effective repellent.In this review, we will first take a look at the various types of mosquito repellents out there. Then, we will take a look at the best products from the most effective repellent categories. So, without further ado, here are the best mosquito repellents for travel!
The most common types of mosquito repellents are:
For some reason, mosquitos love me. Whenever I go away on a summer vacation, I return home with dozens of mosquito bites. You know what’s the best part? I am actually allergic to them, so every single bite swells to the size of at least a golf ball.
So, I have plenty of experience in dealing with these pesky little bugs, and I can honestly tell you what works best. We’ll start off this review with electric diffuser repellents, because in my experience, these do the best job.
We’ll also take a look at a few sprays and lotions, as these are great for on the go. They can provide up to 14 hours of protection, and they are your best option if you want to stay protected while you are out and about. Especially if you plan to spend a lot of time in nature.
Bracelets are also pretty effective, especially if you want to protect your kids. They are great because they can last for several days. Once the effect of a bracelet wears out, you just throw it out and put on a new one. And, most are made of fully natural ingredients, so you don’t need to panic even if your child (or pet) decides to check what the bracelet tastes like.
In this review, we will not go over any candles or wall stickers, because they are the least effective (in my experience!). Additionally, candles usually have an unpleasant odor. Also, both the stickers and candles are meant to protect you inside or on the patio/balcony, so there is really not much need to go over them – electric repellents perform better in these settings.
Mosquito coils are something people have been using for decades. For some strange reason, mosquitos just seem to hate them. Simply lay a few around where you are sitting, taking into account any wind or breezes, and soon you will have significantly fewer mosquitos around.
I find such coils are super effective and often leave me bite free, but if you are someone they love to bite, I would also combine it with some DEET spray if you are sitting outside for a long time. Just to be safe!
Setting them up is easy too. All you need are some matches or a lighter, and they will then burn very slowly for hours. Of course, because they run down over time, you will need to keep some stock on hand so that you always have replacements. But other than that, there are very few downsides.
Ultrasonic repellents also do a great job at protecting you from insect bites. They are much more suitable for indoor use than diffusers or coils because they don’t release any toxic chemicals or smells. Instead, they produce ultrasonic waves (ie. they are silent to humans) that repel insects. This also makes them safer to use overnight, especially if you have pets of small children.
And, I don't know about you, but one my biggest concerns when I travel during the summer is mosquitos feasting on me while I'm sleeping. And you can leave this baby on while you sleep!
Note, however, that these devices are harmful for hamsters. Additionally, a downside of such devices is that you have to wait a week or two for them to actually start working. But, once they start to work, it will efficiently protect you from insects. However, since they take a while to actually start repelling bugs, they are not really that useful for short vacations.
These devices work best in smaller rooms – bedrooms, living rooms etc. If you want to repel mosquitos from a larger area (a garage or a basement) you will need to plug in several of these in the room for them to to stay effective.
A restriction is that they have to be plugged into an outlet. This means that they are not very portable, and won’t do much for you once you leave the room the device is operating in. On the other hand, they do not require any tablets or heat to work, so they are better (and cheaper) than diffusers or coils.
Bracelets are a great choice because they are incredibly easy to use. You just put one on, and that’s it! You are protected from mosquito bites for the next 2-3 days. And, they are waterproof, so you don’t have to take them off even when you want to go for a swim.
They have a really strong lemongrass smell. And, even though they are chemical-free and made of 100% natural ingredients, if you are sensitive to smells this will be a problem for you. In that case, you might consider wearing this around your ankle; their effect will still be as powerful, but their scent will not.
A great thing about the such a bracelet is that you get a multi-pack with various colors. And when you are not using the bracelet, just put in away and use it again later
It’s also cool that they come in 5 different colors, so everyone can choose the one they like best.
The downside of these? They might not be as effective for people who get bitten by mosquitos more often than your average Joe. They will still work wonderfully, but one or 2 of those annoying insects could get through to your skin.
Spray repellents are usually really good at protecting you from bites. The Repel’s effect can last up to 8 hours, and after that you just re-apply it. This particular spray is made of 40% DEET, a chemical that is used in most insect repellents.
Even though DEET is mostly harmless, it can cause skin irritation, especially if you are allergic to it. If you experience any unusual irritations after applying the spray, stop using it and get tested for a DEET allergy. And by all means, avoid spraying it in your eyes in mouth.
This particular spray is great if you are planning to travel to Africa, and you want to protect yourself from mosquitoes that transmit Zika, Dengue and West Nile viruses. It is a very strong repellent, and as such, it is recommended that you do not spray it under your clothing. It is, however, suitable to be used on the face; just don’t spray it directly on your face.
This spray is meant for outdoor use, and it is not recommended that you use it in enclosed areas. A good thing about this spray is that you can use it on children, just don’t spray it directly on their skin.
In general, lotions have an advantage over sprays because they last longer. However, you can’t apply lotions to your clothes, and sprays you can. In terms of their effectiveness, I’d say that they both do a great job. Additionally, this is suitable for children, and there are no restrictions on indoor/outdoor use.
This lotion in particular has an effect that lasts up to 11 hours. You can apply it in combination with sunscreen – first pun on sunscreen, and then put on the repellent. You will be safe from bug bites whether you are on a safari or just strolling along the lakeshore.
This lotion contains 30% DEET which will protect you from bug bites incredibly well. And, another advantage this, and many other lotions have over sprays is that they are usually odorless. Therefore, if you are sensitive to strong smells but still need powerful and long-lasting protections, maybe a lotion is the way to go.
That depends on several things. First, it depends on whether you need the repellent for use indoors or outdoors. For indoor use, I would recommend an ultrasonic repellent, such as the Neatmaster Ultrasonic Pest Repeller.
For outdoor use, I would suggest either a bracelet or a coil, depending on whether you need to repel mosquitos while you are out and about, or when you are just chilling on the patio. I would say recommend the W4W Citronella Mosquito Repellent Coils, simply because old school tech like this is simple, portable, easy to use and just works!
On the other hand, if you need something to protect you while you are out exploring nature, then a lotion or a spray is the way to go. Your best bet is to get something that contains DEET, provided you are not allergic to it. DEET is undoubtedly the most used chemical in mosquito repellents, and it is incredibly effective. Since lotions last longer than sprays, I’d say go for the Sawyer Products lotion.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!