The holidays don’t have to end when summer ends. When the persistent drizzle of the rain and the creeping chill of late autumn become too much, many of us decide to head to the airport and jump on a plane. Anything to get away from it all!
One thing you might not be able to get away from, however, is pests! And we’re not talking about noisy, smelly fellow passengers either. We’re talking about those tiny critters that can ruin any holiday.
So before you pack the suitcase, take a moment to consider the non-human pests you might encounter on your travels. Get to know the risks, and the steps you might take to prevent them.
What are the risks?
The type of pests you’ll encounter will largely depend on where you’re going. You’re unlikely to encounter scorpions in Brighton or cobras in Paris, for example. However, some pests have built up those frequent flyer miles and established themselves in nearly every corner of globe.
Pests you might encounter include:
These tiny guys could pop up anywhere, but there are particularly prevalent in tourist accommodation. As the name suggests, they are fond of beds, and the high volumes of traffic in hostels, hotels and resorts can help to spread them from bed to bed. You might even be unlucky enough to find some in your luggage when you get back home.
Be sure to check the bed clothes in your accommodation, and store all luggage safely.
Although not as common as bed bugs, mosquitoes are a much nastier menace. Their bites can sting and itch and generally wreck your holiday.
You are most likely to encounter them in warmer tourist destinations. The chances of bumping into them in Glasgow in November are much slimmer.
Sometimes it’s not the pests themselves that cause the problems; it’s the damage they can do, particularly by spreading diseases.
Bites from ticks and mosquitoes can lead to serious health risks if left unattended. The disease threats vary from region to region, so do your homework before you travel.
What actions can you take?
Unless you’re a particularly adventurous traveller, chances are that you are not venturing into a completely unknown wilderness. By taking the time to check out where you’re going and preparing for your journey, you can greatly reduce your risks of having your holiday ruined by pests. (Human pests are another matter entirely. How you deal with them is up to you!)
Do your homework
When we start planning our holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in the euphoria of reading about exotic destinations and intriguing cultures. This is all part of the fun.
Now, here comes the boring part! You should also do some practical research. Find out what risks you’re likely to face on your travels. What pests are prevalent in that region? What diseases could you be exposed to? What vaccines do you need before you set off? What are medical facilities locally available to you? You don’t have to present a doctoral thesis about it, but do take the time to become familiar with the basics.
Once you’ve got that sorted, you can return to the more invigorating research into beachside nightclubs and tropical cuisines.
Get a medical check up
Before you travel, make sure that you are actually fit to travel. There’s no need to have a full medical check up every time you venture out of your city, but it is worth consulting your doctor before undertaking any big adventures. You need to be particularly careful if you are visiting the subtropical regions.
If you’ve done your homework (and you have, haven’t you?!), you’ll know what diseases you could potentially be exposed to. Ask your doctor for advice on vaccines and medicines. And remember to bring the necessary medical supplies with you.
Also, make sure you also have adequate travel and health insurance to that, if the worst does happen, you’ll be covered.
Keep pests at bay
Just because you encounter pests doesn’t mean that you have to just give up and let them go to town on you. You can fight back. And like a medieval knight, you’ll need your suit of armour before you go into battle. Although your suit of armour is actually just an insect repellent. But it’s just as effective at keeping those pests at bay.
Be sure to apply the repellent regularly. And follow the application guidelines carefully.
Use insect nets
You can further protect yourself with insect nets. These can prevent pests from sneaking up on you while you’re sleeping. In many regions, your accommodation will provide the necessary nets.
If you’re more of a rugged outdoorsy type, make sure your tent is also protected.
We all let our standards slip a bit when we go on holiday. It’s all part of the whole relaxing and partying vibe. Our dress sense goes out the window and the diet goes down the tubes.
However, you should still maintain high standards of hygiene while on holiday. Pests thrive on dirt and litter and general sloppy messiness. That discarded hamburger is an open invitation to any visiting rats or cockroaches. That opened bottle of pop is calling out to the nearest wasps and flies.
So don’t leave your food and drink lying around. Close all food containers when you’ve finally finished eating. (The diet is completely off the agenda now!) Clear all discarded leftover food (if you’ve actually managed to leave any over…). And dispose of all waste carefully; an overflowing bin could soon become home to all sorts of unpleasant surprises. And ensure all surfaces are kept clean and tidy.
Inspect your hotel room
Everybody is a hospitality expert these days. As soon as people arrive at their hotel, they’re venting and ranting online about the rude receptionist or the weird smell in the hallway or nausea-inducing watercolour hanging over the bed.
However, it does pay to have a critical eye when you arrive at your accommodation. You don’t have to go off on a rampage, but do pay attention to the general appearance of the room. Are the rooms clean and tidy? Is there an evidence of pest activity? Are all fabrics and bed clothes fresh? Have hygiene supplies been provided?
Know when to lie low
Some holidays can feel like a 24-hour party. However, it’s worth getting to know what hours the pests like to party too.
Stay indoors at times when pests are most likely to be active. Hornets, for example, hit the town during the day, whereas mosquitoes are more active at dawn or dusk.
Again, if you’ve done your homework, you’ll know when to stay out of the way of those pesky pests.
So now, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your holiday. And don’t forget to send us a postcard!