Posted in Beach, Camping, Health, Outdoors, Travel

Advising on best mosquito repellent for outdoor lovers

The best mosquito repellent includes enough active ingredient to repel mosquitoes for multiple hours.  The key term is “active ingredient” — only a small number of ingredients are recommended.  DEET is the most thoroughly researched and widely available — and the most commonly recommended by experts.  But picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are good alternatives if you have sensitive skin or want a natural pick.

If you just want a general-use mosquito repellent that provides a full day of protection, choose something from the Off! Deep Woods line.  Off! is a known-and-trusted brand in the insect repellent world, and its Deep Woods repellents come in aerosols, pump sprays, and towelettes.  The Deep Woods line contains 25 percent DEET, which provides up to eight hours of coverage.  And unlike some DEET formulas, the Deep Woods line didn’t irritate your skin at all.

If you have kids, or if you’re looking for just enough repellent to cover an afternoon picnic, we recommend Repel Family Dry Insect Repellent.  This 10 percent DEET repellent is designed to be safe for children, but its non-greasy, unscented spray will also be attractive to adults who are only looking for about four hours of mosquito protection.

For those with especially sensitive skin, try Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent Spray. Picaridin less likely to be a skin irritant than DEET, and testers barely noticed the repellent was on their skin once it dried. Sawyer contains 20 percent picaridin and comes in an aerosol spray.  If you like the sound of picaridin but want a different method of application, you can also try Natrapel 8 Hour Insect Repellent Wipes.

For those who want an all-natural, plant-based ingredient, Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent are two pump spray repellents that performed identically during testing.  They’ll make you smell like you’ve been dipped in lemon eucalyptus (an herbal, menthol-tinged scent), but they should keep the bugs at bay for six or seven hours.

Active Ingredient

Concentration

Hours of Protection

DEET

5-10%

2-4 hours

DEET

15%

6 hours

DEET

25-30%

Up to 8 hours

Picaridin

20%

Up to 8 hours

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

30%

6-7 hours

Sort of. As your DEET percentage increases, you get diminishing returns: 30 percent DEET provides coverage for up to eight hours, while 98 percent covers for 10-12. But if you’re outdoors and sweating, you’ll probably have to reapply your repellent before the 10-hour mark anyway. In other words, you’re exposing yourself to a much higher dose of chemicals for very little extra protection. None of our sources or experts recommended it.

Did You Know?

Avoid mosquito repellents that contain sunscreen.

Yes, you want to protect your skin from both mosquitoes and harmful UV rays. But sunscreen protection usually wears off before mosquito repellent does. If you only apply the product once over an eight-hour span, you risk getting sunburned. But if you reapply every few hours — especially if you’re using a DEET-based product — you run the risk of overexposure to your repellent.

Apply your sunscreen and makeup first, and then spray or rub on your insect repellant, you can still reapply sunscreen throughout the day, over the repellant.

Remember to replace your repellent regularly.

The active ingredient in mosquito repellent won’t expire, but the inactive ingredients — like the fragrance components — will.  You can expect your mosquito repellent to last for about three years, and explained how to tell if it’s gone bad: If you spray it into the air and it smells wrong, throw it out. If you have a cream or gel formulation, and it has changed color or separated (yellow, brown, oily, watery) or the texture is off, throw it out. If the bottle is rusted over, throw it out.

A reputable active ingredient should be effective across the globe.

Many mosquito repellents will advertise protection against Zika or West Nile virus on their packaging, but any repellent that uses a CDC-recommended active ingredient should be effective on the majority of mosquitoes, regardless of strain or location.

You will want to up your active ingredient percentage if you’re traveling to a high-risk area, though. If you are going to a tropical location, it is recommended to use at least a 20 percent product.  A 15 percent concentration can put you at risk for mosquito bites, in turn putting you at risk for diseases like malaria, dengue fever and Zika virus.

Repellents can be harsh on some specialty fabrics.

You aren’t supposed to apply topical mosquito repellent to clothing (just skin), but bug sprays are unlikely to damage common fabrics, like denim, cotton, or nylon. Mosquito repellent users sometimes complain about damage to Lycra and Gore-Tex, however — fabrics that can show up in athleisure and hiking gear.

If you’re worried about ruining expensive fabrics, try a wipe rather than a spray. This makes it a little easier to control your application. And unless you really need it, consider leaving the Spandex at home. Looser garments are best; mosquitos will bite right through spandex yoga pants.

Avoid attracting mosquitoes to your home.

Don’t make your backyard a mosquito haven. Removing standing water from property is one of the most important actions people can take, as it eliminates breeding sites of mosquitoes. Mosquito Squad suggests eliminating yard trash (think twigs, leaves, grass clippings) because they also make popular mosquito breeding areas. She advises homeowners to clean out their gutters; make sure downspouts are aligned properly; and position items like tarps, trash cans, or children’s toys so they don’t collect standing water.

The Best Mosquito Repellents: Summed-Up

Mosquito Repellent Best For…
Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent V Aerosol DEET Spray
Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent VII Pump Top DEET Spray
Off! Deep Woods Towelettes DEET Wipes
Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent Spray Picaridin Spray
Natrapel 8 Hour Insect Repellent Wipes Picaridin Wipes
Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Spray
Credit: Reviews.com
Image: Mosquitonoband.com
Posted in Beach, Europe, Travel

Traveling to Europe during refugee crisis

Being a European I have my heart in Europe, still have friends and family living in different countries. I love traveling there despite the refugee crisis and the travel warnings.  As sad as it is, the warning is not just for a country or two but the entire continent. The following message is posted on the webpage of the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs:

“EUROPE:  Credible information indicates terrorist groups such as ISIL and al-Qa’ida and its affiliates continue to plot near-term attacks in Europe.  All European countries remain vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.

European authorities continue to warn of the possibility of attacks conducted by lone individuals inspired by extremist organizations that could occur with little to no warning.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theaters, open markets, aviation services, transportation systems, and public venues where people congregate.  Authorities believe there is a high likelihood terror attacks in Europe will continue as European members of ISIL return from Syria and Iraq.  European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable.”

In my opinion this crisis started to affect tourism, travelers tend to avoid certain airports and airlines with a higher concentration of Muslim residents or passengers, afraid to take public transportation at night or visit certain cities where rape rate and street disturbance is high.  More and more women are switching to organized tours for safety reasons instead of wondering around alone. I still consider Europe safe as long as you are taking the necessary precautions.

Greece: Yahoo News says that Greece’s island of Lesbos, a popular holiday destination for Europeans and Greeks alike, has found itself at the center of a migration crisis. Tens of thousands of people from the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia have traveled to the country’s eastern Aegean islands this year, using them as a gateway to mainland Greece and from there northward to new lives in more prosperous European Union countries. According to the USA Today vacationing in Greece might not be a completely safe experience but you have a good opportunity to have a great time and not be the victim of a crime. Tourists and vacationers are not usually targeted, but some may find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. In addition, there are terrorism concerns and other crimes that happen regularly.  Greek Landscapes says that the reality is that the Greek people are undergoing considerable hardship in the form of higher taxes and lost benefits, so perhaps a few extra protests and union strikes are expected over the summer of 2016. Solution: Pick any major Greek island further away from Turkey (Santorini, Zakynthos, Corfu, etc) and you won’t see refugees getting out of rafts flooding the beach and streets.

refugee.2

France: I have seen a big drop in hotel room rates in downtown Paris, just booked a deluxe suite in a 4 star hotel in a historic district for only $95 (with taxes) on Christmas day, where standard rooms usually start from $220 (plus taxes) and higher during a holiday season. France, for example, is still the top destination for American tourists, but it had a 10 percent drop in overnight stays through July in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris in November and in Nice last month, The Independent reported.  Street were vandalized and heavily littered with trash and personal belongings of the refugees.

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Belgium: According to Telegraph the Belgian Crisis Center said the threat level for Brussels is 4, meaning a “serious and imminent threat”, whereas the rest of the country is at 3. You should consider factoring in extra time for your journey due to increased security measures in place at UK ports, borders and airports.  A “Tent City” was set-up in downtown parks which is an eyesore for any tourist.

tent city

Daytime prayers are common in many European cities, you are not to disturb them.

london.2

 

belga

 

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Sweden and Germany: According to News.com Germany, Sweden and other European countries are facing growing public unrest amid a wave of reports of sexual assaults since the Cologne attacks. New York-based conservative think tank Gatestone Institute has compiled a  shocking list of sexual assaults and rapes by migrants in Germany in just the first two months of the year.  Drawing only from German media reports, the list documents more than 160 instances of rape and sexual assault committed by migrants in train stations, swimming pool and other public places against victims as young as seven.

If you are taking a train don’t be surprised if you come across with police searching for migrants.

Lot of locals are marching against refugees blocking main roads and near government buildings.

germany

Turkey: Turkey Travel Planner reported several terrorist attacks in recent months and the July 15, 2016 attempt by elements of the Turkish armed forces at a coup d’état have rightly frightened potential visitors to Turkey.  On July 21st, the Turkish government declared a State of Emergency in the country, giving the president and other top leaders extraordinary powers. The State of Emergency is apparently to last at least three months.

According to travel experts only a small percentage of travelers cancelled their trips, a bigger percentage rather switched their destinations and paid the modification fee, which is a significant amount for European tickets. Instead of going to Turkey or Greece, tourists tend to pick Italy, Spain and Portugal, which have a similar climate but are considered safer.

Airfare is also lower than normal but keep in mind the commercial airlines are also trying to compete with European low cost carriers.

Images: theparkmanpost, Slate.com, drsunilgupta.com, tvn24.pl, wvtf.org, telesurtv.net, vestnikkavkaza.net, britanfirst.org, shoebat.com, thinkinghousewife.com. telegraph.co.uk, London Media Press Ltd

 

Posted in Beach, Outdoors, Travel, Turkey

A gem of the Aegean Sea in Turkey – Fethiye Beach, Oludeniz

Fethiye.2.jpg

Turkey is one of the destinations where you can do it all on a budget.  The weather is nice all year around, winter is mild on the south; food is great but it tastes even better with life music 😉  The closest airport to Ölüdeniz  is Dalaman but if you are looking for an international airport, pick Istanbul and rent a car because you are looking at 808 kilometers, which takes about 9 hours and 15 minutes (without stops).  For your information Ankara is about 7 and 1/ 2 hours away. I drove to  Ölüdeniz via Troja, Izmir and Denizli spending a night on each location but it was more scenic that way.

Ölüdeniz means Dead Sea due to its calm waters even during storms; the official translation is Blue Lagoon, is a small village and beach resort in the Fethiye district of Muğla Province, on the Turquoise Coast of southwestern Turkey, at the conjunction point of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. It is located 14 km (9 mi) to the south of Fethiye, near Mount Babadağ.

Ölüdeniz remains one of the most photographed beaches on the MediterraneanIt has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon.The beach itself is a pebble beach. The lagoon is a national nature reserve and construction is strictly prohibited. The seawater of Ölüdeniz is famous for its shades of turquoise and aquamarine, while its beach is an official Blue Flag beach, frequently rated among the top 5 beaches in the world by travelers and tourism journals alike.

Other known beach areas are Kusadasi and Bodrum.

Ölüdeniz is also famous for its paragliding opportunities. It is regarded as one of the best places in the world to paraglide due to its unique panoramic views, and Mount Babadağ’s exceptional height. Breathtaking panorama and stable weather conditions make launch site at Babadag Mountain the best in Europe.

I can’t describe with words how magnificent  Ölüdeniz  is so let me just post a video I found on Facebook by The World but I also took photographs last November.

Sources: The World, Wikipedia

Images: clickstay, Pinterest