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The Biggest Mistake of Cruising: Forgetting Bug Spray

Sarah has been on six cruises in less than six months and has cruised with Carnival, MSC, and Royal Caribbean.

The Importance of Using Bug Spray

In a previous article, I talked about the top tips for first-time cruisers and in this article, I discussed feeling prepared with all your medication. Something I didn't talk about was the importance of bug spray. When traveling to the islands and parts of the jungle or forest, you're going to a place that isn't like a normal first-world country. Most of the time, these places aren't as developed or they're in the process of developing so keeping bugs away using pesticides or bug spray isn't common there. Therefore, there are a lot more bugs there than in places like the United States or in Europe.

Also, the bugs in these places aren't the same bugs as you're used to encountering in the United States so this could trigger an allergic reaction. Most people aren't aware of being allergic to a bite or sting from a bug until they encounter them and at this point, it can be too late. Even though there is a medical team on board the ship, it's still not ideal to have something happen to you while you're on vacation. It would be much better to prevent this from happening in the first place to ensure that you will have a pleasant and relaxing vacation at your destinations.

The bugs might also be more attracted to you since you're a tourist and you smell differently than the locals. Therefore, you should always spray bug spray on your clothing and bags before leaving the ship if you're going somewhere that isn't a large developed city. Sometimes you might not need it but it's good to be prepared just in case.


My Experience

I've now had two experiences where I left the ship and forgot to put bug spray and this was a huge mistake. The first time was when I was going to the Mayan Ruins close to Costa Maya, Mexico. The ruins were inside a small jungle and there were more bugs there than I expected. I knew it would be hot in Mexico so I wore a t-shirt and shorts that day. Unfortunately, this also made me more vulnerable to being bitten by the bugs in the area. When I got back to the ship, I realized I had a few bites on my legs and a couple on my arms. On this trip, we also forgot to bring anti-itching cream so the next day when we stopped in Cozumel, I had to find a shop that sold anti-itching cream. Thankfully, these things are very cheap in Mexico so I was able to buy a tube of anti-itching cream very cheaply. Also, there were a lot of shops selling this product in the downtown area.

The second time this happened was on my most recent cruise. We stopped at Princess Cays which is one of Carnival's private islands. Since it's a private island, I never really thought about the possibility of bug bites. I put on a lot of sunscreen so that I could go into the water and wore a swimsuit. Therefore, I should've been prepared for the day. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and sometime during the day, I got a lot of bug bites. The next day I counted about 40 or 50 bug bites in total all over my body. My legs and arms were covered in bug bites and I got a few on my feet too since I was wearing flip flops. Depending on the type of bug that bites me, some of my bug bites get really big. I think I might be allergic to certain bugs because my bug bites swell up a lot compared to other people when they get bug bites.

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The night after I could barely sleep from how much the bug bites itched even though I had put anti-itching cream on them. I'm not sure if other cruisers also got bug bites at Princess Cays or not but my husband who was with me all day got a lot of bug bites too. I learned my lesson and now I will always put bug spray on my clothing and bags before I go out to the islands. I hope next time this won't happen again.

© 2022 Sarah Wong

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