The hat I usually took with me when traveling was an old baseball hat.
It was “broken in,” fit me well, packed well (I usually put socks inside it in my bag to save on space), and would keep the sun out of my eyes.
It served it the purpose I needed.
The baseball hat provided shade, looked decent, and covered up a bad hair day.
These are all important qualities in a hat.
But sometimes when you are spending a lot of time on a boat, in the rain forest, on the beach in the sun, hiking in the desert, or somewhere with lots of bugs and mosquitoes, you need something better than a baseball hat.
Here are the best travel hats for bug protection, sun, wide brim and more, based on hats in various categories.
After getting attacked with bugs on our visit to the southeastern states, we made it our mission to never leave for a trip or even a day hike without a hat to keep the bugs away.
Here are two of our favorites.
Best travel hats for bug protection
These mosquito protection hats really do help keep the bugs away:
Olymstore Camouflage hat – This Olymstore(TM) 2pcs Camouflage Beekeeping hat is so affordable, I couldn’t believe the price was for two of them.
And I sure wasn’t sure what to expect after I ordered them.
Yet, they proved to do the job and then some.
My hat was great at keeping the mosquitoes away from my neck — where I’m usually bitten — during my evening hiking excursions.
I used it during the day another time and had rolled up the netting.
It was there if I needed it.
This is great for using during fishing, camping, hiking, gardening, and more.
It provided excellent protection from mosquitoes and works great to prevent bees, pesky gnats and no-see-ums too.
ExOfficio BugsAway Mesh Cape Hat – This comes in two sizes so this hat is great for older kids as well as adults.
It’s made from nylon.
The mesh part detaches.
It doesn’t completely cover your face but what’s nice is that it snaps in front so it covers better and won’t flap around.
It’s so important to protect against mosquitoes, especially when traveling to other countries.
Best Sun Hats: Wide Brim and Beach Hats
We love spending time in the sun.
The best travel hats for sun protection include those that have wide brims or special neck coverings to keep the sun as much off your face and neck as possible.
I’ve also included beach hats here:
Tilley Hats (and Tilley style hats)
These hats are all in Tilley brand hats or in the traditional Tilley style.
They have wide brims, tend to be breathable, and come backed with a brand name that says:
This is an awesome hat – so awesome that we guarantee it for life.
Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat
This Tilley travel hat floats if it falls in the water, offers 50 SPF protection, fits with a cord under your chin (for high winds or high speed boat rides), and comes with Tilley’s lifetime guarantee.
Tilley also offers an aviator hat, a Tilley Winter hat, and a Tilley Hemp hat.
Tilley look-alike travel hats
They look much like the Tilley hats, but are cheaper in price.
They generally do not offer the same breathability as Tilley’s hat, but they are usually similar in style.
You may find some imitation brands that snap on both sides to keep the flaps up if you want them up instead of down.
Crushable Travel Hats
These crushable travel hats allow you to fold up or roll up the hat so that it doesn’t get crushed or wrinkled in your suit case while you are traveling.
Our top picks include:
Best travel hats for bug protection wherever you are going
It is so important to wear a hat, even if you don’t particularly like wearing them.
There are best travel hats for wherever you are going.
Remember to pack one or two on your trip as the right kind of hat for your journey can be more effective than sunscreen alone to shield you from the sun’s harmful rays.
And who knew there were hats to keep the mosquitoes away.
Even if you think you don’t need one or won’t wear it, pack a hat before leave for your trip.
You just might find it comes in handy.
Natural Mosquito Repellent Ideas ~ Plants and Other Tips
As a child in the 1970’s in the Chicago area, I remember going inside and watching from my living room when the mosquito control truck would go down our street spraying chemicals to prevent mosquitoes.
Even then we knew those chemicals couldn’t be good for us to breathe in but we didn’t have many natural mosquito repellent choices.
We sprayed Off! from aerosol cans and enjoyed our evenings.
Wearing a hat seemed to help keeping them away from my head.
I haven’t seen those trucks in decades but they have to exist as without them in some areas, there would be even worse mosquito population problems.
Increases in mosquito populations cause devastating public health issues, including increases in Malaria, West Nile, Lyme Disease, Yellow fever, Dengue fever, Encephalitis viruses, and more.
There become more problems for livestock and wildlife as well.
So many mosquitoes
Did you know that in the US there are over 176 types of mosquitoes and over 3,000 types in the world?
No matter what area of the country or world you’re in, chances are you may be plagued by these pesky creatures.
And if you’re like me, to ward them off you typically reach for mosquito repellent sprays or creams which are all basically chemicals.
Traditional Deet-filled mosquito repellent is far from natural.
Thankfully, there are preventative measures you can take.
There are even plants that repel mosquitoes.
They either work by planting them in your garden or by taking a bit of the plant and releasing some of the scents.
Natural mosquito repellent ideas
Whether or not it’s the season for mosquitoes, it is always a good time to think about keeping mosquitoes away from your property.
There are easy chemical-free steps you can take to ward them off, especially if you live in an area where it doesn’t get below freezing often enough to control their populations.
Remove standing water from around your home
You can do this by ensuring you don’t have empty buckets or flower pots collecting water.
You can also take a broom to “sweep away” standing water in low spots on your driveway or patio.
Make sure your garbage cans are always closed.
Clean out your gutters
Dried and decaying leaves, damp twigs and water are the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Rake and remove leaves
Damp and decaying leaves blow around your yard and often bunch up under bushes, at the base of trees and fences, and around your house.
Though unsightly for my neighbors, I always thought a few little piles were okay and even good; I thought they would break down and enrich the soil.
Now I know while they may be good for the earth, removing them eliminates mosquitoes from living and breeding there.
Avoid being out at sunrise or sunset
Especially in the hot summer months, these are times when you are most likely wanting to be outside; however, this is the time when mosquitoes are most active.
More natural mosquito repellent ideas
Hang a bat box
When we lived in Indianapolis and in Tucson, we saw lots of bats — probably because there were lots of mosquitoes!
We bought bat boxes to encourage them to fly around and feast in our yard.
Hang bird feeders and man made nesting boxes
Some birds, like swallows, eat mosquitoes so do what you can to encourage these animals to live near your home.
Bird feeders, man-made nesting boxes, and bird baths are helpful.
However, if you use a bird bath be sure to empty and clean it frequently because mosquitoes will breed in the water.
Plant mosquito repellent plants
This is a controversial topic as most research points to the mosquito-repelling benefits only when you rub the leaves on your skin.
It is important before doing this that you test a small amount on a small section of your skin for a few days to ensure you are not allergic.
Mosquito repelling plants
Here are some mosquito repelling plants that have been known to help:
- Clove oil
- Citronella Grass: Use the oil from Citronella. Ensure the plant you’re buying is not just a “Citronella Plant,” “Citronella Geranium,” or “Mosquito Plant” as these are different varieties and while they may smell similar to Citronella, they are far less effective.
- Catnip: Reported to be up to 10 times more effective than DEET
- Lemon Grass
- Neem Trees
- Lemon balm (a great alternative to Citronella)
- Lemon Thyme (studies show this is about 60 percent effective as DEET)
- Tea tree
Not all of this mosquito repellent plants grow in all climates.
Check with your local nursery to find the plants that grow best in your area.
In order for these mosquito repelling plants to be most effective, plant them in potted plants around your patio area.
When you’re sitting outside and the mosquitoes are especially bad, break off a piece of plant that repels mosquitoes.
Crush it, and rub the oils on your pulse points.
How to prevent mosquitoes
Citronella oil to repel mosquitoes
The plants that contain the citronella oil in them may deter mosquitoes.
However, it is mostly when you crush the leaves and rub them directly on your skin.
There is also citronella oil that you can purchase online or at health retailers.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) when used correctly, mosquito repellents that have DEET or picaridin are safe for adults and children over 2 months.
Still, many mosquito repellents are in spray form.
These are bad because we inhale them.
Also, if they are aerosol and not pump bottles, they contribute to ozone depletion.
We’re also busy slathering sunscreen on ourselves during these mosquito prevalent months.
There are a lot of chemicals being absorbed through our skin.
While there are many ways to prevent against mosquitoes, it seems some people attract mosquitoes than others.
When we lived in the Midwest, my elementary-aged son was what our family calls, a Mosquito Magnet.
Since moving to Tucson, I have been given that distinction.
Even better than repelling mosquitoes is preventing them.
Do what you can with natural mosquito repellent ideas to prevent mosquitoes.
It’s so important to control mosquitoes.
Remove standing water and have a few plants potted in your backyard.
You may be on your way to a DEET and mosquito-free spring through fall!
Sun Safety for Kids Tips from Safe Sunblock to SPF Clothing
It’s the summer vacation season, and whether you’re traveling or staying at home, sun safety for kids is a must.
In addition to buying new sunblock for your family every year, it’s important to ensure you apply it often and in ample quantity.
Read on for lists and picks of safe sunblock for kids, plus sun protectant wear for everyone in your family.
Choose a Safe Sunblock
With hundreds of sunblock brands to choose from, how to know which are best for the environment and your skin?
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) does the work for us, annually testing top sunblock brands to bring consumers environmentally safe picks.
The best sunscreens protect skin from UVB (sunburn) and UVA (skin cancer) rays, score a low hazard rating, and are rated at 30-45 SPF (higher is usually meaningless).
If you want to dig deeper, 21 safe sunscreen winners are listed by the Organic Authority, as well as the best kid-friendly sunscreens from Delicious Baby.
Our own top three choices for active travel, travel with kids, and all-purpose use all rate highly assafe sunscreens:
All Terrain AquaSport:
All Terrain is all-natural, oxybenzone-free, and includes a skin protectant to protect from drying effects of the sun.
It comes in a convenient, non-greasy stick ($10.30) for active travelers.
EWG safety score: 1 out of 10 (the best possible score).
Badger has long been a trusted name in natural sunscreens.
Badger is thicker than many mainstream sunscreens and provides excellent protection for you little one’s skin.
It’s a little pricey, but it goes a long way.
EWG safety score: 1 out of 10 (one is the best score).
Kiss My Face:
Kiss my Face products, including their lip balm and sunscreens, are made with organic beeswax or hydresia and no artificial colors.
Plus, they’re vegan-friendly and use no animal testing.
It’s more economical than some other options.
EWG safety score: 2 out of 10.
If you have some sunscreen at home that isn’t expired, check it on the Good Guide to see its safety rating.
Make Your Own Sunscreen
Not sure you trust any brand to make truly beneficial sunscreen, or can’t afford the expense?
Make your own sunscreen utilizing any of the many Pinterest recipes below.
In general, most standard sunscreen recipes call for the following:
- coconut oil
- cocoa butter
- aloe vera gel
- zinc oxide powder
Opt for SPF Clothing
Over the years of wrestling kids to wear sunscreen and remembering to wear (and reapply!) it myself, I’ve found the best sun protection is in clothing.
Make sure you pack a sun hat and sun protective clothing in your bag along with sunscreen before a day outdoors in summer.
The three brands below are my favorite for sun protective clothing for women, kids, and everyone!
Athleta’s line of sun shirts and cover-ups for women are sporty, so they won’t hamper your active vacation or day out.
In other words, these are not decorative cover-ups meant only to make a fashion statement or cover where swimsuits don’t.
They are lightweight, playful, and do double-duty as shirts and dresses to eat out in or do some shopping in should you be traveling.
Sun protective clothing:
I love Sun Protection line of sun and swim wear that blocks 98% of UV rays, because they offer them in sizes from baby to adult for both genders.
Gone are the days of baggy, ugly sun protective wear: these items are fitted and fun but still get the job done.
This line of sun-protection clothing for men, women, and kids boasts wide-brimmed hats, sun shirts, and swim wear.
A ground-breaker in sun protection, Sunday Afternoons has been around since the beginning of sun protection awareness.
Remember the sunglasses!
Sun protection for your eyes is crucial, and is often overlooked for kids.
If you have kids who resist wearing sunglasses, try fitted pairs with elastic straps, soft frames, or foregoing sunglasses in favor of wide-brimmed hats.
My kids refused sunglasses until well into their school-aged years, and we relied completely on hat protection to shade their sensitive eyes.
Keep kids safe while in the sun
Sun safety for kids, even on days that don’t seem hot, is essential.
How to keep kids safe while in the sun is easy with some precautions.
It’s always a good time to review the measures you take for sun protection.
With these tips for sun safety for kids as well as adults, you can arm yourself with sunscreens and protective wear.