Ross River Fever, Barmah Forest Virus, Lyme Disease, Dengue Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, and of course, Malaria.
In some parts of our beautiful planet, these are just some of the insect borne diseases that can unfortunately, be a real problem.
When travelling with little ones, having an effective repellent on hand gives you and your family the best possible protection from nasty bites and the risk of insect-carried disease. 

Have you ever looked at all the nasty chemicals in many insect repellents on the market? These chemicals can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin causing toxic accumulation and unseen damage. If it’s keeping the bugs away what is it doing to your body?! Our skin is the largest organ in the body and absorbs more than 80% of what we put on it, so it makes sense to favour natural products - especially when our children are involved.

One of the most common ingredients in normal insect repellent is the chemical DEET. Although DEET has been deemed safe enough to be used on humans, it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness or blistering when applied to the skin. It also has a detrimental effect to wildlife and water sources in production and during use and is actually toxic to birds and aquatic life.

Many natural insect repellents use essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus, lavender, cinnamon, thyme and of course citronella to ward off those pesky bugs.

Our Favourite Natural Insect Repellants

So do natural insect repellents actually work? Yes, they do and we have gathered a list of our favourites to use!

Bug-grrr Off Jungle Strength Formula

   Image via:  Nourished Life

   Image via: Nourished Life

Safe for use on children over the age of 12 months this formula claims to keep you bug-free for up to 6 hours. The handy roll on design will easily fit into most bags, which makes it perfect for travelling! Bug-Grrr Off uses, a modified extract of Australian Lemon Scented Eucalyptus which makes you virtually invisible to insects senses. It also contains Aloe, Chamomile, Green Tea and Cucumber for their calming and soothing effects on the skin.

Vanessa Megan Bug Off My Baby

   Image via:  Nourished Life  

   Image via: Nourished Life 

This formula is great for use on children under the age of 2. Suitable for young skin to ward off bugs - it contains the essential oils of Cedarwood, Tea Tree, Lavender, and Eucalyptus in a gentle, all natural hydrating base. It’s a slightly milder version of the Vanessa Megan Bug Off Me. It’s roll on formula is perfect for travelling with little ones!

Don’t Bug Me Insect Repellent Serum by Don Tolman

      Image via:  Don Tolman International  

      Image via: Don Tolman International 

Don Tolman's Don’t Bug Me natural insect repellent is a safe alternative to chemically-laced, commercial bug and insect sprays to keep little critters at bay when you're outside. The nourishing, herbal blend of pure essential oils and nature-sourced ingredients aims to make your skin virtually undetectable to mosquitoes, sand flies and other pesky bugs. For use on children under 2, dilute 50:50 with Don Tolman’s Divine Body Butter.

Vanilla Mozi Skin Cream

                  Image via:  Vanilla Mozi

                  Image via: Vanilla Mozi

Vanilla Mozi ‘Skin Cream’ is that it was created for children and babies. It’s so gentle that it can be used on your baby’s face. This formula lasts for 2 hours and comes in a few different sizes, perfect for travel! With it’s amazing Vanilla Scent and creamy texture your kids will love it too!

Homemade Insect Repellant

Natural repellants can also be made inexpensively and naturally at home. We love this recipe from One Essential Community:

To a small spray bottle add…

60 mls of witch hazel (This doesn’t need to be exact. I just eyeball it by filling the bottle a little less than half full)

60 mls of distilled water (again, I eyeball it and fill the bottle most of the way full, but leave room for the essential oils and the spray top)

Essential oil:

- 20-25 drops for kids age 3+

- 40-50 drops for adults and kids age 10+

(that might sound like a lot of essential oil, but keep in mind that this recipe makes fills a whole spray bottle)

Tips for using

  • oils and water don’t mix, so be sure to shake the bug spray before you use it

  • avoid spraying on face

  • avoid touching eyes and mouth if you have bug spray on your fingers

  • for young kids under 2, spray onto their clothes (and not on their skin)

  • apply as often as you need it

The best Kid Safe Essential Oil Blends for Bug Sprays (for kids age 3+)

10 drops lavender + 10 drops citronella

8 drops lavender + 5 drops geranium + 7 drops cedarwood

10 drops lemon eucalyptus + 10 drops lavender

5 drops lavender + 5 drops geranium + 2 drops patchouli + 8 drops spearmint

5 drops geranium + 5 drops citronella + 2 drops patchouli + 3 drops lemon eucalyptus + 3 drops lavender + 3 drops spearmint

10 drops citronella + 5 drops lemon eucalyptus + 3 drops patchouli + 3 drops lavender

Do you have any homemade natural insect repellent recipes that you use or a favourite essential oil blend for keeping the bugs away?

Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Happy Healthy Travels!

** Healthy Kids Travel has no affiliation with any of the named products.