I’ve just arrived in Jamaica and am absolutely aching to swap my jeans for shorts and my sneakers for flip flops and enjoy the warm weather. My room at the Round Hill Hotel is not ready when I arrive so I head for lunch by the ocean and decide to try an order of savory Jerk tacos. I am at my table no more than 5 minutes when I feel my legs starting to itch. At first it’s a dull itch that merits a lazy scratch every few minutes but soon enough it grows into maniacal scratching as I run to a restroom and count 10 fresh mosquito bites splattered across my calves and thighs. Man, these mosquitos just love me.
I don’t have bug spray (packing mistake #1) nor my go-to Neosporin (packing mistake #2) so I reach for a small amber rock I have tucked away in my bag from an earlier trip in Morocco. I rub the amber all over my arms, legs and thighs to prevent more bug bites. For the itching? I end up using Jamaican white rum. I smell like an odd combination of fragrant amber and alcohol but it works, my itching stops and the mosquitoes go away. It sounds like old wives tales but when I travel I tend to pick up handy little life hacks that have come to my aid on many occasions. It wasn’t until recently did I realize that I’ve picked up quite a few of these nifty hacks; below are 7 natural life hacks I’ve learned while traveling.
White Rum on mosquito bites.
As I said, mosquitoes seem to just love me and when I travel my poor legs will quickly get bitten and become unbearably itchy. While scratching my bites in Jamaica, one of the locals leaned over and recommended rubbing white rum on my bites to stifle the itch. Not one to pass up on any sort of remedy at that given moment, I found some white rum generously rubbed my thighs and calves with the liquor. True, I smelled like an alcoholic at 10 am but amazingly, the intense itching instantly faded away!
Honey for allergies.
I learned this hack in France and have leaned on it ever since. Honey is a natural antihistamine and instead of using pills to sweep away an allergic reaction, I’ll sometimes reach for a spoonful of honey instead. I like this as a healthy (non-drowsy) alternative to some of the over-the-counter drugs sold. It goes without saying though, if you are having a severe allergy attack please do more than reach for honey!
Amber as a mosquito repellent.
If you haven’t caught on yet, I hate mosquitoes and am always looking for ways to prevent the nasty buggers from eating my legs alive and covering me in a splatter of itchy, red bites. While in Marrakesh, I picked up a block of amber, which is a natural hack and replacement for mosquito repellent. It’s a great alternative, smells delicious and just feels healthier than those harsh, chemical repellents.
Ginger for motion sickness.
This is another one I also picked up in Jamaica while on a press trip driving from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios. I was getting woozy and nauseous in the winding car ride and was handed a ginger chew by a fellow journalist to alleviate my motion sickness. I like the taste of ginger so the taste was great and I found this as an awesome alternative to my usual go-to of Dramamine (which I made the mistake of taking later in the trip and was knocked out for the better half of a sunset catamaran cruise).
Lemongrass for stress.
I picked up this hack while roaming through the lush forests of the Caribbean, at Stush in the Bush–a farm-to-table tasting room founded by Chris and Lisa Binns. Lemongrass is incredibly fragrant (you’ll often come across products made with it at spas) and does wonders for stress. You can cook with it, make a tea with it or purchase products made with it to bring this natural hack into your home.
Rosebud for under eye circles.
Another useful trick I picked up from Morocco is the multiple uses for rosebud, one of which is for eye puffiness and under eye circles.
Milk to counteract spicy foods.
An old trick I picked up from a while ago (and has come in handy during my travels) is the use of milk to counteract very spicy food. I figured this was a widely known hack until my boyfriend was sputtering over a particularly spicey meal and was amazed when I recommended he drink milk to stifle the spice. We’ve all had the feeling of a fiery mouth burning from a delicious but spicy meal. We’ll reach for water desperately but find no relief (water spreads the spice) but milk instantly takes away the burning sensation in your mouth and offers some much needed relief.
I will make sure to update this post as I pick up more natural hacks and tricks during my travels! In the meantime, share YOUR best natural life hacks below! I am always keen to learn more tricks.