Tips For Avoiding Bed Bugs While Staying In Hotels
The presence of bed bugs can immediately put an end to a great stay in any hotel. There’s nothing worse than enjoying your vacation or a business trip only to discover that your bed is infested. What’s worse, is that these small insects are sometimes hard to spot with the naked eye, but they can cause a lot of damage and irritation.
We’ve put together a list to help you avoid bed bugs while staying in hotels, because sometimes, even the hotels with the best reviews can end up with infestations.
1. Don’t Unpack Immediately
When you arrive in your room, the temptation is so often to dump your suitcase on the carpet or even the bed so that you can unpack and then run off to explore. Instead of doing this, take your suitcase and any other bags or loose clothing to the bathroom and set them down in the dry, empty tub. Now you have a chance to inspect the soft furnishings of the room before the possibility of the bed bugs getting into your clothes.
2. Know What You’re Looking At
When you’re inspecting a room for bed bugs, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Even adult bed bugs can be quite tricky to spot in a search. They grow to about 3/8 of an inch and can look like dried blood – brownish red. The nymph bed bugs are even smaller and are often translucent, making them even harder to see. However, both adults and nymphs leave behind exoskeletons and little spots of blood that are usually a rust color. They also usually come in little patches of color rather than one-off spots.
3. Bring A Flashlight
A flashlight with a concentrated beam will help you a lot in your search for bed bugs. Use the beam to run over every layer of soft furnishings carefully, as well as shining it into the dark corners or awkward spots on furniture. Something like a credit card can also be helpful to run along surfaces and carefully lift up layers of blankets and cushions.
4. Start With The Bed
As the name suggests, the bed is the most common place to find bed bugs. This is where they’re going to get the most bang for their buck in terms of being able to feed in a hotel room.
Most people will go straight for the mattress to look for bed bugs, but they can be hiding in all of the layers. Inspect every layer of bedding from the top down, and make sure that you peel back each layer carefully, so you don’t risk disturbing the evidence of bed bugs.
It’s also important to check the bed base and the headboard, even if they’re made of a hard surface like wood. Bed bugs can still hide in the corners and crevices of these because they’re close to the bed and convenient.
5. Check All The Soft Furnishings
Once you’re done with the bed, it’s best to check the rest of the room for evidence. The hotel staff may have cleaned the bed really well but may have neglected other areas where bed bugs can lurk.
Anywhere where guests might sit in the room or place their clothing is a prime target for bed bugs. Chairs, sofas, desks, nightstands, clothing racks and suitcase stands should all be thoroughly inspected.
Once you’re done with the furniture, you need to check the curtains, carpet, and mats – including the mats in the bathroom. This is why it’s important to put your luggage in the tub or shower rather than just on the floor.
6. Keep Your Dirty Laundry In A Sealed Plastic Bag
If you’ve been through the whole room and you can’t find any evidence of bed bugs, you can still take a few extra precautions to prevent getting them in your luggage and taking them home. Firstly, your dirty laundry needs to be kept clear of the rest of your clothing and suitcase. Bed bugs are attracted to a scent we give off and they’ll head straight for clothes you’ve already worn.
Instead of just putting your worn clothes in your suitcase to take home, wrap them up in a plastic bag that you can seal. This will go a long way towards stopping bed bugs from getting into them.
7. Store Your Luggage On A Hard Surface
Things like your shoes and jackets that you aren’t going to put in the wash regularly will also be attractive to bed bugs. However, it’s a bit of a pain to wrap those up in plastic bags all the time. Instead, store those on hard, smooth surfaces because bed bugs can’t travel over those. Use a table or luggage rack for your suitcase and put your clothes and shoes into the cupboard.
8. Take The Same Precautions When Traveling Home
When heading home, you should consider wrapping your suitcase or bags up in plastic if you’re driving so that any bed bugs that may have gotten into your luggage aren’t transferred into your car.
When you get home, take a moment to carefully clean your luggage so that it doesn’t end up bringing bed bugs into your home. Start by putting your bags into your own tub or shower and then dealing with everything on hard, smooth surfaces.
Use a handheld vacuum on your shoes and anything you aren’t going to wash. Store dirty clothes in a sealed plastic bag until you can get them into the laundry machine. Make sure to throw anything you can into the dryer because the high heat will kill the bed bugs.
Bed Bugs Don’t Have To Be The End Of A Great Trip
While finding bed bugs in your hotel room is never fun, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your trip. You are well within your rights to ask for a new room in another part of the building. Just remember, the rooms directly next to the one where you found bed bugs very likely have them too.