Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the last thing you need to worry about is bed bugs. Unfortunately, bed bugs are commonly spread through travel-based circumstances. It’s always important to inspect not only your hotel room but also your luggage when you return home to avoid an infestation in your home. While there are very few laws specifically addressing bed bugs, hotels have a responsibility to keep you safe under common law. Even the cleanest, most expensive hotels may have bed bugs, so it’s best to educate and protect yourself. (Michael, 2020)
Even though it’s somewhat of a myth that bed bugs infest every single hotel, it’s still important to stay vigilant. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of and can go unnoticed for some time as the infestation becomes worse. (Travel Tips, USA)
How to Find Out If Your Hotel Has Bed Bugs
Research the Bed Bug Registry, a site that collects reports of bed bugs from hotel guests. The Registry allows you to look up a hotel—or even all hotels in a given city—and see where guests have reported encounters with bed bugs in a hotel or motel nearby. (Bed Bug Registry)
In case your hotel is listed in the Bed Bug Registry, don’t panic. Pay attention to the date of the last report of bed bugs. The hotel may have cleared up the problem. You can also check review websites like TripAdvisor to see if anyone has recently reported bed bugs at a hotel.
If you stumble across anything that indicates the presence of bed bugs, call the hotel and inquire about the situation before booking. (Bed Bugs UMN, 2016)
Tips to Avoid Bed Bugs in Hotels
When you check in to your hotel, it’s best to never assume your room is free of bed bugs. There are several helpful bed bug avoidance tips to take into consideration such as:
- Check out your room. When you get into your hotel room, pull back the sheets, and inspect the corners of the mattress seams for signs of bugs. If you notice anything, it’s important to inform the staff or hotel manager directly.
- Don’t unpack immediately post check-in. Check out other areas in the room, such as the headboard or an accent chair, for bed bugs. Just because they aren’t on the mattress doesn’t mean they’re not elsewhere.
Though these prevention tips may seem over-the-top, you’ll surely regret not looking for bed bugs. Hotels take bed bugs very seriously and will of course accommodate your requests for a new room as soon as you escalate the same to them.
Traveling requires you to pass through airports, hotel lobbies, hotel rooms, and more with your luggage, meaning you’re coming in contact with a lot of heavily trafficked areas. Just as it’s important to stay vigilant about checking for bed bugs at your hotel, it’s equally if not more essential to inspect your luggage once you return home. (Best Health Mag, 2019)
Some tips to keep your luggage bed bug-free include:
- Consider placing your luggage in a plastic trash bag or other plastic covering while it is sitting in your hotel room.
- When you arrive home, inspect your suitcases outdoors before bringing them inside. Once you unpack, use a vacuum to clean out the interior of the bag. Garment steamers also work well to kill any bugs or eggs inside.
- Wash all your unpacked clothes, worn or not worn, in a hot water cycle before putting them away in your dresser or closet.
How to Treat Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs typically bite people at night, and they leave small red welts, usually clustered in one area, that eventually becomes inflamed and itchy. Sometimes it takes a few days for the bites to show, and some people might not show any symptoms at all. If you get bit, you can soothe the irritation the same way you would do for a mosquito bite—use anti-itch creams, take antihistamines, or apply ice. (Keating 2019)
“Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite”
As children, we may have heard this funny saying when being tucked into bed by a loved one at night and wondered what bedbugs were. It sounded like something no one would want to encounter. Bed bugs are real, and it is up to us to be consciously aware of what they are and how they travel from traveler to traveler hitching rides in suitcases and clothing. We’re here to help you stay informed and keep bed bugs from becoming passengers in your bedding and clothing as you travel.
Michael, Christopher. “Hotel Obligations for Bed Bugs.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 24 Aug. 2020. https://traveltips.usatoday.com/hotel-obligations-bed-bugs-111657.html
Scarantino, Drew. “5 Myths about Bedbugs, Busted.” N.p., 01 Jan. 2019. Web. 20 Aug. 2020.https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/health/5-myths-about-bedbugs-busted/
“Bed Bug Registry-Check Apartments and Hotels Across America.” Bed Bug Registry-Check Apartments and Hotels Across America. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2020. https://bedbugregistry.com/
Michael, Christopher. “Hotel Obligations for Bed Bugs.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 20 Aug. 2020. https://traveltips.usatoday.com/hotel-obligations-bed-bugs-111657.html
Keating, Charlyn. “How to Deal With Creepy Crawly Bed Bugs in a Hotel Room. ”TripSavvy.” N.p., 15 Apr. 2019. Web. 24 Aug. 2020. https://www.tripsavvy.com/bed-bugs-in-a-hotel-room-4082419