This blog post was updated on October 23, 2018.
You know you have a bed bug fear when you have nightmares at times about the pesky hotel, hostel and innocent bed and breakfast guests. Sadly, I do dream of bed bugs, only because I have successfully avoided them on my travels. The problem is they are always there, lurking on my next stop and yours too. If you want to make sure bed bugs don’t bite you on your next trip, here are a few steps to take.
Step One—Read reviews and bed bug sites for properties with the critters: You can avoid booking a place with bed bugs by checking out reviews and sites that list recent incidents of bed bugs. BedBugRegistry.com is a popular site for recent listings at accommodations. One thing to keep in mind, bed bugs travel and they travel quickly. You might book a place without bed bugs listed in any reviews or registries, only to find them behind your pillow.
Step Two—Immediately place luggage on rack and away from bed: I place my luggage off of the floor and on to a luggage stand the minute I enter my room. Many experts also say to keep your luggage as far away as possible from the bed, chairs, etc. One stop the bed bugs don’t seem to enjoy is the bathroom, so if you are really worried, you can place your luggage in the bathroom.
Step Three—Check room for signs of infestation: While you might just want to collapse on your hostel’s bunk bed after a long travel day, don’t. You should first check to see if your room has a bed bug infestation. Bed bug battlers say to pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress, specifically at the corners. Look out for stains, spots or the bugs themselves. They are usually reddish-brown in color. You will also want to look behind the headboard and bedside table for the critters.
Step Four—Pack garbage bags just in case: After surveying the situation in step three, you might have discovered the bugs or you might be good to go. If you think you will still have nightmares about the critters, consider packing garbage bags just in case. You can cover your bags to avoid bringing bed bugs to your next destination. If your room does have an infestation and you didn’t notice in time, you probably have a case of the bed bugs. Garbage bags can help you isolate the clothes or other items that may have been in contact with the bugs.
Step Five—Notify management, move rooms or change accommodations: If you do find bed bugs, you will want to speak with management. While you might just want to get out of the hotel, you can only further the problem by not saying anything to those who run the place. If you are comfortable staying at the same establishment, ask for another room far away from your old one. If you don’t think you will be sleeping at night even in the same hotel, change accommodations altogether.
Step Six—Wash clothes and other items and be cautious outside of hotel rooms: If you were the victim of bed bugs, be sure to wash all of your items you packed with you heavily and on high heat. Also it is important to know that bed bugs aren’t just fans of hotel rooms. They also enjoy the floors of airplanes, buses, trains, taxis and even retail stores. Always be careful of what items you are tossing on the floors of these common spaces. It’s also a good idea to just cover them up with garbage bags as a precaution.
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