This blog post was updated on November 2, 2018.
I am an obsessive bed bug checker whenever I step into my accommodations on the road. I check beneath the mattress seams. I scan the curtains to see if something is crawling around. I even check nightstands and headboards just to be sure. And it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that my bed bug check actually produced a real live bed bug. Most savvy travelers know how to avoid bed bug properties. If you read reviews that a hotel or hostel has bed bugs, you can always book elsewhere. You can come prepared knowing where to look for the critters. However, sometimes in the chaos of the moment of actually discovering bed bugs at your accommodations, you might not know how to proceed. As I faced this issue a few weeks ago in Greece, here are the measures I took after the bed bugs attacked.
Confirm You Have Found Bed Bugs: I had often heard that bed bugs were so small that travelers often don’t see them. However, after seeing a bed bug scurry up my hotel’s curtain, squashing it and examining it, I realized bed bugs are in fact big enough to see. If you spot something crawling in your hotel, you need to first confirm it is a bed bug. As I had Wi-Fi, I could pull up photographs and articles detailing just what a bed bug looked like. My bug fit the bill. Once you can determine that you are staying in a hotel with bed bugs, you can then take proper action. You would hate to switch hotels and burn all your clothes over a beetle or a spider.
Move Your Luggage Into The Bathroom: Once I determined that I had found a bed bug, I promptly moved all of my luggage into the bathroom. While you can’t guarantee that a bed bug won’t wander into the bathroom, the bathroom is devoid of most linens that bed bugs enjoy hiding within, just waiting for an unsuspecting traveler.
Get Out of There: You shouldn’t just wait out a bed bug situation. Once you find the pesky guests, it is best to switch accommodations. The longer you stay in a bed bug infested room, the more likely you will become a carrier from hotel to hotel. If you spot a bed bug, explain to your hosts your concern and check out. Some hoteliers might not believe your claim and resist giving you a refund. To avoid these scenarios, take photographs of any evidence you have found in the room to prove your case for leaving.
Isolate Exposed Items and Head For a Laundromat: While I only spotted one bed bug at my accommodations, I did fear that others had jumped on my clothes and luggage. To avoid a full-blown bed bug attack, I separated any items that may have come in contact with the buggy room. After placing those items in a plastic bag, I had them laundered as quickly as possible. To kill off bed bugs, many experts say to wash clothes in hot water or at least dry clothes in hot heat. If you don’t want to go on a shopping spree while on vacation, it is best to head to a laundromat the first chance you get.
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