Planning a Vacation? Bed Bug Prevention Tips for Travelers

When you go on vacation, you look forward to coming home with a tan, photographs, memories, and maybe even a few cheesy mementos. You don’t plan on coming home with a new insect infestation, but it happens often enough that it has become an epidemic.

Bed bugs typically don’t cause disease, but an invasion of bed bugs can be nerve-wracking. Waking up each morning with tiny spots of blood on the sheets from bug bites is traumatizing. There are a few things you can do to avoid bringing home unwanted pets when you go on vacation.

Check reviews – Any mention of bedbugs should be taken seriously. If you have no other options, call the hotel and ask about their bedbug status and when the last time was that a thorough inspection was done. If possible, avoid hotels that have had a problem in the last year. Bed bugs are tough to get rid of and many hotels don’t do it well.

Use a hard-side luggage – Less fabric gives bedbugs less places to hide. It will also make it much easier to inspect your luggage before leaving.

Bring a flashlight – You will want to inspect the room before you settle in. Place your luggage in bathroom and check the room. You’re looking for small blood stains, insects that are about half the size of a grain of rice, or feces that look like black pepper. Look on the mattress, especially in the seams. Also, check the headboard, on the floor near furniture, and in closets. Even if a room hasn’t been occupied for months, bedbugs can still be there. They can live for years without food.

A large trash bag – Once you’ve decided that the room is clean, take your luggage out. Keep your clothes up off the ground. For example, keep everything on the dresser top or in the luggage rack. Place your empty luggage into a plastic bag and seal it up. It will make it harder for the bugs to get into your bags.

Don’t use the dresser – Bedbugs love places where they know they can hitch a ride. The dresser in a hotel is an ideal location.

Check your rental car – Be sure to comb over your rental car, including the trunk, very well. Again, bedbugs are travelers and a rental car is as good a place as any to hang out waiting for a ride.

When you get home…

Don’t go straight in – Bring your luggage in through a garage or straight to the laundry room. Empty everything into a washing machine and wash everything in hot water. This will kill any hitchhikers you might have found.
Go over your luggage – Look in the seams and throughout your luggage for bedbugs. They may be lying in wait for you to bring the luggage into the house.

Be vigilant – The key to keeping bedbugs out of your home after a vacation is to remain vigilant. Don’t take anyone’s word for it that there are no bedbugs. Look for yourself. Don’t tolerate any bedbugs in your hotel room and do everything in your power to kill them if they show up in your possessions.