There’s nothing quite like traveling. Whether for work or pleasure, you get to see new places, meet new people, and experience a different part of the world. As anyone who’s ever left home knows, traveling demands preparation. You need to prepare for and pack proper clothing, bathroom supplies, and other necessities that may not be available where you’re heading.
While traveling can be exciting it can also put you at risk of exposure to bed bugs. In fact, bed bug infestations have been on the rise across the globe since the early 2000s. That means you need to prepare for bed bugs as well.
Here, we’ll examine how you can prevent getting bed bugs when staying in hotels and short-term private rentals and how to eliminate them if you do get exposed.
If you’re staying in a hotel or staying in a rental by owner property it’s a good idea to carefully read the reviews. Travel sites often include traveler reviews of properties and you can even check the bed bug registry to see if your location is listed.
Of course, these reviews should be read with a grain of salt as disgruntled travelers may leave inaccurate reviews in an attempt to damage a hotel’s reputation. What’s more, reputable hotels will immediately deal with bed bugs. However, reviews and registries will give you a good idea about the probability of infestation.
Inspect Your Bed
When you arrive in your room it’s a good idea to give your bed a quick inspection. Pull back the sheets and move the mattress away from the wall or headboard. This is where bed bugs are most visible. Bed bugs are about the size, shape, and color of an apple seed. If you see small black dots that look like pepper, this can be a sign of bed bugs. If you notice anything that seems suspicious immediately contact the staff to have them inspect it or request to be moved to another room.
Inspect The Room
Just because they’re called bed bugs doesn’t mean they don’t live elsewhere. Bed bugs are most often found within 15 feet of the bed. That means they may be in chairs, couches, drawers, or closets close to the bed. Before you begin unpacking, it’s a good idea to search in seams or in between cushions before you hang clothes or put them in drawers.
Use The Bathroom
The bathroom is the least likely place to find bed bugs. While you’re inspecting your room, it’s a good idea to stash your luggage in the bathroom. The tile and lack of soft, warm hiding spaces make it unlikely for there to be bed bugs in the bathroom. That makes it the perfect holding space for your bags while you give your room a once over.
Don’t just throw your luggage on the room luggage rack either. These can be hotspots for bed bugs. Leave your luggage in the bathroom to greatly reduce the risk of getting bed bugs.
What to Do When You Get Home
Once you return home from travel, it’s a good idea to use a professional bed bug treatment to ensure you don’t infect your home. If you’re concerned about bed bugs, you shouldn’t bring your luggage into your home. Use a treatment on your luggage and leave it outside or in the garage.
You can vacuum your luggage as well, but ensure you immediately dump and clean your vacuum cleaner so you don’t accidentally transfer bed bugs from your vacuum into your home.
Wash Your Clothing
Likewise, you should immediately wash all your clothing and another travel laundry in hot water. Bed bugs don’t typically survive temperatures above 122º, so you should wash hot and tumble dry for at least 30 minutes. Dry cleaning your delicates will also ensure you eliminate any eggs or infestations.
Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite
Bed bugs have been found in all 50 states, in all types of rooms—from four-star resorts to privately owned rental properties. Look for telltale signs of bed bugs when entering your room and maintain vigilance to ensure you avoid getting bed bugs when traveling.
Author: Seth Thompson