With holiday travel season approaching, it’s important to know how check for bedbugs in your hotel room, and how to avoid bringing them home from your hotel.
Here are some top tips for protecting yourself from bedbugs before, during and after your trip. Before you book a hotel
Check if your hotel is on a bedbug list.
Bedbug Resistrytracks infested hotels in the United States
Bedbug Reports tracks infested hotels in Europe and Scandanavia
It has nothing to do with the price of a room – each list has everything from budget hotels to pricey luxury hotels.
Currently, the entire city of Paris is infested, which is worrying officials planning for the Olympic Games next summer. Not even public schools or the famous Paris Metro have escaped the bedbugs.
When packing for your trip
Sealable plastic bags are your best protection against bedbugs.
Pack as much as you can inside sealable plastic bags, and keep them inside the sealed bags in your room, to keep any bugs out. That includes your shoes on the floor.
Travel supply companies like Magellans have large sizes of thick, re-uasable sealable plastic bags. Or, save money and use ordinary re-sealable “baggies” from the supermarket.
Protect yourself with anti-bedbug products such as Rest Easy Bed Bug Luggage Spray
Do not put your suitcase on the luggage rack, especially if its one of those carpeted designs atop a low bureau or cabinet.
That’s a top hiding spot for bedbugs, because of all the guest suitcases that have been there in the days and weeks before yours, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Check the headboard and bed covers for signs of creatures. Run a piece of paper behind the headboard to catch any signs — look for black specks that look like pencil shavings, which can be — ick — fecal matter or molten sheddings.
Use a travel-size flashlight to look under the dust ruffle, around the base of the bed, in the corner behind the curtains, in the seams of the easy chair.
Look for brown blotches, the color of dried blood. If in doubt that it could be paint or varnish, rub it with a wet napkin or cloth, suggests RandMcNally. If it dissolves, it’s blood.
If you see any evidence of bedbug infestation, go to the front desk and ask for a change of room. Take your unpacked suitcase with you so they know you are not kidding.
When you return home
Put everything in the dryer on low or medium for at least 15 minutes. Bedbugs can survive the washing machine, but they cannot survive heat.
Some additional resources to find out how to avoid bedbugs at home and on your travels, including products to protect you:
This article was published originally in 2010 and has been updated and republished periodically since.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA), a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and a current member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA).
Contact me at email@example.com.
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter