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Everyone wants to avoid bed bugs when traveling because those critters are a nightmare. Doing thorough research into your accommodation, while important, may not be enough.
Use these smart tips, along with your research, to steer clear of encounters as best you can. Nothing is foolproof, but being as prepared as possible gives you the best chance of avoiding bed bugs.
Research Hotels on the Bed Bug Registry
Before you book a hotel, check to see if the one you’re considering staying in is on the Bed Bug Registry. Search by the name of the hotel, city, and state.
You can also read customer reviews and comments online and see if anyone has reported a bed bug infestation.
Leave Your Luggage in the Bathroom
When you get to your room, place your luggage in the bathroom, not on the bedroom floor. According to the National Pest Management Association, bed bugs are least likely to be found in the bathroom. This is because they don’t have many places to hide and are more likely to look for fabrics than tile.
Inspect the Mattress
You don’t need any special tools to check your mattress and see if there are any signs of bed bugs. Pull back the linens and mattress pad and inspect all the way around and under the mattress.
Do your own bed bug inspection, and look for small black dots that look like ground pepper or mold, bloodstains, or the bugs themselves. They could hide in corners, seams of the bedding, or the mattress seams.
In case you find any of these signs, inform the hotel staff to notify management and ask to change rooms, preferably on another floor.
Inspect the Furniture
Inspect all furniture around the bed. This includes nightstands, behind the headboard, under the alarm clock or telephone, behind picture frames, and even in books.
Bed bugs don’t just live in mattresses, so also check the seams of cushions and chairs or couches in the room.
Don’t Put Your Luggage on the Floor
If you can avoid it, don’t put your luggage on the floor, on the bed, or on a couch. Bed bugs can climb most surfaces, but struggle with metal. Hence, if there’s a clothes or luggage rack, or chair with metal legs, put your luggage on that.
Hang Your Clothes or Keep Them in Your Luggage
Don’t place your folded clothes in a drawer. If possible, hang all your clothes on a clothes rack or in the wardrobe or keep them in your luggage.
Store Your Dirty Laundry Away
Bed bugs can be attracted to the scent of dirty laundry. Therefore, seal it tightly in a plastic bag, compression cube, or other type of storage, away from your clothes. Take a look at my tips for packing dirty laundry for more ideas.
Use Luggage Liners
Try a luggage liner in your luggage to create a barrier between your clothes and potential bed bugs.
Use an Anti Bed Bug Spray
You can use such a spray around your luggage, along the mattress edge and seam, the headboard edge and the corner, the bed frame, and the bed feet.
For good measure, also spray around the nightstand, the bed, and the couches if you intend to sit on them.
Wash Your Clothes on a High Heat Setting (if Possible) and with an Anti Bed Bug Laundry Additive
If you suspect you encountered bed bugs on your travel, make sure to wash everything as soon as possible.
Wash clothes on high heat settings if possible (ideally 140°F/60°C). You can also pack an anti-bed bug laundry additive to use when washing your clothes, as this may help.
Since hotels, short-term apartments, and motels welcome a lot of people, travelers are often at the biggest risk when it comes to encountering bed bugs.
Be smart and diligent. Do your research thoroughly on the place you’re staying, and use these tips and techniques to try to proactively avoid coming into contact with bed bugs.
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