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How to Avoid Bed Bugs in Hotels

Updated on October 30, 2011

Bed Bugs: NOT the best souvenir!

I am afraid of thousands of things in the horrifying, strange world of ours. Bed bugs are among them. For this reason, I am particularly keen on keeping them out of my personal fortress of solitude.

Alas, one's desires and reality don't always go hand in hand, and a couple years back, I had to deal with a bed bug infestation. The one good thing that came out of it was that I got some great tips from an exterminator on avoiding future infestations. The exterminator's advice was so dang useful, I thought I would share it with you, too!

As it happens, travel and infested hotels are the major culprits behind the growth in bed bug problems. Bed bugs spread as folks bring them back from vacations and business travel. Don't want to bring bed bugs back from your travels? Follow these tips!

Keep your belongings AWAY from the bed- better safe than sorry!
Keep your belongings AWAY from the bed- better safe than sorry!

How to Avoid Bring Bed Bugs in Hotels Home

To protect your home from a bed bug infestation, the best thing you can do is travel responsibly and do everything you can do to avoid bringing these blood sucking pests home. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Research ahead of time: check online reviews of any hotel you're staying in to make sure it has not dealt with any recent infestations. If bed bugs appear to be a problem, STAY IN ANOTHER HOTEL!
  2. Check your room: Before settling in, check your room for bed bugs (pull the sheets back from your mattress on one corner of the bed and check for bed bugs and blood spots). If you find something, leave that hotel, and if you don't have that luxury of choice, at least demand to stay in another (clean) room.
  3. Don't touch the bed: Don't sit on your bed or put any of your belongings on the bed to reduce any chance of cross-contamination.
  4. Put your suitcase and baggage away from the bed and off the floor: Most hotel rooms come with suitcase stands. Use those.
  5. Sleep in the nude / isolate your pajamas: If you don't like sleeping in your birthday suit, make sure that you stow any bedclothes in a sealed plastic bag before mixing them with your luggage, and wash and dry (in a drier) them immediately after returning home. This will kill any stow-away bed bugs that might have come home with you.

Better Safe than Sorry!

These simple steps may seem like a bit of a hassle, but they're chump change when compared to the trouble you would have to go through if you have a bed bug infestation in your own home (in addition to washing and drying- or dry cleaning- all of your clothes, you'll have to shell out for expensive treatments, isolate certain rooms, and maybe even dispose of some of your furniture).

I say play it safe and rest easy knowing you're significantly reducing any risk of bringing these annoying bugs home with you!

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    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      Great hub! Video is really useful.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I never thought of checking for bed bugs when I stay in a hotel. Thanks, Simone, for the heads up. And thanks for explaining how to check. Pull the sheets back from a corner of the mattress is easy to do. I also like your idea of keeping luggage off the floor, which is important since we might miss something when checking. I need to remember this next time I travel. Thanks.

    • stugod profile image

      Stuart Goddard 6 years ago from Bradford

      The term we use is "Back in the day" Simone my life is pretty mundane now. Might have something exciting coming soon though.

    • Simone Smith profile image
      Author

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Yikes! A flea-ridden hotel! That sounds pretty gnarly, Melovy!

      stugod, your life makes mine sound like elevator music.

      Considering that I'm somewhat of a germ phobe, that's quite possible Greensleeves Hubs! Though lice and ticks are less common in most hotel rooms, fleas can certainly be an issue! As for mites... yeeech!

      Sorry for making your skin crawl, Cloverleaf! Just be careful and those feelings will only be empathetic and not real!

      Thanks for stopping by, Eiddwen. I hope you never have to deal with these pests.

      Sounds like you have dealt with your encounters quite well, Peter Dickinson! I'm so glad you've never had trouble with keeping them from your home.

      Me too, Angie Jardine! Just play it safe, though, and you should be fine :D

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      A really useful hub ... especially as bed bug infestations seem to be on the increase. Ugh! I'm all itchy now just thinking about them ...

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

      I have met infestations a time or two in my travels. I move out when I find them and spray everything in my backpack and my backpack and myself with insecticide. So far none have followed me to the next port of all. I have noted that the more primitive my abode....and sometimes they are horrible never have problems with these little guys.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      A very useful hub and I am sure many will benefit from reading.

      Take care and have a great day.

      Eiddwen.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Simone, excellent tips and advice. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about bed bugs!!! Urrgh!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 6 years ago from Essex, UK

      Nice page of advice.

      So this is Halloween right? Well this subject matter to my mind is far more horrible and certainly more likely to stop me sleeping at night than any number of ghouls and ghosts and zombies.

      Good advice I'm sure Simone. If all else fails I suppose one could always BURN THE BED! (though a useful tip would be to ask permission of the hotel manager first - he might not take too kindly to residents setting fire to his rooms) :-)

      Can we expect a follow up on fleas, ticks, lice, mites and all the other delightful room mates people sometimes have to share their hotel accommodation with?

    • stugod profile image

      Stuart Goddard 6 years ago from Bradford

      This sort of ties in with the excuses for not drinking. A Few years ago in Italy at a place called Carissio. I had gone to a bar and had a few drinks. I was tired so told the guy that was with me I am off to bed. He carried on drinking until 2 am. When we got up in the morning I was covered from head to toe in bites. And he in his inebriated state did not have one single bite. The chances of not having a single bite must be millions to one. I have never needed an excuse for not drinking since he he. Carissio was also famous for it's mosquito population, And quick draw Mc Graw the security guard who shot his big toe off. All my love to them down Carissio way(happy memories)

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

      These are very useful tips. I’ve never had this happen, but did once get bitten by fleas in a hotel on the Florida Keys, and the flea came with us to the next hotel. Luckily that hotel had a washing machine, so we washed and dried everything in our suitcases. I’ll definitely follow this advice.

    • Simone Smith profile image
      Author

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks so much for stopping by, y'all!

      I am SO glad that scare was just a false alarm, Lily Rose! I do hope you give these methods a try in Disney World. It is a bit of a hassle, but as I'm sure you found from your research, it's way more of a hassle if you bring bed bugs home!

      Yeah, it really is a simple principle livelonger! I take comfort in knowing that most zones in hotel rooms are safe, even if there *is* a bed bug infestation. And those foldy thingies are so convenient!

      The zipblock bags is one of my favorite tricks, tirelesstraveler- especially because putting different sets of clothes into separate bags just makes one's suitcase more organized.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 6 years ago from California

      Ick! Nasty bedbugs can not be avoided sometimes. Sometimes you just have to deal with them. Your ideas are very good. I especially like putting your Pj's into plastic to isolate the little freeloaders.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Great advice! That's an important fundamental point: if bedbugs lurk around beds, then keep everything away from the bed! Checking the corners before you get too comfortable is a good idea, too. And using that folded up thingy. :)

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 6 years ago from East Coast

      I once thought that I might have bed bugs - thank goodness it turned out to be a false alarm, but I learned a lot in researching it at the time. What I learned was terrifying!

      We are going to Disney World for a few days next week and I'm glad I read your hub here as a reminder - great tips! My family is going to think I'm nuts, but I will definitely check the beds first thing and not allow anyone to place anything on the beds .... and I'm going to grab my large zip locks right now and place them by my suitcases so I don't forget!

      Thanks, Simone, for the reminder and awesome tips - love your video!!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Just the thought makes me feel sick. Ugh. But I thank you for these useful tips and shall put them to use.

    • icciev profile image

      icciev 6 years ago from Kuwait

      what a nice and interesting hub with useful tips. thanks for sharing this and voted up. you are awesome.

    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Simon your hub is very interesting and useful.voted up!

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Very useful! Bed bugs are so hard to get rid of!