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Traveler Tips on Bed Bug Prevention

luggage rack

How to Avoid Bed Bugs While Traveling

Bed bugs are most often found in hotels, schools, shelters, and apartment complexes where lots of people come and go. Because bed bugs hide in small crevices, they can hitch a ride into your home on luggage, pets, furniture, clothing, boxes, and other objects. Bed bugs are found worldwide, but are most common in developing countries. Once rare in North America, they may be on the rise due, in part, to increases in international travel.

It may be impossible to completely avoid them during your lifetime, but taking a few simple precautions will aid you in not carrying them home with you:

Research Hotels Before Staying the Night

The Bed Bug Registry and Bed Bug Reports are great resources for hotel and apartment research.

Inspect Your Hotel Room

Upon arrival at a hotel, check areas thoroughly.  Bring a flashlight to help inspect the room.  Check mattresses, headboards, behind picture frames, in drawers. Check every area where they like to hide. If you find evidence, including their excrement, it is possible that it is from an old infestation and not a current one.

If any evidence of infestation or prior infestation is discovered, notify the hotel staff immediately and ask to be switched to another room. Make sure the room is not adjacent to the room you just evacuated, as the bugs can easily travel through thin walls.

While you are staying at a hotel, it is best to leave your clothing packed in suitcases on the luggage rack or the bathtub rather than the floor. Unpacking them and storing them in dresser drawers at the hotel may open up an opportunity for the bugs to get in your clothing.

Notify the Hotel Management of the Problem

If you arrive home and discover that you have brought some unwanted guests home with you, immediately notify the hotel of your discovery. Having a possible infestation in hotels and motels can be a public relations nightmare for the owners. Politely ask them to pay for any and all costs incurred to rid your clothing and home of a possible new infestation.

It is a possibility that they will refuse; however, you can always advise that you will report the building to the appropriate health authorities. Owners of dwellings are legally responsible for these types of infestations no matter how they got there. It’s always important to be well-informed of state and local laws when traveling, as well.

Treat Your Luggage Immediately

Upon arrival home, attempt to launder all clothing in hot water and dry on high heat for at least 45 minutes before bringing it into your home. If it is already too late and you have brought your luggage into the home, unpack on a smooth surface, such as cement, tile or hardwood flooring that is of a light color, so you can see the bugs easily.