7 tips on how to avoid bed bugs while traveling

When you sleep in a hotel or hostel, it is good to be aware that there might be bedbugs, even at the best hotels. When you live in a hostel, it is especially important to keep track; since it is more common that they appear there, due to the frequency of backpackers. 

These annoying little insects can cause severe itching, red bite marks and cost a fortune if you would have them with you home. But, do not worry unnecessarily. With our tips, you can easily avoid encountering bed bugs while traveling!

1. Inspect the bed

First of all, don’t put your belongings on the bed. It may be good to look a little more on the places they thrive on. Start by removing the bedding on the mattress and watch along the edge and bottom of the mattress, and even behind the headboard. What you should look out for are the stools that look like tiny black dots. Also, look for the bedbugs themselves, which are about as big as a core of an apple. They have a reddish-brown color and they often hide in corners and seams of the bed linens and mattress.

When you do this inspection, you can also check what’s around the bed, for example, the bedside tables. It is best to immediately put your bags in the bathroom doing an inspection for bed bugs, because this is the place they enjoy the least.

2. Avoid having your bags on the bed and on the floor

To prevent bed bugs, it is good to keep in mind that you shouldn’t put your bags on the bed or floor. Bed bugs thrive very well in the beds and mattresses, but they can also crawl from room to room, therefore you should not keep your bags on the floor either.

It is best to have the bags lying on top of a desk, dresser or in the room’s luggage rack.

3. Read hotel reviews

With only a little research on the internet, you can easily find information if a hotel has had bedbugs or not. When you book the hotel stays on sites like Hotels.com, Booking, and Agoda, there are always reviews to read, which can sometimes tell if there have been cases with bed bugs in the hotel you are looking at.

If you have plans to travel to North America, you can take a peek at The Bed Bug Registry, which is an online database with reports on which hotel had bedbugs during their stay. It may also be useful to look more closely at hotel reviews on TripAdvisor.

4. Night Inspection

Because bed bugs usually hide during the daytime, it may be easier to detect them during the night. The newly hatched bed bugs are hard to see since they are almost completely transparent while their older relatives have a reddish-brown color and an oval shape.

To inspect the room at night you need to have a flashlight and turn off the lights in the room.

5. Bed bug sheet

Making use of a bed bug sheet is a great option for those who are going to travel. The bed bugs can be found in the hotel or hostel beds and mattresses, which this sheet protects you against. The sheet is treated with Ex8-permethrin, a synthetic insecticide that stun or kill insects when they come in direct contact with the impregnated material.

Permethrin is not harmful to humans.

6. Plastic Case for suitcase

To be on the safe side, you may want to buy a plastic cover for the suitcase. This plastic case protects your clothes and possessions, not only in the hotel room, but also during the trip; since bed bugs can hide on planes, trains and taxis. Be sure to have the case closed as much as possible to reduce the risk of bed bugs.

7. After your trip back home

After you come home it is important to make sure that you wash all your clothes, even the ones you didn’t use. Clothes should be washed in hot water, preferably above 50 degrees. Then the bed bugs won’t survive due to high temperatures.

This is great to do after each trip to prevent bedbugs moving into your clothes, bedding or accommodation. It is also good to thoroughly vacuum your suitcase before you put it back in storage.