I travel all over the world yet have never had a problem with hotel bed bugs. But, whenever I arrive at a new hotel, there are certain things I always do before I settle into my hotel room and unpack. Now, with millions of Americans staying in hotels every year, and hotel bugs at record numbers in American hotels, every American should do the same things I do to protect themselves from hotel bed bugs. By following these quick tips, you can not only make sure you don’t have a problem with hotel bed bugs while on vacation or business, you’ll also ensure you don’t take them home with you.
Upon Arrival Scour the RoomWith a Flashlight
To those who have never seen a bed bug, taking a small flashlight with them on vacation or business might seem a bit excessive. Believe me, it’s not. So many weird things can hide in hotel rooms, it’s worth doing a quick run around with a flashlight before unpacking, so you can make sure the room is clean and safe for you to stay there.
Shine the flashlight in cracks in the wall, around the baseboards, behind the bed’s headboard, in cupboards and drawers and anywhere else where a bed bug might hide. If you don’t see any telltale little flat brown bugs, your hotel room is probably free of bed bugs.
Pull Back Sheets
The next thing to do to protect yourself from bed bugs in hotel rooms is to check under pillows and on the bed sheets. Then, pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress. If you see dark rust colored stains either on the mattress or on the sheets, the hotel room has bed bugs so you should move to either another room or, if the entire hotel is infested, to another hotel.
Check Around the Headboard
Check around the headboard of the bed, particularly if it’s made of fabric as bed bugs can easily hide in there. Check the seams of the fabric on the headboard, check every wooden seam on the headboard, as well as behind the headboard. Again, any little flat brown bodies lurking there – move.
Check Bed Seamsand Under Bed
Your next check to make sure you protect yourself from bed bugs in your hotel room is to check the seams of the mattress itself, as bed bugs can hide in the seams only to come out at night and eat you alive.
I also get down on my hands and knees and shine my flashlight underneath the bed, making sure to check the skirting boards.
Put Your Luggage on a Luggage Rack or Table
Never put your suitcase on the floor in a hotel room. Always put it either on a luggage rack or, if one isn’t available, on a table. Bed bugs and other insects motor along the floor and will climb into your suitcase and hitch a ride back home. Keeping your luggage off the floor goes a long way to making sure that won’t happen.
Don’t Unpack Clothing
I never unpack my clothing in a hotel room as it’s not necessary, particularly if the hotel room has an iron, as you can iron everything you’re going to wear right before you leave for the day.
Not unpacking your clothing and keeping your suitcase closed ensures bed bugs don’t get into your clothes and then, from there, into your suitcase and home. The last thing you want to deal with a few days after arriving home is an infestation of bed bugs that traveled home with you from your hotel room.
Don’t Put Shoes on the Floorand Take Disposable Slippers
When I take my shoes off for the day, I always put them in shoe bags and back in my suitcase, so nothing jumps in them overnight. While in the hotel room, I wear disposable slippers then, when I’m leaving to go home, just throw them away. A very easy way to prevent travel-loving bed bugs coming with you.
If, while in your hotel room, you find bed bugs in your room, immediately ask the hotel to move you to another room. Inspect that room also. If other rooms also have a problem, move to another hotel. Of course, the hotel may not like it and will say they won’t give you a refund of the room rate but, I’ve found, if I have any problems with a hotel I simply dispute it with my credit card company and the charge goes away.
Besides, even if you do end up losing your money on the hotel room, with America’s current bed bug problem, you’re better losing money for a couple of night’s stay in a bed bug infested hotel than tracking the critters home with you and having months of problems later.