Try These Bed Bug Travel Tips

"These bed bug travel tips are designed to help you avoid picking up a bedbug from a hotel room, cruise ship or even public transportation.  Be sure to check for bed bugs when entering any hotel room by following the steps outlined below. If you see signs of bedbugs in any hotel room, call the manager immediately and demand a room inspection. Bed bugs are found in every country, so guard your luggage and yourself so that you do not bring home any unwelcome house guests."  

Many travelers worry that they are going to either sleep in a hotel or cruise ship room that is infested with bed bugs.  Bed bugs have even been reported in public transportation, with reported incidents in Australia and Europe.  Hotels probably are the most likely place you will find bed bugs, just based on the number of hotels around the world.  Reports on cruise ships are infrequent, but possible.

 Here are our bed bug travel tips to help avoid sleeping in a room that has been infested and how to avoid accidentally bringing them home.  Traveling without bedbugs doesn't have to be hard.

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation

When inspecting for bedbugs in hotels or other areas when traveling, you can look for the following signs of bed bugs:

  • Fecal remains (brown spots) or blood spots on sheets or the mattress itself.  Look along the seams in particular.  Look at the bed frame, night stands and other areas near the bed.  Note that carpet beetles are often mistaken for bed bugs (see image below).
  • Bed bug shells  which look like brownish black specks.
  • An oder that is a raspberry sweet smell.
picture bed bug, picture carpet beetle
Picture of a Carpet Beetle (left) and Bed Bug (right)
(Source: Dr. Ridge - Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station)

bed bug travel tips
BedBug Picture Compared to a Penny

bed bugs mattress picture
Bed Bugs on Mattress

bed bug travel tips
Bed Bug Fecal Remains on Mattress
Remove Sheets and Check Mattress for Stains

Bed Bug Travel Tips

Here are our travel tips for how to avoid bed bugs. To reduce your chances of bringing home bed bugs when you travel, consider these bed bug travel tips.:

  • One of our latest bed bug travel tips is to use a disposable bed bug seat covers on the plane, bus or train that is carrying you to your destination. Bed bugs have been found on all forms of public transportation. A low cost cover ($6.99 for 12) will protect you from bringing home these parasitic hitch hikers.
  • When traveling, only bring clothes that can be washed when you get home. Select clothes which can be laundered in hot water and withstand 20 to 30 minutes in the dryer.
  • Consider using luggage that doesn't have outside seams, such as hard sided luggage.  Bed bugs will try and hide in crevices on the luggage and like to lay eggs on rough surfaces.

    bed bug travel tips
    Picture Bed Bug on Luggage

    bed bug travel tips
  • If you purchase items, place them in sealable plastic bags.  

    Tip: Bring Ziploc Big Bags with you when traveling.  They are bed bug proof and can be used to protect your entire suitcase or used as a liner to protect clothes inside a suitcase.
  • Don't place your luggage inside the hotel room until you inspect the room for bed bugs.
  • When entering the room place luggage on racks and away from the floor and if possible at least 10 feet away from the bed.  Most bedbugs will be near the bed.
  • Keep clothes in the luggage, not hotel room drawers.  
  • Zip or close luggage after it is opened so that nothing can crawl inside.
  • If hanging clothes, consider hanging it on the shower rack or in the bathroom, the place where bed bugs are last likely to hide.
  • Spray your luggage before leaving home with a natural bed bug repellent spray such as  JT Eaton Luggage Spray.  It is a permethrin based spray that will provide protection for 4 to 6 weeks.  Once dry it is child and pet safe.  This particular product will also protect against ticks, roaches and fleas that may want to hitch a ride to your home.

  • JT Eaton Luggage Spray is Available at and Bed Bug Supply

  • Use a PackTite Heat Chamber When You Return Home: The best approach for being absolutely certain that you brought no bed bugs home with you is a PackTite.  Of all the bed bug travel tips, this approach is 100% effective and is one of the most popular ways to avoid bringing home bed bugs in hotels.  A PackTite is a foldable vinyl mini heat chamber.  You place your entire suitcase in the PackTite, set to the required temperature and all bed bugs and bed bug eggs will be killed.  It is chemical free and 100% effective.

Click Here for More on PackTite

There is no Bed Bug Skin Repellent

According to the University of Kentucky, there are no effective bed bug skin repellents. Products used as skin repellents for other insects such as mosquitoes (Off) do not work against bed bugs.  

If you are worried about bedbugs when sleeping, we suggest minimizing exposed skin areas during sleep. This includes wearing tight fitting clothing such as socks, long pants and long sleeve shirts to minimize the exposed skin areas.

Also the JTEaton Luggage and Mattress Spray can be used as a convenient mattress spray.  Apply an to the mattress seams, tufts and bed frame as recommended by the manufacturer.  Allow to dry before placing sheets or a sleeping bag on the bed. Perfect for helping to prevent bed bugs when traveling in places such as hotels and youth hostels.


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