How to Avoid Bed Bugs in Hotels

Summary

Bed bugs hotels are becoming a problem across the world, as the parasites are usually carried by travelers from one location to another. No class of hotels are exempt from bed bugs as any traveler can inadvertently pick them up and carry them into a hotel; the only difference is that a more expensive hotel might be more vigilant about training staff to be on the lookout for bed bugs. There are many things you can do when staying in a hotel to lower your odds of bringing them home with you. Avoiding bed bugs involves inspecting the room before bringing suitcases into a room, treating luggage, packing smart, and protecting your belongings. 

Overview

Bed bug infestations are a global problem, affecting both high-class hotels and lower cost motels across the world. Given the scope of the bed bug epidemic in hotels/motels, travelers need to understand how to protect themselves from bringing home bed bugs when traveling. Even though the number of cases is increasing, the odds of finding and bringing home bed bugs are relatively low.  Regardless, it pays to be cautious as bed bugs treatment can cost $1,000 or more for the average home.

Follow the tips below to learn how to avoid bed bugs during your next stay.

1. Check your hotel on a bed bug registry

Follow the tips below to learn how to avoid bed bugs during your next stay. There are several websites where you can see if a hotel has had any registered bed bug control issues. Being listed does not mean that a property currently has a problem.  If the hotel or motel you are thinking of staying at has had a problem, call the location and ask for its history of bed bugs treatment.  For an added level of protection, request that your room is at least 2 floors away from the infested area.

Sites for researching bed bugs hotels problems:

Bed bugs on a hand to show different sizes before and after feedingSizes of Bed Bugs

2. prepare your luggage before you leave home

Consider using hard sided luggage

Bed bugs cannot leap onto your luggage.  They actually crawl onto it when the luggage is next to an infested area such as in a hotel room, or even another piece of luggage where bed bugs are hiding, such as in the cargo area of a plane. 

Hard sided luggage and luggage without zippers provide fewer opportunities for bed bugs to hitch a ride.  Fabric covered luggage has more places for a bed bug to hide.  The insects are very thin and can hide in spaces as small as the width of a credit card.

Bed bugs on a cloth backpack

Treat your luggage for bed bugs hotels before leaving home

Spray your luggage

One easy precaution is to treat your luggage with a pyrethroid based spray before leaving home. A spray such as JTEaton Luggage and Mattress Spray will provide 3 to 6 weeks of protection.  The spray contains a pyrethroid that will kill/repel bed bugs that approach your luggage.  

Spray all possible bedbug hiding places before packing your luggage as described in this video produced by the manufacturer.


purchase a bed bug proof luggage liner

For added protection, buy a bed bug proof luggage liner. These bed bug luggage liners are tested to keep bed bugs out of your clothes. 

Picture of red, open suitcase on bed. The suitcase has a bed bug proof luggage liner in it.Bed Bug Proof Luggage Liner

 As a low cost substitute, pack Ziplock Big Bags and place clothes inside and seal. This will keep bed bugs out of your clothes. 

3. INspect your hotel room for bed bugs

Before bringing luggage into a room, be sure to inspect it for bed bugs. You can see bed bugs with the naked eye. Follow these tips:

  • Peel back any linen on a corner of the bed down to the mattress itself. Bed bugs hide in areas such as along seams and under mattress labels.
Mattress with sheets pulled backExample of Clean Mattress
  • Look for unusual mattress markings such as red stains or brown fecal marks as indicated in the mattress picture below. If you see marks of any kind call the manager and ask for another room. 
Brown spots from bed bugs on a mattressBed Bug Mattress Stains
  • Check other areas near the bed for bed bugs. Inspect areas such as the corners of the box spring, the bed frame, head board, night tables, and lamps near the bed. 
  • A raspberry-like odor can indicate the presence of bed bugs.

4. store your Luggage and clothes in a bed bug safe manner

Protecting Your Luggage

Here are some suggestions to keep your luggage safe:

  • Keep luggage off the floor and at least 6 inches from walls
  • Store luggage on a luggage rack
  •  Keep small carry on bags inside a Ziplock Big Bag for complete bed bug protection
  • Keep luggage approximately 10 feet or more from the bed 

Protecting Your Clothing

Follow these tips to protect your clothing from bed bugs hotels:

  • Avoid using hotel room drawers without some type of bed bug proof casing
  • Hang clothing in the bathroom (a room that is likely to be bed bug free). The shower bar can make a nice clothing rack.

5. protect yourself overnight

Bed bug bites almost always occur at night, as they are drawn to the carbon dioxide you exhale while sleeping. While there are no 100% fool proof methods, these are two things you can do to minimize the chance of being bitten. 

Wear tight fitting clothes

Bed bug bites tend to occur on skin surfaces exposed during sleep. Wearing socks, tight to the skin long sleeve shirts, and other tight clothing will minimize exposed skin areas.

Try a bed bug repellant

A new to the market all natural Bed Bug Repellent claims that it will repel 98% of bed bugs. While not independently tested, the product is from a reputable company that uses plant extracts to kill bed bugs. It is skin safe and made from natural ingredients. 

6. inspect your luggage when you return home

When returning home, inspect the seams of your luggage for small white specs (bed bug eggs are white, pear-shaped, and the size of a poppy seed) and for bed bugs themselves. You can see bed bugs with the naked eye, although identifying nymphs or baby bed bugs is easier with a flashlight and magnifying glass. 

Checking the luggage zipper seams for bed bugsLook for Signs of Bed Bugs in Luggage Zipper Seams

If luggage is clean, bring it directly to the laundry room. Wash clothes in hot water followed by 20 to 30 minutes in the dryer. This will kill all bed bugs and bed bug eggs. 

Many frequent travelers are investing in a PackTite portable heat chamber. It is a small heat chamber that can hold a suitcase. The chamber is heated to the temperatures required to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs. 

Pink suitcase entering a PackTite heat chamberPackTite portable heat chamber

A PackTite is a foldable personal heat chamber that will heat luggage and its contents to the point (about 120F) that all bed bugs and bed bug eggs are killed. It is 100% effective and perfect for frequent travelers worried about bringing home bed bugs from bed bugs hotels. 

To learn more about PackTite watch this video:



Bed bugs in hotels should not be a reason not to travel. By being cautious and by knowing what to look for, you can return home bed bug free. 



brochures

 These free brochure provide additional information on bed bugs hotels. 

Brochure on bed bug identification and treatment in hotels.
Available in a free Ebook

Brochure for hotel owners on bed bugs.
Available in a free Ebook

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