When travelling overseas you need to be wary of bed bugs. Unfortunately, bedbugs are on the rise, particularly in hotels. They can cause bites that lead to severe itching, and it’s difficult and expensive to get rid of them if you accidentally bring them home with you! Luckily, there are easy ways to reduce your odds of making these creepy crawlers your travelling companions.
Store Suitcases in the Bathroom. Amazing but true! Store your luggage in the bathroom as soon as you arrive at your hotel room. Baggage is the main way that bedbugs are taken home from hotels, and the bathroom has the fewest places for them to hide. It’s also the room that tends to be cleaned the most. The best place to store your bags is actually the bath or shower. The floor or on the bed of the bedroom are the most susceptible to bed bugs. If you don’t want to store bags in the bathroom, the next best options are on top of a desk, chest of drawers, or luggage rack.
Do a Bed Check. Search the bed for a bedbug infestation. First, take off the linens and look all around the mattress, headboard, and frame. You’re looking for either bedbugs, themselves, (each one is roughly the size and shape of an apple seed) or signs that they’re around, such as blood stains or droppings, which look like small black dots of mould or ground pepper. Bedbugs typically hide in the corners or seams of the bedding, so be thorough.
Perform a Room Scan. Check out the rest of the room. Start with the area around the bed, including bedside tables, under the alarm clock, and around the telephone. Most bedbugs are found inside the bed or within a few metres of it, but it’s always better to be on the safe side, so also take a careful look at couches and chairs.
Wrap your suitcase. For an extra layer of protection, keep your suitcases wrapped in plastic. You can buy zip-up bags made specifically for luggage, but in a pinch, plastic garbage bags work.
Play It Safe. If you see anything suspicious in your hotel room, leave the room, alert the hotel staff, and insist on moving to a different room (or a different hotel, if you must). Make sure that the new room is at least two floors away from the first one, since bedbugs can easily spread from room to room.
Wash/Dry Clothes. When you come home from your trip, wash all of your clothing—including things that you didn’t wear—in hot water or at least dry them in high heat to kill any bed bugs. Inspect your luggage and vacuum it before you put it away. If you have plastic casing for your luggage, store your bag in that until your next trip.