Are you concerned about bed bugs crossing your path while traveling? There has been quite a bit of news concerning these pests, and it is perfectly understandable that travelers may feel anxious about the situation. There are some things you can do, though, to protect yourself from nasty bug bites when you travel. Put the practical tips listed below to use before, during and after your next trip away from home.
Before your trip
• Check out your hotel online before you even make a reservation. You can read the reviews of other travelers who have stayed at the accommodations you are considering. If there have been problems, there will be complaints. Also, research bed bug hotel registries, as these websites provide helpful information concerning infestations at various locations.
• When you pack your luggage, place your items in protective plastic bags that will act as a barrier to pests that might try to hide in your clothing. Leave your items in these bags during your time away so that clothing will not be exposed to anything that might be within the confines of your room.
• Use suitcases with hard sides rather than soft-sided luggage. There will be fewer places for bugs to hide.
Upon arrival at your destination
• When you reach your destination, you will want to do your own inspection of your quarters. Check everything in the room, including bedding, pillows, frame of the bed and bedsprings, headboard, mattress, furniture, wall hangings, drawers and carpet. Use a magnifying glass and flashlight during your search. Look for black specks, red or brown stains, shed skin and tiny eggs or eggshells. Bed bugs may also be visible if they are present. What do they look like? They are reddish-brown in color, about the size of an apple seed, six-legged, flat and oval in shape. Bed bugs will often be found in clusters and can live up to a year without feeding.
• Never put your luggage on the bed or the floor. To be safe, use a luggage rack, a table or a desk, and leave your suitcases in these places throughout your stay. If you do find bed bugs or signs that they are present, immediately contact hotel management and request a different room, preferably a distance away from your current location. Do not forget to perform another inspection in your new room.
Upon arrival home
• Put all of your washable items in the washing machine, with the water set to the hottest temperature possible for your clothing. Also, use a hot setting on your dryer, as heat kills bed bugs.
Bed bug infestations have been reported in many locations, but if you are wise and use the tips in this article, you can effectively protect yourself and your belongings from these troublesome pests. By using common sense and being cautious, you can enjoy your travels without fear of sharing your trip with bed bugs.
Contributing author Karen Barnes writes on behalf of a website that has helpful tips on how to check your hotel room for pests, including bed bug videos. There’s also advice on bed bug heat treatment, which can be used to get rid of any pests that you might inadvertently bring back from your travels.