It is a bit difficult to completely ensure that you will not be exposed to bedbugs while staying at a hotel, but there are some important steps that can be taken to significantly reduce the risk of picking them up and bringing them back home with you. The best course of action is prevention, as once they have become infested, they are very difficult to eradicate. You will need to be able to identify the signs of them, the bugs themselves, and take the necessary steps to ensure that you are not putting yourself at risk for an infestation.
1. Check the hotel ahead of time
Before even booking a hotel, check the Bed Bug Registry online to see if the hotel has a recent bed bug infestation. Do remember that infestations are normally dealt with immediately, meaning that a problem from the past does not inevitably mean that you need to steer clear of the place. Keeping this in mind, note if there is a recurring problem. This could point to a larger problem with the hotel, rather than just a random infestation.
2. Pack in bags
Pack your clothing in large, plastic, sealing bags. When you do this, you are protecting your clothing and belongings from bed bugs, even if they do get into your luggage. Do not get rid of these bags once you have used all clothes in them. Keep the bags, as they can be used after laundering clothing later. These bags can be found in the clothing storage area of stores.
3. Check the room first
Upon arriving at your hotel, keep your luggage outside of the room until you have thoroughly checked the room over. Signs of bed bugs include: small blood spots on the mattress or linens, and light brown colored skins. As bed bugs grow, their skins are shed and they are left behind. If you find any of these signs, contact the hotel staff immediately to fix the problem.
Thoroughly inspect the room with a flashlight to reach more hidden areas of the room. You’ll want to check the nightstand, the edge of the carpets, baseboards, any furniture that is upholstered, as well as neat electrical outlets. Bed bugs are a flattened brown oval, are wingless, and are around 1/4” to 3/8” long. After they have fed, they actually appear slightly different. They become more of a cigar shape. Younger bugs are only about 1/16” when they hatch and are almost colorless until after they feed.
5. Keep clothing in bags
Once you have decided that your room is free of bed bugs, it is still a good idea to keep your clothes in the bags, and keep your luggage up off of the floor. You can use luggage racks for this. Before leaving the location, launder anything that can be laundered and place it back in these plastic bags. Sort the laundry now. This helps to keep exposure at home to a minimum.
6. When you get home
Once you arrive back at home, you must perform a thorough check if your luggage, put your clothes in the laundry right away, and vacuum out the suitcase immediately. Items that can be washed should be done so in water that is 100 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit along with soap. A scrub brush should be used along seams and folds. Items that cannot be washed can be heated or frozen. These items should be heated or frozen to their core.
7. Don’t stop looking
Even after you get home, keep an eye out for any bed bugs that might have got in. sometimes it might take a while to notice an infestation.
The best thing that can be done is to work on preventing yourself from being exposed to an infestation in the first place. Though this is normally not the fault of the hotel themselves, they are responsible for eradicating any infestation that happens. When you are thorough in your investigating, you reduce your risk of being exposed to these little pests and set yourself up to be successful in eliminating any bedbugs that might have made their way into your luggage or clothing.