How to Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling

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Bed bugs can be a real pain at the best of times, but what do you do if the place you’re staying in gets infested while you’re traveling?

Bed bug prevention when traveling is something that most people never think about until it’s too late (and why would you?)

Right now it seems that almost nowhere is safe – from cheap hostels to 4 and 5 star hotels – everywhere is susceptible.

In this article we’ll take a look at how to prevent bed bugs when traveling as best you can (and more specifically, what to look for when inspecting a room) and what to do if you do get infested.

That being said, part of the problem with bed bugs is that finding and removing them can be extremely difficult (even for experts), but these tips should increase your chances.

Bed bug

Inspecting the Room

Whenever you go to a new place, it’s a good idea to ask to have a look around the room you’ll be staying in before agreeing to stay there.

Not only does this allow you to have a quick check for bed bugs, but it allows you to make sure the room has everything that you need (i.e. a bathroom, TV, shower, etc.)

When you first enter the room (providing it’s fairly dark), flip the light on and check the bed for movement. Bed bugs are nocturnal (meaning they only operate at night or when it’s dark), so your best chance of finding any during a quick inspection is by checking immediately after turning the light on.

Once you’ve agreed to stay in the room you can inspect the room further for traces of bed bugs:

  • Begin by looking at the sheets and under the pillow cases. This is where bed bugs will feed on their victims, and you’ll see tiny blood stains as a result.
  • Next, check the back of the headboard and under the mattress for areas where they may be nesting. The tell-tale sign is dark brown fecal matter that they leave behind.
  • Lastly, have a quick look along the ceiling (and the area where the ceiling meets the wall) to see if there are any cracks where they might get in. Again, fecal matter is what you should be looking for. Bed bugs won’t typically nest further than 10 feet away from the bed.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling

Providing you’ve already inspected the room and you haven’t found anything, it’s still a good idea to store your luggage (i.e. your backpack) in an elevated area (i.e. not on the floor) or hang it up on a hook/coat-rack somewhere if possible.

If you do suspect there might be bed bugs in your room, don’t hesitate to head straight to the front desk and inform the staff of your infestation (making sure to remove your bags from the room as you do).

If your suspicions are proven correct, they’ll probably offer you another room to stay in. In my experience, it’s often better to just up and leave (especially if the room was cheap) and find a completely new place to stay, as if one room’s infested than it doesn’t take much for bed bugs to spread to the whole building.

How to Act if You Do Get Infested

Let’s say you’re staying in a place and you’re attacked by bed bugs and your luggage is infested. What do you do then?

Start out by taking all of your clothes (even those that might not have become infested) and washing them. You might not be able to do this in one batch, so keep the washed clothes away from non-washed ones.

High temperatures are the key to killing bed bugs, so washing or boiling them in high temperatures (at least 120°F) is the best way to get rid of bed bugs.

Note that you cold temperatures will only put bed bugs into hibernation and won’t get rid of them (so freezing them is not an effective strategy).

If you do get bitten, it’s best to go and see a doctor right away (no matter where you are), as they’ll help you recover from the bites a lot more quickly than if you were to leave them.

Following these tips above should help prevent bed bugs when traveling and get rid of them if you do get infested. If you have any tips/experience about dealing with bed bugs while traveling, feel free to leave a comment below!

For more information, check out the video on ‘how to protect against bed bugs’ below

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