Over the past few days, many of us have seen this nightmarish viral footage that a young California couple posted on YouTube, documenting the horrifying evidence of their bedbug-infested New York City hotel room. A vacation buzzkill, indeed.
Although we’ve heard that bedbug infestation is on the rise in hotels and motels everywhere, none of us want to share the same fate as this poor couple and have our trips ruined by these nasty creatures getting into our suitcases, clothes, or crawling all over us while we sleep. (Who wants to wake up to a gross, itchy rash during their holiday?)
So how can we ensure we don’t have a run-in with these creepy crawlers while we’re vacationing? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 10 simple tips to protect yourself from encountering bedbugs while you’re travelling.
1. Inspect your hotel room as soon as you check in
The very first thing you should do when you check into your hotel room, even before admiring (or being disappointed with) the view, is a bed bug inspection. Stash your suitcases in the bathroom (the spot where bedbugs are least likely to be found) and head straight to your bed. Pull back the linens, check both around and under the mattress, and behind the headboard. Look for things that appear to be tiny blood stains, black mold or ground pepper. If you see anything, get your luggage out of there and tell the hotel staff immediately!
2. Inspect the rest of the room
Once your bed is confirmed to be creature-free, give the rest of the room a once-over. Bed bugs are usually found within 15 feet of the hotel bed, so look behind picture frames, under the desk phone and under the alarm clock. Also, inspect the cushions and seams of any couches or chairs in the room. If you don’t see anything, you’re good to unpack.
3. Scope out the closet and drawers before putting away your clothes
Bedbugs love corners and crevices. Before you hang your clothes or fold them into drawers, make sure to use a flashlight or the overhead light to ensure there are no bugs hiding in the cracks of the closet or dresser.
4. Don’t leave your luggage on the floor
It’s always best to leave your luggage on the desk, on top of the dresser or on the luggage rack in the closest, instead of on the floor. Bedbugs can travel from room to room, and they can get from the carpet into your suitcases. Don’t bother giving any potential crawlies a chance.
5. Consider hard cases and plastic covers for your luggage
A good way to ensure that potential bedbugs don’t get into your luggage and come back home with you is to use a hard-cased suitcase. It’s tougher for the nasty little bugs to fit their way into the crevices of hard-shelled luggage. If you want further protection, buy a large zip-up bag to store your luggage in. You can by these at luggage stores and they’re a sure fire way to keep bugs out.
6. Keep your eyes peeled for white powder around the corners of the room
If you see this, it’s likely that the hotel used a pesticide to treat a previous bedbug problem. If you see it, you might want to reconsider your stay.
7. Don’t be scared to ask for a new room
It’s your trip. You are a customer. If you are not satisfied with your room and feel a concern for your health and well-being, ask the hotel to move you. Unless it is some sort of awful dump, they will be happy to oblige. Just make sure they move you two floors above or below to ensure a solid distance from the potential spread of bugs.
8. Always read reviews and inquire
With the bazillion travel review sites online these days, you should have no problem finding comments from previous guests about their stay, and any bedbug issues they may have encountered. You can also ask the concierge about the hotel’s bed bug prevention plan.
9. Wash all of your clothes when you get home
Even if you didn’t wear all of the items in your suitcase, wash them all in hot water. Bedbugs can’t handle the heat and will die a bubbly death in your washing machine.
10. Don’t be obsessed with bedbugs
Remember, bedbugs are a growing issue, and most quality hotels are all about nipping any potential problems in the bud as soon as they arise. If there’s no signs of nasty critters, relax and enjoy your vacation!