Bed bugs in hotels have become a serious concern to travelers. If you have never had them, you can ensure you never get them in the future either. If you are diligent and pay attention to your surroundings, you can prevent them forever, even if you stay in a hotel.
How to avoid bed bugs in hotels:
Since bed bugs can easily attach themselves to your purse or clothing, I would avoid visiting any home or hotel that you know has them.
When you must travel, what can you do about bugs in hotels? You can’t be certain whether or not a hotel has them. You would have to use the same precautions as you would at home, and do the same kind of visual inspection. Sadly, bed bugs in hotels have become very common.
It would be prudent if, first of all, you would search online, by name, the hotels in the area where you will be staying. Search for reviews of hotels from former patrons. It’s not probable that a hotel would itself reveal it had a bed bug problem, therefore you should look for independent reviews.
Just because a hotel is not listed as having a bug problem, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is bug free. Travelers may bring them into a hotel within their clothing or luggage at any time.
How can you prevent getting bugs in hotels if you must stay in one? The way you can check for hotel bed bugs is to do a visual check of the bed linens and mattress. Seek out smears of blood or dried specks of dark brown or black. Those are the critter’s droppings.
Take action immediately if you see those common and obvious signs of infestation. You shouldn’t have to stay in a hotel with bugs, nor do you want to.
Check the headboard as well as the mattress. If close to the bed, dressers and night stands should also be checked. These insects like to hide in dark places, so drawers are a likely place to find them.
Report the problem to the front desk. Speak with a manager. He may not even be aware of the problem. It won’t necessarily help you to change rooms because they can easily spread from room to room. For your peace of mind, just leave and find another hotel without bed bugs.
A good idea in advance of traveling is to get information on several hotels in the area. Thus, if you find your hotel has bugs, perhaps the next one will be bug free. It’s best to plan ahead so that you have a choice between staying in a hotel with bed bugs and staying in one that does not. Have a list of hotels as a backup so you don’t feel pressured.
Take the following precautions even if you don’t see obvious signs of these insects in your hotel room. Avoiding them is far preferable than trying to get rid of them.
I would bring along a bug killer spray when traveling. I advocate only the use of non-toxic pest control products. Small travel size sprays are available for use in hotels and motels for getting rid of them.
Do not put your suitcases on the floor. Put them up on a dresser or bureau. If the hotel has supplied a luggage rack, be sure to use it. Neither should you put your purse or discarded clothing on the floor because bed bugs can climb onto them undetected. Your purse should be hung in the closet or off a shower rod if possible.
After undressing for the day, place the clothing you won’t be wearing again in plastic bags if possible. Use plastic bags that you can seal tightly. I have found that Hefty makes some extra large zip bags in which travelers may seal clothing for protection from bed bugs. This is so great! Like extra giant baggies, they are eleven gallon bags that zip shut, effectively sealing out bugs and giving you complete protection from them.
By using the Hefty bag you have contained any bugs you may not have known were in the hotel. When you return home it will be easy to put your clothes in the washer and then dry them on hot, just in case.
You may wish to be even more cautious about avoiding bed bugs in hotels, so when you remove and bag up your clothing, take it to a laundry mat the following day for a wash and dry. A laundry service is sometimes available at hotels. This procedure assures you that should you have unknowingly gotten bugs on your clothes from the hotel or motel, you will have contained and killed them.
You should always check your luggage prior to leaving. If I wanted to be super cautious, I’d use a non-toxic bug spray on my suitcase, inside and out. Please use only safe, natural bug sprays, thus avoiding contamination of your personal items with toxic pesticides. There are various types of bed bug travel sprays that are convenient and easy to use, as well as non-toxic.
I would rest easier using a product that states it is safe around pets and kids, such as Green Rest Easy Travel Spray. It comes in a twin pack of two ounces, perfect for carrying in your suitcase. Scented like cinnamon, it does not have a nasty chemical odor that toxic bug sprays do. At the end of this article you can find a link where you can purchase this spray.
Place your hanging clothing in dry cleaning bags in the closets if the hotel supplies them. Your clothing should be kept far away from the bed as possible, and off the carpets. Plan ahead and bring your own dry cleaning bags, thus protecting your clothing from hotel bed bugs.
Personally, I would undress in the bathroom and hang my clothing in the shower if possible, thus avoiding contact with the floor altogether. If you travel frequently, it would be a good idea to bring hangers along. If need be, then you can hang your clothes off the shower rack. As an extra precaution, bring your own clear plastic bags as well, and hang your clothes inside them.
If, to your horror, you return home from a trip where you stayed in a hotel and find that you have bed bugs in your suitcase, what will you do? You can throw your clothes in a dryer because heat will kill them. But, how do you eliminate bugs from your luggage?
Amazingly, something is available for this exact problem. It is the Pack Tite Portable Bed Bug Killing Heater Unit, designed expressly for this purpose.
From eggs to adult bugs, the PackTite Bed Bug Heater Killer will kill them all at any stage of development. There are no chemicals used, and you may set the timer for a heating time of up to six whole hours! I’m certain that’s enough to steam kill any bugs in your luggage.
Though this device may not be needed for the casual traveler, for someone who travels often, this may be necessary to avoid those hotel bed bugs.
To summarize, following is a list of fourteen steps to prevent getting bed bugs in hotels:
1. Check out the hotel online prior to leaving on your vacation to see if there have been complaints filed against it for bed bugs.
2. In the event that you need to change hotels, make a list of names, phone numbers, and directions to other hotels in the area.
3. Be sure to pack a non-toxic bug spray, and several large Hefty sealable bags.
4. Prior to putting your clothing in your suitcase, pack them inside the Hefty bags. Even if bugs manage to enter your suitcase, this ensures you won’t get them on your clothes.
5. Just in case you need them, pack extra hangers so you can hang your clothes in the shower.
6. If you suspect an infestation you may need to do an emergency wash, so be sure to pack some quarters and laundry detergent.
7. Only bring things you absolutely need into the hotel room.
8. When you arrive at your hotel or motel, do a visual inspection of your room before you even bring your bags inside. Be sure to check every place that hotel bed bugs can hide.
9. Using only non-toxic spray, keep bugs at bay by spraying your suitcase on the outside.
10. Bag up your purse if possible, and keep it and your luggage off the floor.
11. Do not put discarded clothing on the floor. If you won’t be wearing it again bag it up immediately, using a resealable Hefty bag.
12. Before you leave in the morning, wash yourself well with hot water.
13. Before returning your suitcase to your car, spray the outside again with the non-toxic spray.
14. When you arrive home, dump contents of all Hefty bags into a very hot wash, and dry on high heat. Before bringing your suitcase into the house, spray it again.
Now you know you took all possible precautions to prevent getting hotel bed bugs.
Check out my natural pest control website, and you’ll find all the products mentioned in this article and a link directly to a place to purchase them.
Donna believes in living a natural lifestyle with minimal use of chemicals. Whole, organic foods and natural remedies are part of her daily life to maintain good health. Donna only uses natural pest control methods and home-made, non-toxic cleaning products in her home to assure optimal health for her family and pets.
Check out her other articles on the dangers of pesticides.