Congrats – you’ve finally booked your dream vacation and managed to score a killer deal on a sweet hotel room.
At least so you thought, until you wake up the next morning and discover bed bugs have feasted on your skin while you were asleep.
But don’t worry, you can save yourself a bed bug headache and dodge those bloodsuckers ahead of time if you’re smart and know what to look for.
Don’t make the same mistakes as those who have traveled before you – spot those slick critters before they spot you.
If you really want to get ahead of the game, do your homework and research the bed bug history at a hotel, BEFORE you book it.
How, you may ask?
Well, guests who have gone before you have taken the time to write reviews and share their traumatic experiences to warn others.
So, read the reviews before you book.
If you’re looking for a place to start, check out http://registry.bedbugs.net/.
Sure, it may not be 100 percent accurate, and some reviews may be old, but it could eliminate some hotels right off the bat, especially if there are several bad reviews.
But just to be on the safe side, only book hotel rooms with zero reports of bug bed infestations –even if the hotel promises a free breakfast buffet. Stay somewhere else, don’t risk it!
Once you’ve eliminated the bad hotels from the start, you’ll still want to search your room upon arrival.
Let’s start with the obvious – your bed.
No really, check your bed.
Don’t just pull back the covers and see clean white sheets and think your bed is safe.
Bed bugs tend to hide in the seams of mattresses and settle where they can suck the most blood from you, typically near the headboard.
Carefully examine the sides of your mattress in the corners and look for little black specs. Yank the sheets back and check out the headboard and surrounding areas.
If you’re planning on a wild night out, do yourself a favor and check when you first arrive.
After pounding back a few cold ones, your eyesight might not be the most reliable and you’ll be happy you already scouted the scene.
Great, so your bed is secure, now what?
Zip up your luggage. No really, keep your luggage contained and off the floor.
They actually make zipped enclosures to fully protect your luggage, but if you’re trying to save a buck, bring a garbage bag and put your luggage inside.
And it should be obvious, but don’t throw your clothes all over the floor. Keep ‘em wrapped and secure.
And if for whatever reason you plan on lounging on the hotel couch or chairs, do so with caution.
Make sure to examine the pillows and the upholstery, as bed bugs are often found hiding on those obnoxious accent pillows.
And remember, bed bugs aren’t just found on fabric items.
Look at surrounding areas, as bed bugs may be lurking behind those gaudy pictures hanging on your hotel wall, or inside the nightstand where the Bible you’re supposed to be reading is placed.
Finally, if you do find bed bugs at any point in time, move.
And don’t just move to the room next door, as bed bugs can often crawl through electrical outlets and cracks on the walls.
Insist the front desk place you at least two floors above or below from your current room.
Really, it’s not worth “toughing it out” for a night. If you’ve found bed bugs, get out now. Don’t wait until your body is covered in bites to realize your hotel has a bed bug problem.
Because the last thing you want to do is bring them back to your home – that’s a whole other host of problems.
Bed bugs aren’t just annoying, they can wreak havoc on your life.
And once they make your way into your home, they are nearly impossible to kill.
The products and chemicals previously used to exterminate them are now banned by the good ol’ EPA.
So really, if you have the misfortune of having your home infested with bed bugs, you’re going to spend a fortune to fix the problem.
Besides throwing away your sheets, you may need to get rid of your bed.
Yes, even your bed.
Especially if you have a box-spring mattress, as they love to hide in the coils, waiting to feast on you during the night.
Have we convinced you yet just how important it is to avoid staying in a hotel room with bed bugs?
And even if you think you’ve won and avoided bed bugs, there’s still one final precaution you should take.
Once your jet-lag wears off and your home from your vacation, place your clothes in the dryer on high heat – it will kill any bed bugs that may have hitched a ride back with you.
Then take your clothes out of the dryer, and wash them per usual.
Bed bugs are gross and they are longing to live off your human blood.
But relax, you can beat ‘em if you know what to look for.
Don’t make the same mistakes many travel rookies have made, who walk around covered in painful, itchy bug bites all because they were too lazy to check out their room first.
So give your hotel room a thorough sweep for bed bugs, so you can actually rest at ease and enjoy your vacation—you know, the whole reason why you booked your hotel room in the first place.