You saved up some extra money, booked the best hotel, and are finally ready to enjoy a well-deserved vacation. After the long flight or cramped car ride, it’s time to unpack and unwind. But, before you get too cosy, you need to ensure that your hotel room is bedbug free. We’re talking about bed bugs, the nasty critters that can ruin an otherwise fantastic holiday.
Bed bugs are small brown insects that feed on blood, just like mosquitoes. They are nocturnal and like to crawl around in beds to get their nightly meal. Though bed bugs at home are easy to treat and prevent with an exterminator service, finding bed bugs in your hotel is a much bigger problem. Since you won’t know until you arrive if your accommodation has bed bugs, it is best to prepare in advance for this potential pest.
Bed bug prevention is just as important when you travel as when you are at home. This guide will help you prepare for bed bugs, and help you know what to do if you find the creepy crawlers in your sheets.
Common Misconceptions About Bed Bugs And Travel
Bed bugs are no strangers to hotels, hostels, and home rentals. Plenty of travellers have been bitten while on vacation, or have unknowingly brought the pests back to their homes in suitcases or contaminated clothing. Bed bugs can be the menace that many travellers believe they will be. The truth behind these myths about bed bugs should put your mind at ease before you take off on your trip:
- Bed bugs are in your bed all night – If you have bedbugs in your hotel room, it is likely that they will try and crawl under the sheets with you. However, they don’t exclusively live in beds, and don’t always affect travellers. The insects can also live in carpets, behind cabinetry, and in small cracks in the walls.
- Bed bugs are more common in hostels and cheap hotels – Bed bugs nest in clean, luxury hotels about as often as they do the cheapest hostels. They are attracted to the people, not the dirty environment. Because bedbugs aren’t always reported or noticed by guests, luxury hotels can unknowingly host the pests.
- Bed bugs transmit disease – Because of their similarity in appearance to ticks, people think that bed bugs harbour diseases. However, most are simply a nuisance, and don’t carry dangerous diseases as ticks and mosquitoes do.
How To Spot Bed Bugs
If you’ve never been bitten by a bed bug, you’re very lucky. The critters can be found anywhere, and most people are likely to be bitten at least once in their lives. Luckily they are somewhat easy to spot, and can be easily identified before you lie down to sleep.
Bed bugs are small, flat, and reddish brown. They are about the size of an apple seed as adults, and smaller when first hatched. Even if you don’t notice the bed bugs themselves, you can look for bedbug residue, which will appear as small brown or black streaks on sheets, under mattresses, or on the carpet.
If you’re an unlucky traveller and don’t notice them the first night, you may wake up to find you’ve been bitten by bedbugs. The bites will turn into small red welts that will itch. They won’t wake you up when they bite, but you’ll certainly feel it the next morning. If this happens, you can assume that you have bed bugs in your hotel room.
What To Do When You Know You Have Bed Bugs
The first thing you should do if you find bed bugs in your accommodation is to alert the hotel staff or property management. They should be able to offer you a new room and/or reimburse you for the stay. You should also ask to use the laundry facilities onsite to wash your clothes and rid them of any bed bugs that may have gotten into your luggage.
After you’ve washed your clothes, you should vacuum your luggage thoroughly to remove any lingering critters before you change rooms or hotels. Many people have bed bugs in their clothes or luggage which come back home with them after a vacation. You don’t want one night in a bad hotel room to cause a home infestation.
If you are bitten by bed bugs, run to a local drugstore and purchase an antihistamine or anti-itch cream to alleviate the pain. If you scratch the bites too much, you’ll cause them to get worse. You can also use a non-irritating soap and water to soothe any burning sensation.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs While Travelling
You may not be able to stop bed bugs from crawling around your hotel, but you can take steps to prevent them from ruining your vacation. A quick check of your hotel and proper reporting to the staff will save you a lot of time and hassle.
Always check your room for the black marks on your pillows, furniture, sheets, and carpets before you start unpacking. If you see them, you should alert the hotel staff and ask for a different room. If you don’t see any stains but wake up with bed bug bites, it is reasonable to ask for compensation for the night.