People typically bring back a souvenir from their vacations. Something small like a snowglobe or a postcard to remember their travels. But many people are bringing home creepier souvenirs- bed bugs.
In the last few years, bed bugs have become an epidemic and a major concern among travelers. They're being found more and more frequently in apartments, homes, offices, and of course, hotels. Since bed bugs are equal opportunity pests, there is no correlation between the places they are found. Your roadside motel is just as likely to have them as the 5-star retreat on the beach. Bed bugs can affect everyone, no matter the income level or socioeconomic factors at play.
So what can you do to avoid them? Follow these tips to enjoy your trip without bringing home unwanted guests.
Step 1: Store Your Luggage Safely
When you check into your room, put your luggage in the bathroom, on the counter or in the tub, until you have conducted a thorough inspection of your room. Bed bugs hide in carpets, cloth, fabric, bed frames, and upholstery, so the bathroom is the least likely place they will be hiding.
In addition, for the duration of your stay, try to keep your belongings off the floor and away from walls. Use the luggage stands or tables in the room to hold your items. For an extra step, there are plastic bags made to go over your luggage, sealing it off from any pests.
Step 2: Check the Bed
The first place to check is obviously the bed.
Pull the linens off the bed and check the mattresses, bed frame and areas around the bed for signs of bugs. Bed bugs look like apple seeds, and will leave a trail that looks similar to ground black pepper. If you see any of these signs, alert hotel staff and consider finding another place to stay for the duration of your trip.
Step 3: Inspect the Room
You should also check the other furniture in the room. Chairs, couches, sofa-beds and other upholstered items are all havens for bedbugs. As an added precaution, check books and picture frames as these nooks and crannies are all welcome hiding spots for unwanted visitors.
Step 4: Communicate With Hotel Staff
Don't be afraid to speak up if you find evidence of a bed bug infestation in your hotel bedding, or if you have concerns about bedbugs or other issues. Hotel staffers are trained to deal with such issues and are generally happy to help ensure that you have a good stay.
Before your stay, consider asking for allergy friendly bedding in your room. AAFA certified and allergy friendly bedding has to be able to withstand hotter wash cycles. If the bugs are in the blankets, pillows or other bedding, an allergy friendly wash cycle would definitely get rid of the problem.
When you return home, wash everything in hot water. Bed bugs can't survive in temperatures higher than 122 degrees Fahrenheit. This should include clothing and belongings that you didn't wear or that you left in your car or stored in plastic bags while you were traveling.
Bed bugs are persistent and can sneak into the most unlikely places, so it's important to make sure you head them off before they can find their way into your home. An ounce of prevention will ensure that you don't have a nightmare of a problem that even the best exterminator may have a problem eradicating.
Above all, don't let bed bug panic ruin your vacation.