Travel brings all kinds of inconvenient problems. Jet lag, missed connections, and bad weather is some of the many nuisances travelers often deal with. But there’s one travel nuisance that eclipses all of these: bedbugs. These tiny pests can attach themselves to you and your belongings and follow you all the way home, an unwanted souvenir that keeps on giving.
So how can you avoid bringing bedbugs home with you?
It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here’s our guide.
Inspect the Hotel Beds
As soon as you arrive at your hotel, strip the sheets off the bed and carefully examine the mattress. The seams and piping around the headboard are common “hot spots” for bedbugs. Next, examine any furniture near the bed (such as the nightstand.) Although bed bugs are tiny, the small dark spots they leave behind are easy to see if you look for them.
Don’t Ever Place Luggage on the Bed
The best place to store your luggage during your stay is on a hard surface. The surface of a luggage rack or a dresser is high enough that bed bugs will not be able to reach it. Don’t unpack your clothing or belongings unless you’re going to be staying for a long time. And before you leave, go over your suitcase with a lint roller to ensure that it is bug-free.
Don’t Panic If You Do Find Bedbugs
It’s true; the presence of bed bugs is disgusting and can certainly make your skin crawl. But don’t immediately panic. If you take the right precautions, there is no reason to assume that the bedbugs will leave with you. Simply alert the staff and ask for another room. If you’re staying at an AirBnB, call their 24-hour customer service line.
Put Luggage In the Garage When You Get Home
Once you get home, it’s very important that you avoid unpacking your luggage in your bedroom or living room. Instead, unpack your luggage in a garage or an outdoor parking area. Place all your clothing in plastic bags; then vacuum the inside of your suitcase and go over it with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to get any spots you might have missed.
Wash All Clothing In Hot Water
Wash any clothing you brought with you (whether you wore it or not) at the hottest water temperature you can without ruining them, and then run them through the high-heat cycle of the dryer for 30 minutes. The high temperatures will kill off any bedbugs or eggs that remain. Don’t forget to immediately throw out any garbage bags that you used to contain your clothing.
Leave Shoes Outside
Keep shoes, toiletries, and other items outdoors until they can be treated for a possible infestation. If you live in a hot, sunny area, simply leave them in a plastic bag in temperatures of 120 degrees for an hour. Alternatively, you can place your belongings in your freezer for a day or two. Either of these options will kill any remaining bed bugs.
Bedbugs, like any kind of pest, are a nuisance and a health hazard. Fortunately, an infestation is easy to prevent by taking a few simple precautions.