How can I avoid bed bugs when traveling?

January 19, 2016 by Doug Moore

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Every traveler should learn about bed bugs. Always inspect before settling into any room. Pack a flashlight (even the key chain LED variety) and gloves to aid in your inspection. The inspection should focus around the bed. Start with the headboard, which is usually held on the wall with brackets—lift up 1 – 2 inches, then lean the top away from the wall to gain access to the back. If you’re traveling alone, someone on staff should help. After checking the headboard, check sheets and pillows for blood spots.

Next, pull back the sheets. Check the piping of the mattress and box spring. Finally, look in and under the drawer of the bedside table. If all these places are clear, enjoy the night. The next morning, look for blood spots on the sheets—bed bugs poop soon after they feed.

If you find evidence, but no live bed bugs, the evidence may be old and doesn’t mean that the room is infested. Tell the front desk discreetly what you found and ask for another room—one that doesn’t share a wall with the room you just vacated. Bed bugs are a PR nightmare for the hospitality industry.

If you run to a competitor (who’s just as likely to have bed bugs) it makes it less likely that the industry will become more open about this issue. Communication is key. Ideally hotels and motels would pride themselves on their bed bug programs and show customers how to inspect to keep all parties bed bug free.

If you can avoid it, don’t unpack into drawers and keep luggage closed on a luggage rack pulled away from the wall. Never, never set luggage on the bed.

If you travel frequently for business or vacation, consider purchasing a PackTite Portable Heating Unit to treat your luggage and other items that can’t be safely laundered when you return home.   Items like your computer bag, backpack, books, shoes, belts, etc.

If you think you’ve been exposed to bed bugs during your trip, hire a canine bed bug scent detection service to inspect your home, including your luggage.

For more information about bed bugs, heat treatment, and canine bed bug scent detection, click here.

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