Bedbugs have become the scourge of the modern traveler and infestations are popping up everywhere. Staying in classy hotels in big cities is no guarantee of safety from these blood-sucking pests.
If you want to avoid bringing some unwanted guests home with you when you travel, take these preventative steps to protect yourself from bedbugs. Inspect Your Room Take the time to learn the telltale signs of bedbug infestation. This is a topic that can easily fill an article all its own, but in brief, you need to be able to spot live, mature bedbugs, their nymphs, their eggs, and their excrement. The bugs themselves are brown and their waste is black or red, but eggs and nymphs are small and almost transparent.
Every time you check into a new hotel room, take a moment to stash your bags in the bathroom. This room of hard surfaces and high temperatures is relatively immune to infestation, so your belongings are safe here. Thoroughly inspect the bed for any signs.
It’s a good idea to carry a flashlight so that you can get into crevices and crannies. Don’t forget to check pillowcases and pillows, including seams, as well as the linens and the mattress. If you do run into any signs of bedbugs, report them to the front desk immediately. Demand to be moved to a new room in a well-separated part of the hotel. Be Vigilant During Your Stay Assuming your room passed its initial bedbug check, you don’t need to be too paranoid during your stay. Get in the habit of keeping your belongings secure and you should be fine. Keep your luggage on shelves or luggage racks after checking them for signs of bedbugs, too. Move portable racks as far from the bed as possible. Minimize the amount of contact between your clothes and bags and any upholstered furniture. Keep your bags zipped up when you are not using them. If you are especially wary, you may want to use plastic bags to seal up your clothes when they are not in use – both in your luggage and in your hotel room’s dresser.

Head Straight To The Laundry Room When You Get Home

Remember that as tough as they can be to get rid of after they have taken hold in a bedroom, individual bedbugs in transit are pretty feeble creatures. They (and their eggs) will die if exposed to temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 30 minutes. When you return home, unpack your clothes straight into the washer and then, the dryer on high heat. Store your luggage well away from living areas to prevent bedbug transfer. If you have reason to believe your bags have picked up bedbugs on a recent trip, you can give them a makeshift heat treatment by sealing them inside a plastic bag and leaving them in your car on a hot day. While the resurgence of bedbugs is definitely annoying, it is not an unconquerable problem for the resourceful traveler. Just exercise a little common sense and protect yourself with the techniques described here. You will cut way down on the odds of introducing bedbugs to your home environment with just a few simple protective measures.

Carol Robson is a retired social worker who believes in living simply, being ecologically friendly, and leaving a small footprint.

For more helpful information for others looking to do the same, check out Tiny House Plans.