There have been many times when we've dropped little hints here and there about what you should do when you're traveling if you want to avoid bed bugs. Sure, we sell a lot of bed bug treatments for people who have them in their homes. Still, if we could educate people, tell them about some luggage covers, and avoid the problem in the first place, that would make us perfectly happy. We'd be glad to find another business if all bed bugs would die.
Today is the day for an in-depth article to tell you the best way to deal with bed bugs whenever you travel.
Before You Travel
When choosing a hotel, why not check to see if they've had problems in the past? Go to http://bedbugregistry.com/ to see if the hotel you're considering has been identified as recently having bed bugs. To be clear, the hotels that pop up don't necessarily have bed bugs. They might have addressed the problem immediately and been bedbug-free for years. You can always call them and ask about the situation; they might even tell you!
Remember, there's no difference between a high-priced hotel and a dive regarding bed bugs (find out why here). So even if you're staying at a $500-a-night hotel, you'll want to check things out...
When You Get There
When you show up to your room, put your luggage in the bathtub. Wait, what? The bathtub is a smooth surface on which you're unlikely to ever see a bed bug. It's a protective measure as you check the room to ensure it's livable.
First, check the bed. Take off the sheets and see if the mattress has any signs of bed bugs. The seams of the mattress are one of the most common places to find the bed bugs themselves. The flat parts of the mattress are more likely to show bloody bed bug excrement, so look for reddish-black stains. Look behind the headboard and at any furniture touching or nearly touching the bed, such as the side table. Also, be sure to check any upholstered furniture. Look in the bureau drawers, even though we advise you to not use them (more on that below).
If you see any bed bugs, let the management know immediately. They need to know if they don't already. Maybe they thought the problem was over when they dealt with rooms 101, 102, and 103, but the bugs moved on to your room, room 104. The room may have been infected within the last week, and they need to get the problem under control as quickly as possible.
Ask for a different room, as far away from the first as possible and on another floor (remember to take your suitcase from the bathtub!). Just because one room has bed bugs doesn't mean the whole hotel does. Repeat the inspection process as necessary. Never be ashamed to ask for another room or a refund if you must head to another hotel.
Protect Your Stuff
Once you're satisfied that there are no bed bugs in your room, you're not done. That's because "not seeing bed bugs" does not equal "there are no bed bugs." It could be a recent infestation that shows no signs, and most of them could be hard-to-see nymphs and eggs. You don't want to let your guard down and become their next victim.
Pull out the luggage rack and place it a few inches from the wall. Inspect them because they're usually held together with nylon straps that bed bugs can grab onto. It should now be safe to bring your suitcase from the bathtub and place it on the luggage rack. Using the coat hangers and closet should also be safe if you want to hang up items. The slick and slanted nature of luggage racks legs or a metal hanger will keep most bed bugs off those items.
Keeping luggage in luggage protectors is a good idea when you're not using it. These stretchy covers cover your luggage to ensure that bed bugs don't crawl inside or hitch a ride in the seams. They zip tight and are machine washable, so toss them in the washer when you get home. They come in two sizes for your luggage, and they protect against bed bugs, mites, and scabies! They're also water-resistant, which makes them even more appealing.
Using stretchable luggage protectors, you can leave most of your clothing in the luggage. Putting your clothes or other items in the dressers is a bad idea because, as we mentioned in this post, dressers are very commonplace for bed bugs to retreat to. Seeing the inside of the dresser means you're seeing only about half of the space in it, meaning that the bugs could be hanging out just about anywhere.
Remember, don't put anything on the floor! Just like us, it's how they get around. Keep everything you can on raised, flat, glossy, easy-to-keep-an-eye-on surfaces that bed bugs tend to avoid. Bed bugs can't hurt your possessions, but you don't want to give them a place to tag along when you head home.
Now that your luggage is protected from "the bed bugs that you can't see but might be there anyway," why not ensure you're covered with our travel bed bug repellent? Please spray it around the bed, the headboard, and along the edge of the sheets to create a barrier to the top of the bed. It's entirely safe for humans (and pets), making the room smell a little better than the average hotel room! Our citrus and peppermint blend also doesn't stain, so you won't have to worry about being charged for damages. This 3-ounce bottle is TSA-compatible, so you can also take it in your carry-on luggage.
If you want to ensure you're covered, take some bed bug traps with you and place them along with the beds' support. Traps draw bed bugs to their doom, so they don't make it from the carpet to your bed. They can also pull the bed bugs already in the bed down (primarily if you activate them and leave the room for a while).
When You're About To Leave
Shake any clothes in the dresser and put them back in your luggage. Spray them with bed bug spray if you'd like, and leave the hotel room knowing you've done everything possible to protect yourself and your home from these horrible pests.
Let us at Bed Bug Store assist you. All our products come with a 90-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee. Since 2003 we have been the bed bug treatment to turn to. Our products are 100% all-natural, chemical and pesticide-free. Our Citrus and Peppermint oils burn the bed bugs, so they will never build immunity. The smell you notice when using our solution is the fresh scent of peppermint.