How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs While Traveling

Bed bugs are small insects (5 to 7 mm in length) that eat at night and feed off of the blood of mammals and birds. Bed bug infestations are often found in mattresses, bed linen and clothes where it is dark and warm. Infestations can spread when individuals travel and bring them home in their luggage or on their clothing. To learn how to protect yourself from bed bugs while traveling, you should research possible sights of infestation during your travel planning, check for bed bugs as your travel and in hotels, and prevent an infestation in your home at the end of your travels.


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    Research hotels and airlines during travel planning.
    • Contact the hotel you are planning to stay in and ask about recent bed bug infestations. Ask how an infestation was managed (if there was one) and the dates when the most recent event occurred. This information can also be found on travel websites and online bed bug registries where travelers report infestations at hotels. Research alternate hotels nearby to use as back-ups in case you find bed bugs after you check-in.
    • Ask about bed bug infestations on planes when you make your flight registrations. If a recent infestation has occurred, ask when the infestation happened and how the airline resolved the issue.
    • Include luggage liners, sealable laundry bags and encased pillows with your luggage. Liners and bags will protect your clothes. Encased pillows can be used in lieu of pillows provided by airlines and hotels.
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    Check for bed bugs as you travel.
    • Look for live bed bugs or for their skin sheddings. Also, check for brown or red stains that could be blood or fecal matter left by bed bugs after feeding.
    • When flying or traveling by rental car, taxi, bus or train, examine you seat. If you find evidence of bed bugs, ask to move to another seat if you are on an airplane, bus or train. Ask for another car if you are renting a vehicle.
    • In your hotel room, place your luggage on a luggage rack that you inspect for bed bugs first. If a luggage rack is not available, store your luggage on a hard, light colored surface such as the bathroom floor or in the bathtub so you can see bed bugs if they appear.
    • Bed bugs do not come out in daylight, so keep the room dark and use a flashlight to check the bed. Pull back the bed sheets and examine the seams of the mattresses and pillows. Look for shedded skins, droppings, blood stains and live bugs on sheets, comforters, pillow cases, etc.
    • Lift the mattress to check the box spring.
    • Lift the box spring and check underneath it.
    • Check the top of the frame and underneath.
    • Search behind the headboard. Look for any cracks where bed bugs may hide.
    • You should also check the curtains, any other upholstered furniture in the room such as a couch or chair, as well cracks in the walls, and pictures frames.
    • If you discover bed bugs, ask for another room. If another room cannot be provided, relocate to a hotel that you researched during your trip planning.
    • Before checking out of your hotel, check the room once again for signs of bed bugs. Check all of your luggage and clothes for bed bugs.
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    Prevent infestation when you return home.
    • Unpack your luggage outside of the house or load your clothes directly into the washing machine.
    • Wash all of the clothes from your luggage immediately, including those you did not wear.
    • Vacuum out all luggage and bags, including the seams, crevices and compartments.
    • Seal luggage in bags and store them in an outside storage or garage or in a closet separate from your clothes inside your residence.
    • Best way to avoid bugs getting in your home is by keeping your luggage along with items in hot sun outdoor. Ensure that all cloth bags and liner is well exposed to heat and sunlight.
    • Never forget to write review on hotels in case you have noticed bugs.
    • Always look for bite marks on your body that might give you clue on this matter,although it can be from mosquito bite if you are visiting tropical regions.
    • always carry creams and medicine in case you get bitten by bedbug.

Things You'll Need

  • Luggage liners
  • Encased pillows
  • Bed bug insecticide
  • Bed bug registry
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Flashlight

Article Info

Categories: Travel | Bedding and Mattress Care