With so many people traveling over the summer months, we thought if best to offer a few travel tips to help reduce your risk of getting bed bugs. Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and travel on your belongings. The more you can minimize your possible contact with them, the less likely it is that you will bring them home with you.
1) Do Your Research – Before you book your hotel, check out sites like www.bedbugregistry.com or www.tripadvisor.com to see if anyone has posted bed bug issues at your hotel. If they have, choose another hotel. Just because your hotel is not listed, does not mean they are without bed bugs. They may still have an issue, but no one has posted anything yet.
2) Pack a Flashlight – Our entire staff travels with flashlights. It’s your best tool in helping to determine if your hotel room has bed bugs. When you arrive at the hotel, if possible, leave your luggage in the car when you check in. Take your flashlight and inspect the mattress and bed. Remove the sheets and look for small rust dots (about the size of pencil eraser head). These will be blood stains. If you see nothing on the mattress, check behind the headboard. If you can take it off the wall, or shake it, go ahead. If you see the rust spots, insect skins or insects, inform the manager and check out!
3) Don’t Put Luggage on the Bed – No one from our office will put their luggage on the bed, furniture or luggage rack. Our suitcases go in the bath tub. I admit, it’s not very convenient, but better safe than sorry. My luggage never leaves the bathroom.
4) Pack Giant Zip Lock Bags – All of my clothes go into a giant zip lock bag before my trip home….even if I didn’t wear them. You can get a box at any grocery store for under $5. Don’t skimp…the bags must seal tight!
5) Don’t Bring Your Luggage in Your House – Once you get home, don’t bring your luggage in your house. You will need to remove everything from your luggage and vacuum thoroughly, inside and out. Vacuum, remove the vacuum bag, seal it tight in a plastic bag and throw it in your outside garbage. If you can make a stop at the car wash with a coin operated vacuum, on the way home, do it!
6) Dry Your Clothes – Take your zip lock bags and empty them directly into your dryer. Set on the hottest setting and leave clothes in there for at least 30 minutes. Don’t fill the dryer too full. You need the hot air to circulate. Shoes too if they can tolerate it (like sneakers). No need to wash clothes first. It will do no good.
This all may seem obsessive and extreme…but trust us; it is well worth the hassle. These simple steps could save you not only from red, itchy welts which can be caused by bed bug bites…but also save you thousands of dollars in bed bug extermination costs.