Statistics show that bed bugs are everywhere, including hotels, public transport, and Airbnbs. They can crawl onto your belongings and hitch a ride to your home as you return from vacation.

Taking defensive steps on your vacation will help ensure you don’t bring bed bugs back home. Here are some well-discussed tips to help you avoid getting bed bugs on your vacation:

Research customer reviews

The first thing you must do while planning your vacation is to find a place to stay. Accommodation facilities are hotbeds for bed bugs because they enjoy human traffic. Bed bug statistics show that 68% of hotels in the USA have bed bugs.

Several online customer review platforms provide helpful information on bed bug infestations. Before you check into a hotel, you must research the bed bug registry to see if it is listed. You can also read online reviews and comments about accommodation services, including Airbnbs and vacation cottages.

Know how to identify bed bugs

The first line of defense is identifying bed bugs because you cannot protect yourself against an enemy you don’t know. It is essential to be aware of what bed bugs look like considering they are in all 50 States in the USA. If you spot bed bugs in a room, you should notify the management immediately.

Bed bugs are reddish-brown, oval-shaped, and about the size of an apple seed. Their tiny size enables them to hide in hard-to-reach spaces inside mattresses, headboards, box springs, and furniture, to name a few. Bed bugs are good at hiding, and you will often not see living bed bugs, but they leave behind these signs:

  • Bed bug exoskeletons: Bed bugs shed their skin as they grow from one nymph phase to another during their life cycle. If you have bed bugs in your room, you will notice these exoskeletons, often on the bed and mattress. Traveling with a UV flashlight is advisable because exoskeletons emit a blue light when subjected to UV rays, making it easier to find.
  • Blood stains: Bed bugs live behind blood stains on shits when someone crushes them right after feeding. It is unlikely that you will see blood stains on your first check-in, but it doesn’t hurt to look. 
  • Dark rusty spots: Bed bug excrement appears as dark rusty spots. If the infestation is advanced, you will see many dark spots on the bed and mattress. 
  • Bed bug eggs: Bed bug eggs are tiny, measuring about 1 mm, about the size of a single grain of rice. When searching for bed bug eggs, you will need a flashlight and a magnifying glass.
Inspect your bed and beddings

Inspect the room on check-in

You must inspect your room immediately after checking in, whether in a hotel, an Airbnb, or any other accommodation facility. Bed bugs can hide anywhere, meaning you need to search everywhere with emphasis on the following:

  • Headboards (Headboards with fabrics are much more likely to house bed bugs than ordinary hard-surface ones)
  • Mattress
  • Bed frames
  • Bed lamps

It is best to request a change of rooms immediately if you see any sign of bed bugs. You must request a room far away from the infested one because these critters can crawl through openings in walls. If there is no room to relocate, it is wise to seek accommodation elsewhere.

Hold your luggage on your lap

Bed bugs do not confine themselves to homes, apartments, hotels, Airbnbs, or other accommodation facilities. A survey shows that 19% of public transportation elements in the USA have bed bugs. This means you can get bed bugs while traveling on a bus, train, rental car, or airplane.

Luggage compartments and floors in public transportation are hotbeds for bed bugs. Holding your luggage on your lap minimizes the risk of getting bedbugs from such spaces. If you hire a rental car, only put your luggage inside the trunk if you cover it with a vacuum-sealed plastic bag.

Avoid soft coverings

Soft coverings such as upholstered seats and fabric-lined surfaces are bed bug hotspots because they have enough spaces to hide. It is not wise to sit or place your belongings on such surfaces. You must avoid soft coverings if you use public transportation on your vacation.

Keep your luggage off the floor

You may not see any bed bugs or their signs even after a thorough inspection because they are good at hiding. You must, therefore, keep your luggage off the floor because bed bugs crawl on them. Apart from your room’s floor, you must also not put the bags on the furniture or the bed. Instead, it is wise to use the luggage rack after inspecting it and ensuring it does not have bed bugs.

Avoid putting your luggage on the floor

If your room does not have a luggage rack, you can use the closet only after inspecting it. You can also store your luggage in the bathroom because you are less likely to find bed bugs. Bathrooms do not have many hiding spots, and the slippery tiled surfaces make it challenging for bed bugs to crawl.

Store dirty laundry in a plastic bag

Bed bugs are not attracted to filth but to carbon dioxide and warmth, two cues indicating the presence of a human host. Dirty laundry gives off the same compounds that attract bed bugs after taking them off. If you leave any dirty laundry unprotected in an infested room, you can rest assured that they will catch bed bugs.

A sealed plastic black blocks bedbug-attracting scents emanating from your dirty laundry. Even if bed bugs try to crawl onto your dirty laundry by chance, they will not find a way in because the plastic blocks them. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to pack dirty clothes when traveling. 

Use bed bug-repellent essential oils

Besides giving off a pleasant scent and keeping your belongings fresh, some essential oils can keep you safe from bed bugs on vacation. For maximum effectiveness, you must spray bed bug-repellent essential oils on specific items and spots, including:

  • On and around your luggage
  • Along the mattress’s edge and on its seams
  • Your bed’s headboard
  • Bed frames
  • The feet of the bed
  • On and around the nightstand
  • Couch if you intend to use it in the course of your vacation.

Wash clothes before packing

You can still get bed bugs on your vacation, no matter what level of caution you exercise. This is why washing clothes before packing them is critical for the success of your bed bug prevention efforts. It would be best if you washed your clothes in high temperatures to guarantee the death of any lingering bed bugs.

Bed bugs in all life stages die at temperatures above 140° F (60° C). Once you remove your clothes from the washing machine, put them in a dryer to ensure all the bed bugs die. Once the clothes are clean and dry, pack them in a Ziploc bag before you start your journey back home. It will also be wise to repeat the washing process immediately after you get home.

Final thoughts

You may still get bed bugs on vacation despite following all the guidelines. There is no need to panic because you will make several mistakes when trying to get rid of bed bugs. Instead, pull yourself together and come up with an elaborate treatment plan.

You don’t have to spend your hard-earned money hiring a professional bed bug exterminator. Our bed bug treatment bundle offers comprehensive and practical Do-it-Yourself treatment guides.