Travel can be fun and exciting, but there can also be a dark side -- bed bugs. Bed bugs can be a common issue when staying in hotels. Although most hotels schedule regular inspections and exterminations to guard against bed bugs, outbreaks are still common simply because of the amount of guests rotating through. Not even fine hotels are exempt from this threat. If the only thing you want to bring home from a hotel stay is memories, the following tips are for you.
#1: Pre-inspect your room
Don't take your luggage or the whole family to the room as soon as you get your key. Instead, make an initial exploratory trips sans baggage to perform your own bed bug inspection. Although bed bugs hide from light, you can usually spot signs of a problem. Begin by pulling the fitted sheet from the the mattress sides and inspecting along the seems. Dark reddish to brown spots, especially along the seems, are signs of bed bugs. Droppings tend to bleed, similar to the way a felt tip pen bleeds on fabric. Check behind headboards and pictures on the walls, as well, since these can also provide a hiding place for bed bugs.
#2: Protect your luggage
Before leaving home, toss a heavy duty, extra large trash bag in each suitcase. Once in your room, set up the provided luggage rack. It's even better if you can place it on a hard floor versus a carpeted surface. When not in use, seal your suitcase in the garbage bag to keep out any bed bugs. If you hang up clothing, make sure they are arranged so the clothes aren't in contact with any walls. Some people go a step further and leave their luggage in the car, only bringing in what they need each day. Never toss clothing or books on the floor or drape them over furniture, since this increases the chances of contracting bed bugs if any are present in the room.
#3: Clean as soon as you get home
After a trip all you want to do is kick back, but you have a few tasks to tend to first if you don't want bed bugs. Unpack your suitcase in the garage, if possible, and place all your clothing immediately into the wash. If there are any bed bugs, the washer and dryer will destroy them before they are carried into your house. Also, take a hint from frequent travelers -- store your suitcases in sealed garbage bags when they aren't in use. This way if there are any bed bugs that hitched a ride, they won't be able to escape the suitcase and get into your home.
If you suspect bed bugs still found a way to follow you home, contact an exterminator like Arab Termite and Pest Control immediately.