Is Your Hotel on the 'Bedbug Registry'?

Although bedbugs are hard to eliminate, they're easy to avoid—if you know how. A new (or, at least, new to me) website, The Bedbug Registry, maps some 12,000 hotels in the U.S. and Canada where bedbugs have been reported. Findings are based on about 20,000 reports submitted by individual travelers, which the site posts along with, in some cases, information regarding what the hotel did about the problem.

My only beef with the website is its somewhat cumbersome mapping interface. Still, it's a great resource: It's free and voluntary, so travelers can check out the bedbug action where they're planning to go with little trouble.

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In case you hadn't noticed, hotels and motels in the U.S. are suffering from a bit of a bedbug epidemic. Although I haven't experienced them—at least not yet—several of my friends have gotten out of bed with a bunch of welts. Bedbugs are hard to kill and they travel easily, hitching rides in baggage and clothing. And they keep hidden during the daytime, so hotel housekeepers may not spot them; hotel management may find out about a problem only when confronted by an irate guest.

The Bedbug Registry is the only review website I know devoted exclusively to bedbugs. But one will find occasional references to bedbug problems on user-generated hotel review websites such as TripAdvisor (SmarterTravel's parent company).

If you discover bedbugs in your hotel room—preferably by spotting them before you get into bed—you should obviously ask to be moved to a different room immediately or, if the hotel is full, to a different hotel. And if you encounter bedbugs, you'll be doing other travelers a big favor by reporting them to the Bedbug Registry and TripAdvisor.

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