Bedbugs are the ultimate travel nightmare, and you might not know you’ve brought them home with you until it’s too late. Spare yourself the mental and financial anguish of bedbugs by always doing this one thing as soon as you step into your hotel room.
It doesn’t matter if you’re staying in a low-budget hostel or the fanciest hotel in the world. Bedbugs are everywhere. As soon as you arrive in your room, drop your belongings in a safe place like the bathroom—where it’s hard for bedbugs to hide on tile surfaces. Avoid the luggage rack, where the bugs can stay after coming in on another traveler’s bag.
Next, inspect the bed. Start by pulling off all of the bedding until you get to the bare mattress. Use the flashlight app on your smartphone to get a better view as you check around the seams of all four corners. Be sure to check the box spring and headboard as well.
Now here’s the surefire way to spot them: You’re not only looking for the bugs themselves, but for signs that they’ve been there. Small, dark blood from their excrement is a dead giveaway (and super gross, too). Check all the furniture in the room, as well as behind any framed art on the walls, because bugs can lurk there, too.
If you find evidence of bugs, gather your belongings from the bathroom and ask the hotel staff for a new room—one that does not share a wall with the infested room. (Bedbugs can travel between rooms fairly easily.)
Make sure you do not bring the bedbugs home with you by immediately washing all of your clothing in hot water. You’ll need to vacuum out your suitcase as well. And to be extra safe, you should store your suitcase inside a large plastic bag to prevent any hardy bugs from invading your home.