Nothing beats taking off on vacation from time to time, and when better to do so than the holidays? Getting far away from work and day to day chores can be the best way to relax and unwind – so long as you don’t encounter bed bugs during your trip.
These tiny bloodsuckers can make your life a misery, and their bites are itchy enough that a bed bug attack can ruin your vacation. Worst of all, bed bugs can follow you home, hiding away in your clothes and luggage to emerge in your bedroom when you return from vacation. Bed bugs are common throughout the world but, fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent bed bugs while traveling.
Can bed bugs travel on clothes?
Yes, in fact, their preferred mode of transport is often inside suitcases.
Clothing and travel bags are the number one way in which bed bugs can enter your house, as they often hide away in linen and luggage left on hotel beds. Bed bugs can survive without feeding for up to 400 days – more than long enough for you to carry them back to your home.
Err on the side of caution and keep your clothes and other possessions off your bed while traveling, to reduce your likelihood of infestation.
Can bed bugs travel on your body?
It’s highly unlikely that bed bugs would travel on your body or the clothes you are wearing. Your continual movement makes you a bad hiding place; instead, bed bugs are more likely to hide in your luggage and bags.
Can bed bugs travel in your hair?
Nope, you’re thinking of head lice (another type of blood-sucking insect that typically hangs out in human hair). Bed bugs, on the other hand, dislike warm hiding places, so they’re likely to infest places far away from your body and the heat it produces.
How to prevent bed bugs when traveling
How can you avoid bed bugs when traveling?
This particular pest species is common throughout the world, however, there are a few measures you can take to reduce your likelihood of encountering these insects while on vacation.
Check out the reviews
Before you book your accommodation, have a quick look at the reviews left by other guests. If they’ve encountered bed bugs at the establishment, you can bet they’ll be vocal about it. After all, these insects can spoil an otherwise perfect vacation. If your hotel of choice has recent complaints of bed bugs, you should definitely rethink your booking!
Always inspect bed linen carefully before sleeping in it
Most often, people don’t realize they’re sleeping among bed bugs until the next morning. By this time, the bugs have usually covered their victim in itchy bites (which can easily become infected) and may even have transferred to clothing items and luggage.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to thoroughly inspect the bedding of every new hotel, guesthouse, AirBnB or hostel before you lie down to sleep.
Take a flashlight and carefully examine the lining of sheets, pillows, and mattresses for the following signs of bed bugs:
- Live or dead bugs
- Bed bug droppings (which will look like dark or rusty spots on linen)
- Dark smears (which may be crushed bugs)
- Shed skins and empty egg cases
If you see any of the above warning signs, alert a member of staff immediately. They should move you to a different room and strip the bed in question so the sheets can be laundered, as high temperatures kill both bed bugs and their eggs.
Keep luggage and clothing on the floor
Bed bugs usually make their way back to your house by stowing away in your clothing and luggage. These tiny bugs are excellent at hiding in tiny gaps and cracks, and can easily conceal themselves in your suitcases.
Avoid letting them in by keeping all luggage away from your bed. Bed bugs are most often found between the sheets, so this is a reliable way to make sure they don’t come into contact with your stuff.
How to avoid bringing bed bugs home
Leave your luggage at the door until you’re sure it’s clear of bugs
If you think there’s even the smallest chance you may have bed bugs in your bags, keep them as far away from your bedroom as possible until you’ve had the chance to inspect them. If you think you have bed bugs in your suitcases, you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove the bugs and their eggs (disposing of the contents of the vacuum bag outside). Only take your luggage to your room once you’re sure it’s free of bugs.
Launder your clothes upon returning home
Bed bugs and their eggs can be killed by high temperatures, so wash the contents of your luggage (and the cases and bags themselves, if possible) before storing them in other parts of your house. This is the best way to be 100% sure that your possessions are free from pests once you return home.
Bed bugs are nocturnal pests that can be found all over the world, and often get from A to B by hitching a ride in people’s luggage. They are especially common in hotel rooms, hostels, and guesthouses, where the high turnover of visitors means there is an increased likelihood of guests transporting these pests in from their last accommodation. If you encounter bed bugs during your vacation, you are not only at risk of falling prey to their itchy bites, but there’s also a good chance they could follow you home by hiding away in your suitcase.
Always inspect linen and mattresses carefully before you lie down to sleep, and keep your bags by the door when you get home until you’re sure there are no bed bugs inside. Laundering your clothes when you return home is the best way to make sure your possessions are bedbug-free, as they are killed by high temperatures.