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Because you can't spend all day every day journeying around IgoUgo, editors round up the highlights: members' notable trips, newest reviews, favorite destinations, contests, and more. Have a question or idea? Let us know!

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How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling

How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling Photo

Photo by Travelny2

Posted on October 22, 2010 in Travel Tips

If you've ever woken up with bed bug bites (some of our IgoUgo family definitely has!), we feel for you. If not, take care. Whether you're staying in a 4-star hotel or seedy hostel, bed bugs can find you. And bite you. And even travel with you. So before you leave on your next vacation, brush up on how to bug-proof your gear--and yourself.

If you're not at least a little concerned about bed bugs by now, you haven't been paying attention: They're on the rise. Want to stay bug-free on the go? Read on.

  • Pre-booking, avoid bug-bombed spots.
    Search IgoUgo travelers' hotel reviews--there's close to 600 mentions of “bed bugs” now! If reviewers have complained about bugs, skip it. To be extra-safe, pack in a hard case without zippers (yep, tiny, skinny bed bugs can climb through zippers), and store your clothes in bug-proof, airtight plastic bags.

  • Sequester your gear and inspect the bed immediately.
    Don't set your suitcase or pack down on the bed or carpeting if you can avoid it. Bed bugs live in fabric, and can easily hitch a ride onto your things, given a chance. Set your bags on an elevated luggage rack or fabric-free surface like the bathroom floor. Then, inspect the bed. Bed bugs leave identifiable red or brown spots (fecal matter and blood stains) in clusters. Pull back the sheets and look for marks on the corners, seams, and the spot where the headboard connects to the bed.

  • If you find bugs, or suspect bugs, don't stick around.
    Report it to the hotel management, and ask for a refund. Think twice about simply changing rooms...if one room is infested, it's likely that all are infested. (If you’re in an area where lodging is cheap and you've paid a only few bucks for a room, consider just leaving--rather than fighting with the manager.)

  • If you've had bugs--or just want to be extra-careful--wash everything you own immediately when you return.
    Bed bugs can withstand temperatures up to 100 degrees so make sure you wash all of your clothing (bags too!) in 120 degree water. If your bags are unwashable, vacuum every seam or crevice, seal the vacuum bag, and throw it away.

  • Share your experience.
    Learned something about bed bugs that our community could benefit from? Share it. Recent reviews from members chchp and elukais will convince you you're not alone.

  • Posted by SpecialK3883 (Kelly L. Phillips)

NomadSue

Comment by NomadSue on November 20, 2010

Goodness! So far have been lucky enough not to have come across these horrible critters (hmm...there was something strange crawling on the bed at the Youth Hostel in Calgary...I wonder...?) and will take this advice VERY seriously. Many thanks.

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