What you expect is a room where you can relax and enjoy your stay. It should go without saying that you want it to be free of bed bugs, bites or even a bad case of the heebie-jeebies. Don’t let unwelcome “roommates” crash your vacation—or worse, stow away back home with your luggage. Here are some precautions to take:
1. Do Your Research
Your bed-bug check should start at the planning stage. These critters don’t discriminate and may be found at any hotel, no matter how many stars it promises. So it’s best to do some research on your hotel of choice on bedbugregistry.com or badbedbugs.com before you book.
2. Check The Room For Signs Of Bed Bugs
When you first enter, stow your luggage temporarily in the bathroom while you perform a room inspection. Pull up the sheets and inspect the mattress, especially along the seams. Bed bugs themselves are usually visible, but you’re more likely to see the droppings they leave behind, in the form of tiny brownish-red or black dots. Look behind the headboard and behind any bedside tables. Lastly, check any other nooks and crannies in chairs, pillows and drapery, windowsills and even behind picture frames or peeled-back wallpaper.
If you see any bed bugs, specks, eggs or casings, grab your bags and report your findings to the front desk. Request a different room or move to a new hotel and repeat the inspection.
3. Protect Your Belongings
Even if you don’t find any sign of bed bugs, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not there, so it’s best to take precautions. Keep your stuff off the floor and the bed. Store suitcases on a luggage rack or other hard surface (away from the walls), and to be extra safe, carry along large trash bags to keep them in. Also pack your clothing and shoes in resealable plastic bags inside your suitcase, and keep them sealed when not in use. Dirty laundry should also be stored in sealed plastic bags before they go back in your suitcase, just in case of contamination.
4. Do A Post-Vacation Cleaning
Back at home, launder everything (even if you didn’t wear it) in hot water and transfer to a dryer for at least 30 minutes. (Dry cleaning should also do the trick.)
These few extra steps may seem like a hassle, but that’s nothing compared to the time and money you’ll spend trying to exterminate unwanted stowaways if they follow you home.
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