When you’ve finally tallied those vacation days and decided to hit the road with family and/or friends, the last thing you need is a case of the bed bugs getting in the way of your plans. Unlike the home, the precautions necessary to avoid bed bugs in foreign beds carries with it a new set of potential troubles. We’ve compiled the best ways to prevent carrying dreaded bed bugs home with you from your trip.
- When you arrive at the room, place your bags in a well-lit area with a tiled floor, like the kitchen or bathroom. There are fewer places for bed bugs to hide in these rooms and it will give you time to check things out. Unless it’s necessary, you should always keep your clothes in your luggage instead of using the drawers.
- One of the first things you should do is scan the room for the bugs themselves. Bed bugs are round, brown, between two and four millimeters in length, and some are slightly translucent. Instead of seeing bed bugs in plain sight, it is more likely that you will find discarded shells or dark spots that show where the bugs have been. The logical place to start is the bed, but you should also pay some attention to the small seams and crevices of any other furniture.
- Just because you don’t see bed bugs, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Bed bug bites show up as little red bumps where the insect fed and left an irritated patch of skin. The marks usually occur in straight lines around the same area or may involve rashes and irritation in sensitive cases. If these signs are present after a night, presume that your clothes and personal belongings are also compromised.
- Whether or not you sustain bites does not rule out the possibility of stowaway bed bugs. When they do travel, it’s usually in the seams of luggage and clothing. Make sure you give these items a thorough inspection before taking them inside your home. Even if you don’t initially suspect an infestation, it’s wise to leave your empty suitcases outside or in the garage until you’ve made sure they are clean.
- If you suspect bed bugs are in your luggage or clothing, you should take steps to separate all items that have come in contact with the infested item(s). Be sure to separate clothing in a plastic bag and seal it as tight as possible. Clothing, even if it’s unworn, should be tossed into the wash directly from the suitcase, or put in the dryer on high heat for twenty minutes.
- When it comes to parasites, sometimes a little paranoia is good practice. It is important to pass these prevention tips along to your traveling companions. Children may require additional reminders, since they are likely to ignore anything that impedes fun unless it’s important.