Bed Bugs and Hotels – What to do.

Summer break has arrived again, and that time of year where everyone wants to get away, even for just a long weekend.  The issue is now we are all concerned about is: Where to stay that isn’t infested with bedbugs?  How do we even look for bedbugs??  Don’t fret!  Our guide below will tell you all about bed bugs, hotels and what to do.

We’ll tell you about the signs to look for, how to avoid even making reservations at bed bug plagued hotels, how to prevent bringing bed bugs home with you, and most importantly what to do if you spot bed bugs in your hotel room.

Bed Bugs and Hotels – What to do

The most important thing you can do before you start your traveling is checking out reviews on any hotel you plan to stay at to see if other travelers have reported encountering bedbugs in the hotel, motel or even bed and breakfasts.  You can check for hotels with bed bugs by going to free online resources like Bed Bug Registry, Trip Advisor, or Yelp to find if anyone has reported bed bugs.

Don’t just assume that because you are staying at a five-star hotel that there will not be bedbugs, even they like to live in nice places. Remember though, that sometimes people can write false reviews,  it could be an upset ex-employee or a competing hotel writing a poor review to discourage people from staying there.  Also, even though the hotel has had bed bugs in one room, it doesn’t mean that they are infesting throughout the hotel.  

When you first check into a hotel, we know it is tempting to just sit back and relax, visit the mini bar or even check out your room view, but you should always check your room for bedbugs before you do anything!

Always place your luggage in the bathroom before unpacking so that you can thoroughly check the room first.  Bed bugs don’t like the tile flooring because there is nowhere to hide.   

How to check for bed bugs in a hotel

Now the fun begins!  Let’s try to find some bed bugs.  

You’ll want to start with the bed first:

  1. check the linens (including dust ruffles or anything cloth).  
  2. Next, check the mattress seams, especially the corners.
  3. Lift up the mattress to check the box springs as well.  
  4. Check the headboard of the bed.  Most of the time, the headboards will be attached to the wall so it would be ideal to check the cracks joining the wall.  While doing this you want to check any joints and screw holes.

You will also want to check out the surrounding area of the bed, like the nightstand and dresser drawers, under the telephone, behind pictures even in books.  Also check the couches under the cushions and in the seams, any soft chairs (don’t forget the decorative pillows, zipper, and seams).  Look in any areas that you may be placing your clothes.  There have been studies that show you can find bed bugs up to fifteen feet away from the beds, possible further.  

Tip – Always carry a small LED flashlight with you while you travel, this will make it easier to search for bed bugs.   

What are you looking for exactly?

Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and they are flat. You will be looking for little spots of blood stains, bug skin sheddings or black specks that could be feces.  While unlikely, you might even encounter a live bed bug – trust us, they’ll be moving.  They are generally red in color (if they fed recently) or dark brown.

Bed Bugs Look Like

>> Read more about what bed bugs look like.

Luggage and Bed Bugs

After you have thoroughly checked the room you will want to keep your luggage off the floor because the room next to yours may have bed bugs in it and they can travel over to your room. Place your luggage either on the dresser or up on the luggage racks.  

Make sure you don’t leave your clothes lying around! It is always important to bring a plastic bag for your dirty clothes because bedbugs can smell any chemical that is left behind on our clothes.  

Another great idea is to place your luggage in plastic bags, containers or even better, bed bug liners.  These will help keep them from making their way into your luggage and travel home with you, a very common problem.

What to do if you find bed bugs?

bed bugsIf you find any signs of bed bugs, this is reason enough to get a new room immediately.  Make sure that you are moved at least two floors away from the room you found them in because they can spread through the electrical sockets and wallboards.  

It is IMPORTANT that you speak up if you find bedbugs, hotels don’t want to be infested with them nor do they want their guests to leave with them.  Plus, this will give them a chance to immediately take care of the problem.

Once moved, if you find bed bugs or signs of them in the new room as well, leave the hotel immediately.

Time to leave the hotel

Now it’s time to head home.  Once you get home you will need to run all your clothes through the dryer for at least thirty minutes, even the ones that you didn’t get a chance to wear.  

These little guys cannot last in high temperatures.  You will also want to vacuum out your luggage and empty the vacuum into a plastic bag.  Once you do this, just put your luggage in the basement, attic or garage.  Again they cannot survive in high temperatures (above 120F).  If you travel often, you should consider investing in ZappBug Oven, a portable heater designed for your clothes.

We know that it seems like a lot of trouble to check out the room when you get there but doing so will be well worth to avoid bringing any unwelcomed guests home with you!  Trust us as well, the time spent to avoid the bed bugs could save you thousands of dollars treating them later.

Wrapping Up

Check your hotel room for bed bugs immediately.  Leave your luggage outside the room, or put it in the bathroom, and immediately inspect for bed bugs.  If you find signs or bed bugs yourself, leave the room right away, and inform management staff.  Get another room at least two floors away, and if that room has them, leave the hotel.

Remember too always practice proper prevention tips, to avoid bringing any bed bugs into your home when you return as well.

For more information on bed bugs and hotels, see our articles:


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