Learning how to protect yourself from bedbugs when traveling is key. When staying at a hotel, motel, hostel, resort, or bed and breakfast, it’s a good idea to fully inspect your room for bedbugs as soon as you arrive. Continue reading to get the entire bedbug protocol to prepare for your next trip!
You don’t want to get comfortable or unpack until you have checked to see if your room has bedbugs. If possible, always bring a flashlight with you when you travel; this will make it easier to inspect your room. If you don’t have one, you can use the light on your mobile phone.

As soon as you arrive, put your suitcase and bags in the bathroom or tub — these areas are less likely to have bedbugs. Never put your suitcase, clothing or personal items on the bed as this is the most common way for bedbugs to get into your possessions and hitch a ride to your home.

1) Do a quick room inspection

Start your inspection with the mattress, this is the most common area for bedbugs. Carefully, remove the sheets and mattress pad inspecting the four corners of the mattress and box spring. Another important place to inspect for bedbugs is the room’s luggage rack or valet. Inspect it paying special attention to its cracks and crevices. Bedbugs may be on the luggage rack if they hitched a ride on a previous traveler’s luggage.

2) Conduct a more thorough inspection

For a more in-depth inspection of your room, inspect along all edging and seams of the mattress and box spring, as well as the headboard. If the headboard is attached to the wall, use your flashlight or mobile phone’s light to look in the crack between the wall and the headboard. Next, inspect the furniture around the bed, and any pictures hanging on the wall. Bedbugs are known to hide around and behind pictures and on furniture. Make sure you inspect all the cracks and crevices of the night stand, including screw holes and in the drawers. Once you are certain that these areas do not have bedbugs, inspect the rest of the room’s furniture, especially upholstered chairs.

3) Additional precautions you can take

When staying in a hotel, it is a good idea to bring along a large plastic bag to put your dirty clothes into. Bedbugs are attracted to the chemical smell that we leave behind on our clothing. Putting your dirty clothing into a plastic bag will greatly reduce the chance that any bedbugs will hitch a ride on these items, and come home with you.

If you find bedbugs in your room, notify the front desk immediately and ask to be moved to a new room, which is nowhere near your current room.

4) What you should do when you return home

If you are worried that there were bedbugs where you stayed while traveling, here is what you should when you get home:

  • Immediately launder all the clothing you brought with you on your trip.
  • Vacuum your suitcase, inside and out. Once you have finished vacuuming it, immediately discard the contents of the vacuum in a plastic bag, seal it, put it in the trash, and empty your trash bin.
  • Shoes can be wiped down with a damp cloth and hot water to reduce the risk of them being infested with bedbugs.
  • Watch this helpful video on how to avoid bedbug hitchhikers when traveling for future trips.