Hotel Bed Bugs Tips for Travelers

Hotel bed bugs are big concern this time of year.  Here are a few tips to prevent hotel bed bugs from becoming a souvenir during your next holiday vacation.

Hotel Bed Bugs - Tips for travelling

Hotel Bed Bugs Are In Every Class of Hotel

It is important to understand that bed bugs are not always a direct result of the class of hotel where they may harbor.  Five star luxury hotels suffer from hotel bed bug infestations from time to time.  Likewise, some economy hotels may be fortunate enough to escape the hotel bed bug infestation their competitors are battling.  This is important to keep in mind, as bed bugs are not discerning hotel guests and will settle in comfortably anywhere that offers them shelter and a warm body to feed upon.

Hotel Bed Bugs Do Not Indicate The Hotel is “Dirty”

It is a common myth that the presence of hotel bed bugs means that the hotel does not take their housekeeping practices seriously.  This is not always the case.  All it takes for a hotel bed bug infestation to begin, is one guest with bed bugs in their luggage to crawl out upon arrival to investigate their new surroundings.  With worldwide travel so commonplace, hotel bed bugs can travel the world freely.  The reason we bring up this point is to stress to you that a spotless, well-appointed hotel offers everything a bed bug needs to survive.  With that in mind, do not allow a clean hotel to give you a false sense of security when you travel.

Research Your Hotel Before You Book

You can check the Bed Bug Registry for the incidence of hotel bed bugs.  The Bed Bug Registry is a public database with reviews by hotel guests who reported hotel bed bugs.  It is important to note that most hotels at one time or another have been affected by hotel bed bugs.  One or two guest reviews may not necessarily mean that the hotel you intend to stay at is problematic.  We suggest that like any internet review site, you take the information with a grain of salt, and consider the amount of reports and how the hotel responded to the guest when considering your accommodation.

Hotel Bed Bug Travel Tips

Your concern about hotel bed bugs is a valid concern.  These tips will help you become fairly confident that your hotel room is bed bug free so you can enjoy your trip.  And, these tips will help you prevent bringing bed bugs home in your luggage.

Before You Pack

Using a cheap plastic spray bottle fill with a 50/50 mixture of plain rubbing alcohol and water.  Lightly spray the inside and outside of your luggage with the alcohol mixture before packing.  The rubbing alcohol will help neutralize human scent on your clothing and personal belongings, which attract bed bugs.

Things To Pack In Your Luggage

  1. The spray bottle with your 50/50 alcohol and water mixture
  2. Flashlight (any household flashlight will do)

Upon Arrival: Check For Hotel Bed Bugs

When you arrive at your hotel, place your luggage on top of the luggage rack immediately.  Do not ever put your luggage on the bed or on the floor of a hotel room.

Now you are going to take the flashlight you packed and do a quick check of your room for evidence of hotel bed bugs.  This only takes a few minutes and will save you loads of hassles in the long-run.

Inspect each corner of the hotel bed for bed bugs

If you are not sure what you are actually looking for, visit our Bed Bugs Pictures and What Do Bed Bugs Look Like articles.

  1. Remove all layers of bedding from each corner of the mattress.
  2. In each corner you remove, check each layer of bedding for blood spots and / or live bed bugs.
  3. Also check each corner of the mattress (top and bottom sides).  Pay close attention to areas around seams, labels, & tufts using your flashlight.  You are looking for black spotting or anything that appears to be crawling around.
  4. Slide the mattress over a little bit while inspecting each corner, and use the same methodology as the mattress to check the corners of the top and bottom of box spring for evidence of bed bugs.
  5. Use your flashlight to inspect flooring immediately surrounding each foot of the bed.  Again you are checking for black spots, blood stains, fecal matter, and live bed bugs.

Inspect the area immediately surrounding the hotel bed for signs of bed bugs

Chances are, if your room has hotel bed bugs, they will be on the bed or around the bed area.  We recommend using your flashlight to also check the areas immediately surrounding the bed for signs of hotel bed bugs.

  1. Headboard – check the headboard, paying close attention to seams and tufts for any indication of bed bugs.
  2. Nightstand – check the inside and outside of the nightstand for signs of bed bug activity.  Don’t forget to use your flashlight and shine the light into each seam and corner inside the drawer to make sure the drawers are bed bug free.
  3. Dresser Drawers – if you plan to stay for a while and will use the dresser drawers provided by the hotel, we recommend you also check the dresser for bed bug activity.  Use the same method as the nightstand, checking inside each drawer using your flashlight, especially around seams and in the corners.

Protect Your Luggage From Hotel Bed Bugs

Now you have inspected your hotel room and you are fairly sure there are no bed bugs.  Whether you unpack your clothing or not, we recommend that you spray the inside and outside of your luggage again with the alcohol mixture.

To prevent hotel bed bugs from gaining access to your luggage, leave your bags on the provided luggage rack – do not leave your bags on the floor or on the bed.

At the conclusion of your stay, spray the inside and outside of your luggage again with the alcohol mixture.

Prevent Bringing Hotel Bed Bugs Home At The End Of Your Trip

Note, bed bugs can crawl into your luggage at the airport and while stowed in the airplane, too.  This is why additional care when you arrive at home, even being fairly certain that hotel bed bugs were not present during your trip.

  1. As soon as you arrive at home, remove all clothing from your luggage and place it straight into the laundry.  Or, place your clothing into a sealed plastic garbage bag until you are ready to launder your clothing.
  2. Drycleaning should also be in a sealed bag until you drop it off at dry cleaners.
  3. One last time, spray the inside and outside of your luggage before storing it in your home.

What To Do If You Find Hotel Bed Bugs

  1. If you find hotel bed bugs while traveling, it is imperative that you call the front desk right away.  Notify the management of the hotel that you found bed bugs.  Usually a hotel will accommodate you by moving you to a different guest room and the hotel will quarantine the bed bug infested room until their pest control company arrives to take care of the bed bug problem.
  2. Of course, thoroughly inspect your new guest room as outlined above.
  3. If the new room also shows signs of bed bugs, you may want to reconsider your accommodation.

Download additional tips on a bed bug pocket card from the EPA’s website.

With twenty years experience in serving hotels throughout NY and NJ, Titanium Laboratories is a leading expert on eliminating hotel bed bugs.


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