Vacations are fun, relaxing and rejuvenating. You see sights, go on adventures and eat food you’d otherwise walk past at home. It’s fun to take vacations and go to new places.
Most people grew up hearing the old axiom: “Good night, sleep tight- don’t let the bedbugs bite.” I remember thinking they weren’t real, like the boogeyman.
Imagine my surprise when I found out they were real, and were far worse than any boogeyman. The boogeyman only got you when you went outside. The bedbugs fed on you while you were asleep in your own bed. Yikes.
The only way to kill them is by heat remediation. An infestation is expensive. There is no guarantee your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will cover the cost.
You could pick up a bug in a movie theater, hotel, a friend’s house or other public place. That doesn’t mean you should never visit friends or go anywhere.
I live in a hotel at the moment. A few rooms were reported to have problems with the pests. The hotel bought used furniture from another hotel; the bugs came in with the delivery.
Fortunately, only a few rooms were affected. The hotel moved quickly and eradicated the problem.
Hotel cleanliness is not the issue. The bugs have nothing to do with dirt. They come in with visitors. I did some online research to learn how to avoid them.
You can avoid them by following a few steps:
- When entering a hotel room, place your suitcase on the stand or on the bathroom floor. You can see bugs crawling on the floor.
- If you see bedbugs in the room, turn around and demand another room. Be prepared to go to another hotel if necessary.
- Don’t set your luggage down or unpack until you check the room.
- If you hear that a room in the hotel has them, don’t let the occupants come into your room. Do not go into that room.
- If you spot a bedbug while you are in the hotel, contact the front desk. The hotel should move quickly to solve the problem.
- While the room is undergoing heat remediation, you need to wash everything you own and dry it on high heat for one-half to one hour. They are only killed by heat.
- Wash luggage, boxes, etc. thoroughly in the tub. Scrub everything. When the items are dry, you can store them in tightly closed plastic bags. Large trash bags tied securely work well to prevent bugs from crawling in and travelling with you. Retailers sell zipper-closed bags for your luggage.
- When you return home, wash everything again and dry on high heat. Wash the luggage and items again thoroughly. This is just in case that single bug has hitched a ride with you. It may seem labor-intensive, but it is far less intensive than the alternative.
- You can purchase disposable mattress bags, pillow bags and bed cups. The packages will tell you how to use them. Bugs cannot escape the bags or bite through it to get to you. Leave them when you leave the hotel.
- Strip the bed and inspect the top and underside of the mattress. Spots of blood, specks that move and spots resembling pepper or mold should be pointed out to the hotel staff. A response of “…we just spray for them, don’t worry,” isn’t good enough. The bugs are immune to sprays.
- Carefully inspect the rest of the furniture. Books, pictures, nightstand, the TV, phone and everything in the room should be scrutinized.
- If you have to change rooms, ask for one two floors or more than two doors away. Not all hotels have more than two floors.
- While at the moment no proof exists that bedbugs carry disease, they do drink blood and the wounds they cause could become infected. This is especially true for children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
We plan our vacations to avoid mosquitoes, ants and other critters. Avoiding bedbugs should be on your list.
I have not seen a single bug in my room, but I do keep watch. My hotel is really good about taking care of problems quickly.
Source: Scott Maywerowitz, “Five Tips To Avoid Bedbugs,” ABC news website, 29 September, 2010
Source: Amanda MacMillan, “15 Tips For Avoiding Bedbugs,” Health.com website, no date given