How To Prevent Bed Bugs After Travel

How to prevent bed bugs after travel

Find out how you can prevent bed bug infestation while you travel.

As you and your family members travel on holidays and vacations, it is important for everyone to be aware that bed bugs are a growing problem in many hotels and motels.

No longer is bed bugs infestation just a problem in cheap hotels with poor sanitation, nowadays even the most luxurious five-star hotels and resorts can be infested.

According to the National Pest Management Association, beg bug infestations have grown at an alarming rate and complaints about bed bugs are up 81 % since 2000.

While getting bitten by bed bugs when travelling can already be uncomfortable and unfortunate,
it will only get worse if those tiny bloodsuckers hitchhike back with you to your home.

And once your home is infested, getting rid of these pests will become a very time consuming and expensive affair costing thousand of dollars and weeks to completely exterminate them.

Therefore, it pays to be extra careful when you travel.

By performing a few simple checks, you can can limit your exposure to bed bugs during your travels and help ensure that you don’t bring any unwanted guests back home with you.

Here’s a simple checklist on how to best avoid and prevent bed bugs when you first check-in to your hotel room:

Inspect Your Bed

  • The vast majority of bed bugs found in hotels are usually found in the mattress or in furnitures near the bed. Therefore the first logical step is to conduct a very basic visual inspection of the mattress.
  • Start by removing the bed linens and look at the four corners of the mattress, follow by the seams and the underside of the mattress.
  • Look for any signs of live bugs, their dark droppings or shed skins that may indicate the presence of bed bugs.

Taking Care of Your Bags

  • Be careful where you put your luggage. Do not place your bags near the places where bed bugs are typically found – on the bed, on the sofa or any type of upholstered furniture.
  • If the room has an elevated luggage stand, use it.
  • Remember to keep your bags closed or zipped up at all times when not in use.
  • If you want to be extra safe, you may also want to place toiletries, books, electronics and even jewelry seal up in Ziploc bags.
If despite the inspections, you start developing unexplained welts on your skin that itch and you suspect that those are bed bug bites , notify the hotel or resort manager in charge about the problem immediately and request that they move you to another room.

Checklist for you to prevent bed bugs infestation when you arrive home:

Unpacking Your Bags

  • Upon returning home, unpack your bags in a brightly lit area, away from your bed, sofa and upholstered furniture.
  • Always unpack your baggage one piece at a time. As you remove the items from your bag, give it a visual inspection to check for any bed bugs.
  • Take out all of your washable clothings to be hot laundered (minimum 120В°F) for at least 20 minutes. Clothes that can be only dry clean should be seal up till you can properly care for them later.

Important:While these checks are not absolute guarantees to help you prevent contact with bed bugs during your travel, however, they can greatly reduce the chances and probability that bed bugs are brought back to your home.

Tip:If you travel often, you may also want to consider getting a bed bug proof mattress encasement that will help protect your bed from being infested by bed bugs that do make it into your home (thus preventing an extremely inconvenient and costly bed bug extermination process.)

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How to Prevent Bed Bugs

Updated: April 11, 2019

This article was co-authored by Jurdy Dugdale, RN. Jurdy Dugdale is a Registered Nurse in Florida. She received her Nursing License from the Florida Board of Nursing in 1989.

There are 22 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Bed bugs are a growing concern since they’ve become more common in recent years and are extremely difficult to exterminate. While hotels are high on the list of bed bug concerns, any public place can be a haven for bed bugs. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent a bed bug infestation in your home. By avoiding contaminated materials, avoiding bed bugs while traveling, and protecting your home, you can prevent bed bugs.

Related wikiHows

About this article

To prevent bed bugs, use protective plastic covers on your mattress and box springs so bed bugs will not be able to infect your bed even if you accidentally bring them home. When you’re staying in a hotel, check the sheets, mattress, and headboard for small brownish bugs, and contact management if you find any. Wash your travel clothes separately from your regular laundry and dry them on the highest possible heat setting. To learn how using essential oils can help repel bed bugs, read on!

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Preventing a Bed Bug Infestation When You Return Home From Traveling

Bed bug infestations continue to increase every year, and this can pose a stressful problem if your home becomes infected. Bed bug bites can cause rashes, itchiness, and possible severe allergic reactions depending on how your body reacts to a bite. Unfortunately, humans can not feel a bed bug biting them, so you can be resting peacefully, but wake up covered in rashes!

It is very common for bed bugs to invade your home after they latch onto your luggage while you are on vacation. Here is a step-by-step guide to make sure you do not take bed bugs home when you return from travelling!

Inspect Hotel Room for Bed Bugs

  1. Always place your luggage bag on a rack with steel legs in your hotel room. Steel is too slick for bed bugs to climb.
  2. Temporarily remove the sheets from the bed and inspect the piping on the mattress for bed bugs and insects.
  3. After you have inspected the mattress, inspect the bed’s headboard and the nightstands.

With these steps, you can prevent bringing home bedbugs from vacation.

Preventing Bed Bugs When You Return Home

In case you may have not seen bed bugs in your hotel room, here is another process to make sure there are none on your luggage when you do return home. Remember,never unpack your bags in a bed room or living room of any kind.

  1. Take your luggage bags with everything inside of it into your garage. If you do not have a garage, take it into the kitchen or an outside parking lot.
  2. Take all of the clothing you took for travelling, including the clothes you are wearing once you get home, and place it all inside a plastic bag.
  3. Take the bag directly to the washer and wash all clothes, even if they were unused. If the clothing travelled,WASH IT. Use the highest temperature water and drier setting that you can use without ruining your clothing.
  4. Go back to your empty suitcase and vacuum it both inside and out to remove bed bugs.
  5. Dispose the vacuum bag in a trash can that isoutside. If the vacuum is bagless, dump the contents of the vacuum in a trash canoutside.
  6. For further precautions, put alcohol on a cotton ball, and rub the cotton ball on narrow crevices of your luggage that your vacuum could not go in between.

For anything you can’t wash (ex. shoes), place it in a bag and leave the bag in a garage or out in the sun for a minimum of one day in order to kill the bed bugs. High temperatures kill bed bugs. If you can’t find a high temperature location to place the bag, carefully inspect the items for bed bugs before you place them in your home.

Never place luggage or clothes on your bed.

For a visual demonstration, here is a video:

17 Easy Tips To Prevent Bed Bugs

Learn the Best Ways to Keep Bed Bugs Away With These Expert Tips

Bed bugs present a major problem for households throughout North America. Since bed bugs need a safe, temperate environment to thrive, there are many places inside a home that provide perfect breeding conditions.

There are certain measures that you can take to prevent bed bugs from invading your home, but sometimes—even with the best preparations—bed bugs will still find their way into your house.

Bed bugs are elusive, and they typically hide in narrow cracks and crevices. Basically, anything you can slide a business card into will be an ideal hiding spot for a bed bug. It is also important to remember that bed bugs are not always found in a bed. They will shelter in any place that meets the necessary temperatures they require to live.

Knowledge is the key to prevention. Understanding what bed bugs look like, how they travel and where they congregate can prevent costly pest control treatments. The most common way for bed bugs to be transported is through exchanges in shared spaces like hotels or public transit.

By following our 17 bed bug prevention tips, anyone can prevent a bed bug infestation in less than one day.

#1 – Cover Power Outlets

Cover your power outlets – bed bugs use power outlets to evade extermination. They climb into the outlet holes and hide there until it is safe to move elsewhere. In cases of severe infestations, bed bugs can travel through walls via electrical outlets, effectively spreading the infestation to other areas of your home or business.

One of the ways that a bed bug infestation can be identified is through their droppings, which look like dark colored dots.

#2 – Store Your Clothing in Vacuum-Sealed Bags

This is especially important when traveling, since bed bugs are most commonly transferred from hotels. Purchase standard vacuum-sealed bags and store your clothing in these airtight vacuum bags when traveling. This will make your belongings less accessible to pests, and will prevent bed bugs from making their way home with you. Learn more about how bed bugs travel.

Place your seasonal clothing and fabric in the vacuum sealed bags and use your vacuum cleaner hose to remove the air from the bags and put them away. This method will prevent items like sweaters and blankets from being infested by bed bugs while stored away for future use.

#3 – Get Professional Bed Bug Treatment

If you are already dealing with an infestation, don’t fight the problem alone. Treating bed bugs is a complex process, and usually cannot be handled by home remedies alone. A professional bed bug treatment will safley, effectively, and most importantly, permanently eliminate bed bugs from your home or business.

If you’re dealing with a severe bed bug infestation, contact your local pest professionals to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.

It’s important to remember that professionals are trained to use the products and tools required for bed bug treatments.

Many of the techniques that are used to eliminate these household pests can be dangerous if not performed by a trained and certified professional.

Unfortunate instances of death and property damage have occurred when homeowners tried to take bed bug extermination into their own hands. Make sure to contact a bed bug pest control company to avoid any of these scary accidents.

#4 – Identify Early Signs of Bed Bugs

Educate yourself and your family about the signs of a bed bug infestation and how to identify bites.

Bites are typically small red marks that often appear in rows and can be itchy. When you know what bites look like you can identify a problem earlier and seek out assistance if necessary.

#5 – Vacuum Your Floor

Bed bugs aren’t only found in and around the bed. Bed bugs often hide within your carpet, so it’s important to thoroughly vacuum your carpets to ensure all bed bugs have been eliminated.

Vacuum all mattresses, box springs, and floors (especially where the floor and wall meet.) This can eliminate a bed bug infestation before it gets out of control.

After you have vacuumed the floors, remove vacuum bag, place in a sealed trash bag and dispose in an outdoor garbage can. This will prevent the bed bugs from escaping and getting back into your home.

#6 – Check Your Pets for Bed Bugs

Like human bedding, bed bugs can be attracted to your pet’s bed where they can also find warm crevices to lay eggs and feed.

Make sure to monitor the area where your pet sleeps, and inspect the bed and areas around the bed.

If possible, regularly wash the pet bed on the highest heat and dryer settings.

#7 – Cut Back On Clutter

Clean up clutter – the more clutter you have, the harder it will be to get rid of an infestation.

Start by eliminating clutter against walls, as these areas are particularly attractive hiding spots for bed bugs.

Donate, recycle or dispose of anything you no longer need.

Organize and properly store your belongings so they don’t become a bed bug’s paradise.

#8 – Cover Your Mattress

Put the mattress and box springs in encasements like mattress safe covers. Although this protects the mattress from getting infested, it does not get rid of an infestation.

Mattress covers are zippered casings that enclose an entire mattress. Covers of this type are for non-vinyl mattresses and box springs.

These casings should be made from top-quality fabric, typically cloth, so it’s durable and resistant to tears and folds. They have no folds around the zipper in which bed bugs can find shelter.

#9 – Use Bed Bug Monitors

Monitors like ClimbUp Monitors are made to go under the feet of the bed frame to help prevent bed bugs from reaching the bed (but that doesn’t mean they can’t get to you other ways!). It’s also a useful tool for monitoring your bedroom if you’re afraid you have bed bugs.

Place the devices under the foot of each bed post.

Clean these devices frequently, and search for the source so you can identify and quickly get rid of bed bug infestations.

#10 – Inspect Your Furniture Regularly

Check all your furniture for signs of bed bugs. Begin your search with furniture that has cracks or is used, vintage or antique.

Perform a preliminary inspection before purchasing used furniture.

#11 – Always Check Used Items

Used items, even harmless products like electronics, can be perfect hiding spaces for bed bugs.

Even if something “looks clean”, you should always perform basic checks to any vulnerable goods that you plan on bringing into your home.

Check the vents on all used electronics before purchasing.

Items like stereo receivers, televisions, computers, remotes, and game systems have vents where bed bugs can easily hide.

#12 – Avoid Moving Blankets

Avoid using moving blankets provided by a moving company, and use your own instead. The blankets may not be cleaned regularly and could be infested with bed bugs from another person’s belongings.

#13 – Seal Your Home From Bed Bugs

Bed bugs enter the home in many ways. They can travel on the coats of pets, rodents, or birds. They can also travel on clothing and luggage, and be picked up on public transportation, at movie theaters and even in doctors’ offices.

Repair or apply silicone caulk to cracks on the outside and inside of your home. Remember, any opening that can fit a business card is the perfect hiding place for a bed bug.

Check window and screens to make sure there are no torn or damaged areas.

#14 – Beware Of Bed Bugs in Public Places

Bed bugs can also be found in unsuspected places like store dressing rooms, which provide safe havens for this parasitic pest.

They can be found in the cushioned seats in the dressing rooms and on the carpeted floors.

To avoid unwittingly taking them home on your clothing or purchases, hang your items on the provided wall hooks rather than the cushioned furniture provided in dressing areas.

#15 – Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling

Travelers run the risk of bringing bed bugs home from any hotel room bedding, furniture, or carpeting.

While traveling think “DREAM”

Determine if your room has signs of an infestation. Look for tiny rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams, and bed skirts.

Raise furniture and look for bed bugs. Hiding spots usually include underneath the mattress, bed frame and headboard. Typically, they come out at night to feed, but during the day they are most likely found within a 5 foot radius of the bed.

Examine your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall, since bed bugs can often hide behind headboards, artwork, picture frames and electrical outlet panels.

Assess your luggage carefully while repacking and when you return home. ALWAYS keep luggage off the bed and store it far away from your bedroom.

Move all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.

Check for bed bugs by removing bedding and searching the corners and folds of mattresses.

If there are bed bugs in the room, ask to be moved far from that room because bed bugs can easily travel to adjacent spaces. The rooms in the immediate vicinity are likely infested as well.

If your room has no bugs, still proceed with caution. Don’t place luggage or packages on the floor. Bring the memories home, but leave the bed bugs behind.

Watch this video to learn more tips about preventing bed bugs while traveling.

#16 – Bed Bugs From Laundromats

Shared laundry facilities are the perfect conduit for the transmission of bed bugs from one location to another.

Instead of carrying your laundry into and from the facility in an open clothes basket, opt for plastic bags.

Do not place your cleaned clothes on countertops or floors.

#17 – Learn How to Identify Bed Bugs

Not all small, oval, reddish-brown bugs are bed bugs. Before calling in the cavalry, make sure that you are fighting the right bug.

Most bed bug bites are found on the hands, arms, face, and neck. They cause itchy bumps that can resemble a rash or an allergic reaction. Bed bugs are ¼ of an inch long, and they hide in bedrooms or warm, hidden locations. Learn more about what bed bugs look like and how to properly identify them.

Unlike this flea (commonly found on cats), bed bugs have rounder bodies that are oval in appearance with legs tucked underneath them.


Don’t place your bed against the wall, placing a bed against the wall makes it easier for bed bugs to travel to other areas of your home.

Bed bug prevention begins with the understanding and knowledge of how to spot and eliminate breeding conditions. Despite their name, bed bugs can infest and breed in any part of your home. While they are commonly found in bedding, mattresses, box springs, and bed hardware, it is important to monitor your entire home in order to prevent bed bug infestations.

Eradicating bed bugs from a home can become an expensive and time-consuming because the likelihood of a reinfestation increases if the pests are not eliminated completely and thoroughly the first time. If you follow these tips, you can prevent your family and guests from getting bed bugs.

Don’t risk your safety and peace of mind—it’s possible that you may not be able to kill bed bugs without help. Professionals, like Catseye, have been protecting homes and families from pest infestations like these for many years. High-end pest management companies can enter your home and ensure that the bed bugs are removed completely.

So, if your dealing with a bed bug infestation, and these tips simply aren’t enough, be sure to contact your local pest professionals to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.

How To Prevent Bed Bugs

Knowinghow to prevent bed bugsfrom entering your home can protect your family from discomfort and expense. As with most household pests, they are easier to prevent than eliminate. That’s why it’s so remarkable that at one point bedbugs were almost eradicated in the developed world.

Around the mid-90s, bedbugs became big news again, thanks to a combination of increased international travel and changes in laws about pesticide use. Nowadays, the average consumer can’t buy effective bed bug killing sprays and must hire a professional. Depending on where you live, that can run from $1,000-$1,500.

Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to prevent bed bugs. Doing so will protect your home and family as well as your wallet.

How To Prevent Bed Bugs

Bed Bug nymph (L) and adult (R) feeding on human host. Source: Wikipedia

Bed Bug Life Stages

Bedbugs have three life stages. The eggs hatch in 2-6 days from breeding. Once hatched, they become nymphs which molt around five times before becoming adults, always after a feeding. Oh, and nymphs can go severalmonthsbetween feedings! As adults, they typically live 2 to 4 months — but under ideal conditions, they can liveup to a year.

Signs of Bedbug Infestations

Bedbugs are active at night when they scurry out from their favorite hiding places to feed on blood — yours as well as your pet’s. They spend 2 to 5 minutes eating, the hide and remain inactive until their next meal.

Many people don’t realize they have bedbugs until they wake with itchy red bites, usually in clusters of three. These clusters often appear on the head and neck or where the edges of bedding touch a sleeping person’s body. Those itchy spots could easily be mistaken for spider or mosquito bites, but if you wake with new ones several nights in a row, it’s time to start looking for other evidence of bedbugs in your home.

One of the telltale signs is dark spots and smears on sheets and pillows which are left behind by the bugs as they feed. In severe infestations, you may also discover molted bug skins and carcasses.

Don’t Carry Them into Your Home

To keep bedbugs from entering your home, you need to be vigilant.

1. Don’t “dumpster dive”or scavenge curbs for mattresses, upholstered furniture, clothing, or anything soft.

2. Clean second-hand furniture outdoorswhen you buy it. Be sure to remove all drawers before cleaning, inspect all crevices, and clean underneath the item, too.

3. Wash newly-purchased clothingimmediately and run it through the dryer for at least 20 minutes to kill bedbug eggs. If you can’t launder it right away, seal it in a plastic bag until you can.

4. When moving,skip the cardboard boxes from behind the liquor store. Either buy your own or get donations from bedbug-free friends.

5. Don’t put things on your bed, including backpacks, shopping bags, purses, or other items. (This includes guests’ coats when you’re throwing a party.)

6. If your area has a bed bug problem,consider putting bedbug interceptors at the base of your beds’ legs. If bedbugsdomake it into your home, interceptors make it more difficult for them to make their home in your bed.

Don’t Bring Them Home When You Travel

Hotel reviews aren’t always reliable. Summer camps aren’t required to warn if they have bedbug problems. You should take additional measures to avoid bringing bedbugs home from your travels.

1. Don’t put your suitcase on the bed.Either use the bag holder if there is one or put them in the bathtub until you’ve had a chance to inspect the room.

2. Check for signs of bed bugssuch as dark spots and smears, or dead bugs that look like squashed watermelon seeds. Look on the mattress, especially around the edges and on top of the box spring, behind artwork and headboards, on curtain liners, and in dresser drawers or closets.

3. Immediately launder clothing upon return. Use the hottest setting the fabric can handle and run everything through the dryer where heat will kill eggs. (Temperatures of 122°F for 20 minutes will kill all stages of bedbugs in clothing, while other items require greater heat.)

4. Freeze what can’t be laundered.For items that can’t be washed or subjected to heat, freezing for three days also kills bed bugs. Be sure to wrap the thing in a tightly sealed plastic bag first.

5. Vacuum your suitcaseand pack it in a plastic bag before storage, then clean your vacuum cleaner.

DIY Bed Bug Control Doesn’t Work

If you’ve found bedbugs in your home, it’s time to call the professionals. I don’t say that often — in fact, I recommend DIY methods for dealing with cockroaches, spiders, mice, and pantry moths. But when it comes to bedbugs, home treatments don’t cut it.

DIY steam treatments don’t remain at the proper temperature long enough, and homemade bed bug sprays don’t penetrate the bugs’ exoskeletons. Most DIY bed bug treatments send bed bugs looking for other hiding spots in your home, making it that much harder to get rid of them.

That said, there are two things youshoulddo in conjunction with professional bed bug treatments:

1. While waiting for your appointment,give your mattresses a thorough cleaning and enclose them in mattress protectors.

2. After professional treatment,vacuum your entire home weekly for the following three months, including all soft furnishings and curtains, to ensure you’ve eliminated any remaining eggs and nymphs.

Remember: diligence is your friend when it comes to knowing how to prevent bed bugs. So, “Night night, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

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