The long hot days of summer are here again. School’s out and it’s time to pack up the kids and head out for summer vacation. It’s the time of year we all look forward to. A few weeks where we can set aside our responsibilities and just have some fun.
Whatever your destination this year you don’t want your vacation to be ruined by bed bugs. But travel and bed bugs go hand-in-hand. Hotels and resorts can be hot spots for bed bug activity. So chances of being exposed to these pests are fairly strong.
But never fear. We’ve got some tips to help you avoid bed bugs on your summer vacation. Ten of them in fact…
1 – Check Hotel Reviews
Before you start booking your holiday take the time to check out some online reviews. There are online registries that feature user-submitted reviews and reports of bed bug experiences. You can also check the online travel sites that host customer reviews to get a general idea of a hotel’s cleanliness and pest control reputation.
2 – Contact the Hotel or Resort
Online reviews are a good start. But you should always take them with a grain of salt. Disgruntled employees and other troublemakers could just be making mischief.
Once you’ve found a couple of likely bookings reach out to the hotels and resorts directly. Ask about past bed bug infestations. Ask about any programs they implemented to address their pest control needs – from prevention to treatment.
3 – Protect Your Belongings
When you check in the first thing you’ll want to do is inspect your room. But before you do that you’ll need to protect your luggage and other belongings. The best thing to do is park everything in the bathroom while you check out the room.
Bathrooms aren’t attractive hiding places for bed bugs. They don’t like the tile floors and there aren’t as many hiding places. They also want to be closer to their potential victims. They’re more likely to be found around the beds and dressers than in the bathroom.
4 – Inspect the Beds
The first thing you want to inspect is the bed. Pull back the linens and check the mattress thoroughly. Look around the sides of the mattress as well as underneath. Don’t forget to check behind the headboard as well.
Look for blood stains or small black spots. Also keep an eye out for any eggs or shed exoskeletons. And of course you’ll want to watch for any actual bed bugs. If you see any signs of bed bugs alert the hotel staff immediately.
5 – Inspect the Room
Next, you want to broaden your search. Check around the bed and in the cushions and stitching of any incidental furniture. Check out the closet, including any shelving. Look behind picture frames and dressers and along the edges of the carpet.
Take your time and thoroughly check out the whole room before you begin to unpack.
6 – Keep Your Luggage Secure
When you retrieve your luggage from the bathroom you’ll want to avoid leaving your bags on the floor. Or, come to that, on the spare bed. Any bed bug s you may have missed in your initial search may migrate to your suitcases. The idea is to minimize your chances of bringing home any unwanted visitors.
Store your suitcases on a luggage rack, on top of a dresser, or on a desktop. You should also try to avoid leaving any clothes scattered around the room. Dirty clothes should be stored in a resealable plastic bag or other container to prevent any stray bed bugs from camping out.
7 – Be Bold and Speak Up
Most of us don’t like to make waves. But if you have found any signs of bed bug activity in your rooms you need to speak with the management immediately. Now’s not the time to be shy. Remember, it’s also in the hotel’s best interests to know if they have a growing bed bug problem. They will want to know if they need to call in a professional inspection and removal service.
So if your inspection turns up any sign of bed bugs go straight to the main desk. Report what you’ve found and ask to be moved to another room.
8 – Move Two Floors Away (at least)
Any sign of bed bugs is enough to ask to be moved to a different room. You’re not being out of line here. You’re paying good money you deserve to be safe from any unwanted pests during your stay.
Request that your party be moved to a room that is at lest two floors sway from your original room. Bed bugs can travel via electrical sockets and through joins in the wall. So you want to put as much distance between yourself and your old room as possible.
9 – Make a Post Vacation Plan
When you get back home the first thing you want to do is wash all of your clothes. Even things you didn’t wear. Wash everything in hot water and dry at the hottest settings. Dry everything for at least 30 minutes. This will help kill and bed bugs or bed bug eggs you may have accidentally picked up.
Inspect your luggage for any signs of bed bugs. Clean out the suitcases – vacuuming if possible – before storing them away.
10 – Don’t Panic
Not so much a tip as a reminder. You’re on vacation. Enjoy yourself. While these tips may make it sound like you’re going to be under attack you won’t be. Stay alert and take precautions. But don’t get paranoid. Enjoy yourself and bring home nothing but fun memories.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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