How To Avoid Bed Bugs On Vacation

June 08, 2022

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at your vacation destination? Do you change out of your traveling clothes and dart over to the nearest attraction? Do you hit the pool for a little R & R? Do you grab a nap and recharge your batteries (literally and figuratively)? While we certainly cannot fault you for choosing any of those options, we have a better one in mind and that is to check for bed bugs. 


maine family on vacation avoiding bed bugs

Do I really need to look for bed bugs when I’m staying at a really nice place? 

Oh yes, most definitely! It doesn’t matter whether you’ve rented an Airbnb with rave reviews or are staying at a hotel that has several stars attached to its name – bed bugs are likely to show up wherever people go. If you’re not careful and don’t inspect your vacation getaway you could find yourself waking up with bed bug bites. 

A quick guide on how to perform a bed bug inspection

When you arrive, leave your suitcases with your travel companion(s) outside the room. You’ll want to leave them there until you’ve cleared the place for bed bugs. Before you enter, pull out the LED flashlight you brought with you or use the flashlight app on your phone. 

  • Starting with the beds, pull back the covers and remove the mattress cover if possible. Examine the mattress carefully looking for adult bed bugs, blood spots, fecal droppings, shed skins, and translucent eggs. There may be a mattress encasement on the mattress already which is good. Bed bugs cannot get to the mattress itself and staff can detect bed bugs quicker if mattress encasements are used. Don’t let the presence of mattress encasements scare you; many hotel chains use these to prevent bed bug problems in their accommodations. 
  • In addition to the mattress and box spring, you should check the headboard and frame carefully paying close attention to cracks and crevices. 
  • Nightstands, bureaus, and desks should also be inspected as should drapes, wall art, electronics, and mirrors on the walls.
  • Upholstered furniture, and especially couches that convert to beds, must be looked over carefully. Spend a few extra seconds examining the seams and pleats. 

Once you’re confident there’s no sign of bed bugs, go ahead and let the rest of your party in. You’re getting closer to the relaxation portion of your vacation, we promise.

A few bed bug prevention tips to take with you on vacation

  • Use hard-shelled luggage and consider packing your clothing and toiletries in sealable plastic bags to prevent infestation while traveling to your destination.
  • Do not store your clothes in drawers; leave them in the suitcase or hang them up.
  • Don’t leave dirty laundry on the floor as bed bugs are known to travel from room to room.

What to do when you get home from vacation

As much as you probably want to set your suitcases down at the door and rest for a few minutes, we recommend taking a different approach. In fact, don’t even bring your luggage inside until you’re certain you didn’t bring an unwanted souvenir home with you from your vacay. 

Whether you unpack in the garage or in the driveway, you’ll want to inspect your suitcases and other bags (especially linings, seams, and pockets) as well as the items inside them for bed bugs. If you don’t have the energy to vacuum the suitcase right away, leave it in the garage or outside until you’re ready to tackle that chore. Also, wipe the outside down before stowing it away. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag as soon as you finish this task – don’t bring the bag into your home!

Your vacation clothing – clean and dirty – should go straight into the washing machine and be washed in the hottest water the fabric will allow and dried on a high-heat setting if feasible. 

What to do if you suspect you brought bed bugs home with you

You may not know this, in fact, most people don’t realize it, but bed bug bites don’t always appear right away. They can show up several days later. You know once you are home and have returned to the daily grind. So, what do you do if you suddenly find bed bug bites or have reason to believe bed bugs may have returned with you and are now infesting your home? If you live in Portland, Auburn, Augusta, or elsewhere in Pine State’s multi-county service area, give us a call!

Call the local bed bug control experts at Pine State

As Maine’s premier bed bug control company, our locally owned and operated pest control company is the ideal solution when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs in single-family homes, apartment complexes, and vacation rentals as well as in commercial buildings. From thorough bed bug inspections to conventional bed bug treatments to highly effective bed bug heat treatments, our well-trained and fully licensed bed bug exterminators are ready to help! Reach out today for more information or to schedule your inspection! 

Tags: how to avoid bed bugs  |  free bed bug inspection

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