5 things to do if you find bedbugs while travelling

Flickr/Jonathan KhooFinding bedbugs while travelling can be overwhelming.
  • Bedbugs can be found in clean or dirty hotels.
  • If you find bedbugs, you’ll want to try to seek alternate accommodations.
  • You may want to check your luggage and clothing for signs of infestation.

Bedbugs can be quite an inconvenience, especially when you’re in a new place and are living out of a suitcase for a few days.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bedbugs are attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide, meaning they can probably infest even the cleanest luxury hotels.

Once you arrive at your accommodation, check for signs of bedbugs, and if you happen to spot one or wake up with bedbug bites, here’s what to do next.


Tell the management of your accommodation as soon as possible.

TessarTheTegu / ShutterstockYou may be able to change your accommodation.

If you detect bedbugs in your room, tell the accommodation’s management immediately. If possible, you can try to get a refund on your room and move to a different hotel or hostel.

But, if that is not possible or practical in your current situation, asking for a different room is also an option.

That being said, you’ll want to check that room for bedbugs, too.


Run your clothes, shoes, and other fabric items through a hot wash cycle.

Flickr / David LytleYou’ll want to be very careful about loading the washer and dryer.

Before you get home or move to a new destination, you’ll want to get rid of any bedbugs that may be lurking on your belongings.

According to the University of Minnesota’s bedbug resource center, you’ll want to seal your clothes in plastic bags until you’re ready to wash them. After carefully removing your clothes from the bag and loading them into the washing machine, you’ll want to wash and dry them on high heat.

Read More: 11 myths about bedbugs you need to stop believing


Treating suitcases is tough, but not impossible.

KarinaUvarova/iStockIn some cases, it might be best to just get rid of them.

You’ll definitely want to check your suitcases before re-packing or switching rooms.

According to Cambridge Public Health, a blow dryer on high heat can help coax bedbugs out of the crevices of a suitcase. Although it won’t get rid of them, it will help you identify if you have any hiding in your luggage.

According to First, the process of potentially removing bedbugs from your suitcase involves vacuuming, spraying bedbug spray, and storing your suitcase in a lot of sunshine (or a freezer).

If that’s not possible, you might be better off tossing your suitcase and purchasing a new one.


Try not to scratch your bug bites.

japharl/FlickrIt could lead to an infection.

If you get bedbug bites, the American Academy of Dermatology says to wash the area with soap and water and apply a topical corticosteroid or antihistamine cream. Avoid itching the area because it can make you vulnerable to infection.

Read More: Here’s how to tell if you’ve been bitten by bedbugs – and what to do next


Check your home once you return from your trip.

iStockYou’ll want to handle the situation as soon as possible.

No matter how cautious you were during your travels, you’ll still want to check if any bedbugs snuck their way into your home.

Some signs of bedbugs in your home include blood spots on your sheets, a musty smell in your home, or discarded shells beneath your mattress.

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