How to Prevent Bedbugs From Traveling With You

Bed Bugs

Whether it’s a super-ritzy resort or a dingy motel, bedbugs can be a real problem that at best can leave you an itchy mess and at worst follow you home and become a true nightmare. My first encounter with these miserable creatures was at a very nice resort in South Florida. At 3am in the morning, I woke up feeling like something had bitten me on my butt. I went to the bathroom to check it out and sure enough I found 3 red itchy bumps on my rear end. They looked like mosquito bites, but surely mosquitoes could not have found their way under the covers.

The next morning, my daughter and I were both covered in itchy red welts. My 2 boys in the connecting room next door had nothing. We informed the hotel after we had checked out, but they said they could find nothing. This was before bedbugs were big news. Now we know what they are and how to spot them.

Here are some helpful steps to take to avoid getting eaten alive…literally:

Research your hotel:

Visit the website and look up the hotel you are considering staying at. If there has been a bed bug report, steer clear. If you encounter bedbugs in your travels, leave a report to advise other travelers. You can never have enough good karma.

Inspect upon check in:

You should always travel with a few items that will come in very handy in the prevention of bedbugs.

What you need:

-A small flashlight
-A Jumbo zip-loc bag for laundry
-Some large heavy-duty trash bags to put your luggage in if you’re really concerned

Upon checking in, my kids know the drill. They wait in the hall with the luggage till I give the all clear. Using my flashlight, I peek behind furniture and along baseboards. Most importantly I pull up the bedding till I see the mattress, top and bottom. Look for bugs, black crumbs or red blood specs. Mattress should be clean, anything otherwise is a reason to have the hotel switch your room immediately.

Once at a hotel in Birmingham, Alabama, I saw something suspicious on the wall. It was definitely a bug, and it was small and dark brown. It looked like it could have been a bedbug, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t take any chances and brought the manager up to look. He wasn’t sure either, but didn’t hesitate to move us to another room. If something doesn’t feel right, ask to be moved. Better safe than sorry.

Once you’re in, take precautionary measures just in case.

Just because you didn’t find anything doesn’t mean they might not still be there. Here are a few tips to follow just to be safe and make sure bedbugs don’t hitch a ride.

1. Never put luggage on the floor or the folding luggage rack. Instead, put it on the desk, credenza, or table. Bedbugs are less likely to crawl up a smooth surface. Try to keep luggage closed if you’re not using it.

2. Put all dirty laundry immediately in a jumbo Ziploc bag (you can get these online) and seal it tight. They keep the clothes in and the bedbugs out.

3. If you are really nervous you can put your luggage in a large trash back as an extra precaution.

Once you get home:

The minute I get home, I put all the clothes from the trip into the washing machine when we are ready to do the wash. I empty the luggage and give it a thorough once over with the vacuum then I store it in plastic bags in the garage until the next trip. This way, no bedbugs come home with me.

Since we instituted our bedbug routine, we are proud to say that we’re bedbug-free….Safe Travels!


  1. Nicole White says:

    Good tips in this article. We really should travel with a flashlight for a few reasons.

  2. Just an extra tip…..When you get home put all your used clothes and/or fabrics in the dryer…(DRY) and set on hottest heat setting for 30 minutes. The heat is what kills bed bugs.