Bed Bug-Free Holiday Travel (Part 1)

Tis the season for holiday travel. As you make reservations for rental accommodations to visit family and friends, we wanted to share a few suggestions to help you avoid bringing bed bugs home with you. Regardless of what type of lodging you choose-- hotel, motel, cabin, or other type of rental-- no place is immune to bed bug introductions or infestations.

We don't wish to alarm you, but we do want to point out that bed bug infestations are on the rise in the United States. Take precautions to save yourself from later issues and costs in case bed bugs do find their way into your home.

When settling into your room

  • Before plopping your luggage down on the bed, couch, or floor, we recommend doing a quick bed bug check of the room. You can either leave the luggage in the hall or place it in the bath tub, where bed bugs are not likely to be. Traveling with the family? Let them and all the luggage sit comfortably in the lobby while you do the room inspection.
  • Do a thorough inspection of the bed, night stand, upholstered furniture, and closets. You can use a flashlight or a phone light to help you look for bed bugs, shed skins, or fecal matter.
  • Some establishments use bed bug mattresses and box spring encasements. These can make it easier to detect bed bugs or be used as a preventative measure.
  • Not sure what you are looking for? We created this video to show you what bed bugs look like and how to search for them.


After You Return Home

  • Before you bring luggage back into the house, inspect it for any signs of bed bugs that may have hitched a ride. Store luggage away from the bedroom to prevent potential introductions.
    Egg, immature bed bugs, adult bed bugs (Credit: DH Choe)
    Egg, immature bed bugs, adult bed bugs (Credit: DH Choe)
  • To be cautious, launder all the clothes from your trip on the hottest settings to kill bed bugs that may have gone unnoticed. For items that cannot be washed, freezing them for several days will also kill bed bugs.
  • If you do find bed bugs, these steps will help reduce the risk of infestation. See more about identification and management in our Pest Notes: Bed Bugs

Follow these tips to enjoy your holiday travel, reduce your risk of getting bitten by bed bugs, and not bringing bed bugs home with you.

Staying home for the holidays? Here are some tips to host a bed bug-free holiday!