Everyone is gearing up for the holiday season, planning trips and booking tickets… but despite the jovial spirit of the season, a mood-killer lurks in the shadows: bed bugs!
Bed bugs don’t just “go away” for the winter. They like to find a nice warm, cozy spot and settle in… and a prime place for this to happen is in hotel rooms! Unfortunately, bed bugs can strike ANYWHERE… a 1-star motel in a rural area, or even 4 star accommodations in the ritziest parts of the city.
The REAL reason Scrooge was so grumpy at Christmas! (Photo courtesy JonathanSchmock.com)
We’ve compiled a list of 5 EASY things you can do to make sure bed bugs don’t ruin your holiday experience:
1) Research it!
Most of us usually do a little research before booking our hotels and flights, to make sure that we’re getting the most out of our time holiday time and hard-earned money. Paying special attention to reviews COULD alert you to potential issues or a history of bed bug infestation… but you should also take reviews with a grain of salt. Sometimes negative reviews can be the result of a disgruntled employee or a patron who may be exaggerating to draw negative attention.
Doing a little research ahead of time can save a LOT of trouble later!
Once you’ve gotten your dream vacation (or your “pit-stop” on the way TO your dream vacation) booked, however, there are additional things you can do to ensure the only “extras” you bring back are presents from Grandpa and Grandma.
2) Store it!
As soon as walking through the door to your hotel room for the first time, you should immediately store your belongings in the bathroom. Don’t worry, it’s not a long term thing! Bed bugs are less likely to make a home out of the bathroom, which will keep your luggage safe from infestation until you’ve determined that the room is clear.
Check the bed by pulling back the linens, looking around and under the mattress and behind the headboard. Bedbugs are similar to the size (and shape!) of an apple seed. You may find them in the bedding, or you may find little black dots that look sort of like peppercorn. If so, alert hotel staff immediately.
Bed bugs will stay close to the bed for the most part, but can be found in chairs, curtains, and the closet, so be sure to check those areas as well!
3) Elevate it!
Once you’ve determined that there aren’t any bed bugs in the room, the trick then becomes prevention, which is relatively easy. If possible, keep your bags on the desktop, on top of the dresser, or on a luggage rack… but definitely OFF the floor! That way, any bed bugs which are scouting for a new place to settle down won’t have easy access to your stuff!
4) Wrap it!
For extra protection, purchase a zip-up plastic bag (most luggage retailers carry these nowadays as protection in the midst of travel) and keep your luggage wrapped when not in use. Some airports will wrap your luggage for you (for a fee), and a cheaper alternative (but a less viable “long term” solution) is to use garbage bags to wrap your luggage.
Workers not included
Added bonus: the plastic can also protect your luggage from rain / moisture.
5) Wash it!
When you return home from vacation, wash everything in hot water. That includes the stuff that didn’t get used or worn.
If a bedbug does manage to get into your luggage, it won’t be able to survive the heat from washing. Sending items to the dry cleaners will have the same effect as washing.
Of course, be sure to inspect your baggage/suitcase before you put it away. Vacuum out the nooks and crannies and (if possible) wrap it in plastic until you need it again.
So there you have it! 5 easy tips to avoid bed bugs this holiday season. Nevertheless, bugs can be persistent and if you DO end up plagued by those bothersome bed bugs, we’ll be there to protect your home and loved ones!
Do you have any other travel tips to share? Let us know in the comments section or tag us with the hashtag #PPPC
Safe travels and Happy Holidays!
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