Dealing With Bedbugs: A Traveler's Guide
One not-so-pleasant souvenir that you want to avoid bringing back home from a trip is a bedbug infestation. These tiny pests can turn your peaceful night's sleep into a nightmare, hide in your luggage, and even hitch a ride back home with you.
Reports of these bedbugs are on the rise in Europe. Whether there really are more bedbugs or they're just getting more press, there are steps and strategies you can take to protect yourself from these pests.
To help you enjoy your travels without this unwanted surprise, browse this guide on how to detect and deal with bedbug infestations while on a trip.
Inspect Your Room for Bedbugs
Before settling into your accommodations, take a few minutes to inspect your sleeping area for any signs of bedbugs. Here's what to look for:
- Look for small reddish-brown bugs or tiny white eggs about the size of a pinhead.
- Check the seams, crevices, and folds of the mattress, as bedbugs often hide there.
- Inspect the headboard and the area around it.
- Examine the carpet, baseboards, and any nearby furniture.
If you spot any of these signs, immediately request a room change or consider finding a different place to stay. With bedbugs, it's better to be safe than sorry.
To Unpack or Not to Unpack
Check your sleeping area for bedbugs before you unpack. If you suspect bedbugs are in your room, do not unpack your belongings.
Here are a few guidelines:
- Keep your luggage off the floor and away from the bed.
- Consider using luggage stands or placing your suitcase on a hard surface like a table or desk.
- If you're concerned, use luggage liners or large plastic bags to create a barrier between your clothes and your suitcase.
These precautions can help prevent bedbugs from crawling into your luggage and making the journey home with you.
How to Ask for Other Accommodations
If you believe your accommodations are infested with bedbugs, it's essential to address the issue with the hotel or lodging staff. Here's how to do it tactfully and effectively:
- Remain calm and polite. Accusations won't help the situation.
- Document the evidence discreetly, taking photos if possible.
- Inform the front desk or management about your concerns.
- Request another room or a change of accommodations if necessary.
Most hotels take bedbug complaints seriously and will assist you in resolving the issue. Remember that they don't want their establishment to have a bedbug problem either.
Also read: How to Use Travel Concierge Services
How to Treat Bedbug Bites
In the unfortunate event that you wake up with itchy red welts and you suspect they are bedbug bites, there are a few steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort:
- Wash the affected area with mild soap and water.
- Over-the-counter anti-itch cream and antihistamines can help reduce itching and inflammation.
- If the symptoms worsen or persist, consult a healthcare professional for appropriate treatment.
Travel protection plans from Generali Global Assistance include Medical and Dental coverage and Telemedicine Services that could be helpful if you need medical assistance with bedbug bites.
Cleaning Clothes and Belongings When You Get Home
When you return from your trip, it's crucial to take some steps to ensure that you don't introduce any bedbugs into your home:
- Unpack your belongings outside or in a designated area (like a garage) if possible.
- Launder your clothes, even if you haven't worn them. Use hot water and high heat in the dryer to kill any potential bedbugs.
- Vacuum and wipe down your suitcase before storing it.
Whether or not you suspected bedbugs were at your accommodations, this is good practice when you get home from a trip.
By taking these precautions and being aware of the signs, you can enjoy your adventures with more peace of mind, and hopefully bedbug-free!