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Both visitors and hotels have it tough when it comes to bed bugs. Travelers don’t want to encounter bed bugs, have no desire to take them home, and want some measure of safety that they are not walking into the vampire’s den when they check into a hotel. People check Trip Advisor, the Bed Bug Registry, and even an iPhone app called Bed Bug Alert to see if a location has had a reported bed bug issue. (By the way we’re a fan of Jim Flynn’s bestweekends.com which gives great travel advice.)
Our advice is to not to go by these listings and act as though every hotel can and does have a real or potential issue with bed bugs. Specifically:
•check into a hotel you like,
•inspect the particular room you’re in using a guide like our Roscoe’s Tips (available as a free smartphone app or travel card),
•take protective measures using a travel kit like Bell Environmental’s bed bug travel kit
•if you see obvious signs of bugs report the issue to the hotel management and get a new room,
•inspect the new room – if it is clear then you’re OK, if not go back to the front desk
•enjoy your vacation!
When you get home: place all your clean and dirty clothes (including the ones you’re wearing) in the dryer on medium to high heat for 20 minutes; and vacuum your suitcase inside and out.
Hotels are in a difficult position: Even if a website or app has a reported bed bug issue , it’s entirely possible that the hotel took appropriate steps to solve a reported problem, but the (accurate and inaccurate) report of bed bugs will live on until it’s removed. On the other hand – even though a hotel is not listed as having an issue, it may have a bed bug problem. It’s entirely possible that a room may have a bed bug problem that is active and has not been reported to the website by a victim, or reported the hotel to solve. Potentially any guest or employee can bring in bed bugs and create new problems at any time.
In sum: Take the issue of bed bugs seriously, report issues to the hotel right away, and most importantly protect yourself when you get home, and buy apps that help you enjoy your vacation.