“Night night, Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”. I am sure we have all heard that saying before and used it jokingly.
The true reality is how many people actually think to inspect their hotel room for these awful critters before they make themselves at home? Most people simply check into their hotel room, throw their luggage on the bed, and lay down on the mattress.
That was me for years and years. It wasn’t until a friend of mine said something about the importance of inspecting a hotel room for bed bugs before getting comfortable that I really thought about it.
With more and more people traveling for vacations, business, etc. the number of bed bug reports has increased throughout the country. These bugs do not care about star ratings. You could find them at a Motel 6 or the Ritz Carlton and you do NOT want them hitching a ride on your suitcase home with you.
To eradicate bed bugs can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the infestation. Before your anxiety levels spike, there are some simple ways you can inspect a hotel room to ensure that you do not bring home any unwanted guests.
1. Prevention begins before you arrive!
I was once informed by a Disney hotel manager that one thing guests don’t realize is that not only can they pick up bed bugs from an infested hotel room, but that luggage itself can become infested at the airport. This isn’t anything you can prevent, but you can protect your internal belongings as an added precaution if you desire. For me, I would rather have to toss out my suitcase and replace it than my favorite clothes that cannot be replaced.
In order to do this, I have adopted a new way of packing to ensure that my clothes are protected inside my luggage. One simple way to do this is to pack your clothes in reusable vacuum sealed storage bags.
I have tried different brands of bags and find that the SpaceSaver brand on Amazon is my favorite.
They really do hold their seal and if they get damaged or re-inflate they come with a lifetime replacement guarantee. As a bonus, it comes with a travel size hand pump that you can use to suck the air out of the bags when you are returning home. This eliminates the need to bring extra laundry bags with you.
Plus, I have found that I am able to fit a lot more in my suitcase using these bags, which means I can fit more Disney merchandise in my suitcase! Who doesn’t want that?
They are also protecting my clothes from any spills or critters in the process so it’s a win-win all the way around. The only negative is that some clothes do get a little wrinkled in the bags, so if you choose to use these, you may want to pack fabrics that don’t wrinkle. Most hotel rooms do have an iron available if you desire to do a quick pressing after you remove the items upon arrival.
2. Leave your Luggage Outside or in the Tub!
The most important thing to do when you enter your hotel room is to either leave your luggage outside the door completely or put it into the bathtub. If a room has bed bugs, they are not as likely to gravitate toward the bathroom so that is your safest place to store things until you are sure the coast is clear. This way, if you do find anything suspicious, your personal items are not contaminated and do not require treatment.
3. Inspect the entire room, Not just the bed!
The next thing you will want to do is grab a flashlight or use your cell phone light and start inspecting the beds. Pull the corners of the sheets back to expose the mattress. Inspect under both the bottom and top lip of the mattress on ALL four corners.
You are looking for any brownish-red, “rust-like” blood spots or the actual bugs themselves. They can vary in color from a greyish-white to dark brown depending on how much they have been feeding, but generally look like the size and color of an apple seed.
Like cockroaches, they do not like the light so they will be hiding in the shadows. Make sure to lift the mattress up and inspect underneath it. Also, check along the carvings and indentations on the headboards.
They can hide in any of these nooks and crannies. Make sure to also scan under the telephone and alarm clock.
Next, move onto the pillows. Check inside the pillowcases and inside the tags of the pillow and pillowcases.
If all of these things are negative, you are in good shape. To be extra certain, you will want to open each of the dresser drawers and check the luggage caddy holder. Inspect under each strap of the holder. Some rooms just have suitcase benches, not the fold-out holders. If your room has one of these, simply look long the crevices of the bench.
If anything gives you a red flag, exit the room and go down to the front desk. The manager of the hotel can send up a pest control expert to inspect the room thoroughly and let you know if it is positive or negative for bed bugs.
Know that in all my years of visiting Disney, I have never had any issues or anywhere else I have traveled for that matter, but it is important to be aware and proactive.
I spoke with a Disney hotel manager and asked them what they do to prevent infestations. They told me they do regular room checks with dogs that are specially trained to sniff out bed bugs. If they find them, they take immediate action.
Keep in mind, you are the first line of defense. Taking that extra 10 mins to check your room can save you a boatload of grief later on. So next time you stay anywhere, Air B&B, 5-star resorts, 3-star resorts, Disney or non-Disney. Take a few minutes to check your room. You’ll be glad you did!
Have you ever fallen victim to bed bugs? What tips do you use to stay protected?