Should You be Worried About Bed Bugs When Staying at a Hotel?

Bed bugs are one of the creatures that can haunt a traveler’s dreams. That’s especially the case for people who are staying at low-budget hostels. It’s not that these places necessarily have inadequate cleaning methods, particularly for bed linens. When staying at a 5-star hotel and paying over 1K a night, though, you expect the place to be at least clean. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, even in the “best” hotels worldwide. Bed bug infestations can occur for a variety of reasons. That’s why it’s a good idea as a traveler to know how to prevent yourself from getting bit!

The best thing anyone can do to prevent having issues with bed bugs is to search for them. If we’re being honest, that’s not necessarily something that everyone’s willing to do. One of the main reasons why people don’t check their hotel beds for bed bugs is that the beds are already made when you get there. To check for bugs, you’d have to pull away the covers and see if there aren’t any brown spots in and around the mattress. If you can see bed bugs through the bed linens, you should probably think about spending the night elsewhere!

In most cases, you’ll be able to find bed bugs at the edges of the mattress or even the headboard. Brown stains or drops of blood are some of the signs that you don’t want to ignore. Short of seeing the pests directly, these are the two most apparent indicators that you may be dealing with a problem. Make sure to check the nightstand and the drawers and closets as well. That’s especially the case if you plan to put your clothes away in these places.

How Concerning is the Bed Bug Problem in Hotels?

Bed Bug Infestation And Treatment Service.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

Are bed bugs a genuine concern that travelers should be worried about? One of the things that makes things scary for travelers is the lack of legislation around the issue. At least in the United States, no federal law guides hotels through what to do after a potential infestation. Only 21 states have laws around the issue. Many of them ban hotels from renting the room until they’ve dealt with the problem. The big question here is, what happens when hotel staff don’t spot them?

To stay safe, travelers should check their rooms for bugs. As mentioned, removing the covers and checking the edges of the mattress is a good start. If you want to be extra safe, you can also use one of the popular sprays that help combat bed bugs. At the very least, these sprays can help “freshen up” the bed. Their effectiveness varies depending on the brand and the level of infestation that you’re dealing with.

What to Do if You’re Bitten by Bed Bugs

Woman in bedroom terrified by brown stink bug walking on her bed
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Robert Petrovic

If you wake up with tiny bite marks on different parts of your body, there’s a good chance you were attacked by some pest overnight. To counteract this issue, wash the bites thoroughly with soap and water. This will prevent an infection from spreading. Applying corticosteroid cream is the next step to minimize the itching and help the bites heal. Most people won’t experience such an adverse reaction to these bites. However, if swelling and excessive discomfort occur, you may need to see a doctor!

Another good tip, regardless of whether you find bed bugs in your room, is to keep clothes away from the bed. This will help ensure you don’t bring the bugs with you to the next stop on your trip. Running those clothes through a washing machine as soon as possible will also help. Another idea is to take a plastic bag and put the clothes in the freezer overnight. That’s said to kill off the bugs as well.

The other thing that you want to do, whether you find bed bugs or they bite you, is to notify the hotel. Some establishments will be more receptive than others. There are cases where hotels have tried to deny anything wrong with the room. That’s also unfortunate because some people have tried to pull the bed bug card to get a free stay. At least notifying the hotel could open their eyes to a potential problem. In doing so, you may have saved the next person who would stay in that room!

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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