Avoid bed bugs when you travel – tips & prevention methods 

09 Dec 2023
8 mins read
Written by Riona lye

Guess which tiny critter has been hogging the limelight recently? Yep, you guessed it – bed bugs! They’ve been making headlines everywhere, from a Parisian train to causing an outbreak in Seoul. Even Singapore is raising a red flag about a possible surge in bed bug incidents.

If you’re planning to travel anytime soon, we are sure the last thing you want is to bring these unwanted hitchhikers back home with you. So, let’s dive deeper into this issue. We’ll chat about these pesky pests, identify their favourite hangouts, discuss prevention methods, and give you a game plan for what to do if you cross paths with them.

What are bed bugs?

WebMD tells us that bedbugs are tiny critters that survive on the blood of animals and humans. Picture this – they’re roughly the same size as an apple seed, wingless, and have a reddish-brown colour.
Now, these little invaders don’t just appear out of nowhere. They usually hitch a ride from another place that’s already crawling with them. If you’re living in an apartment or a condo, they might sneak over from a neighbouring unit. Used upholstered furniture? Yep, they could be hiding there too. Or perhaps you unknowingly brought them home in your luggage or handbag after visiting a bug-infested place.

The tricky thing about these pests is their size and their knack for playing hide-and-seek during daylight hours. It makes it super easy for them to infiltrate your home without you even realising it.

Signs of bedbug infestation

Here’s a simple way to check for these tiny critters. Look closely at your mattress for any black or red/brown spots, or even the bugs themselves. Try this trick – switch off the lights when you’re about to snooze, then flick them back on about ten minutes later. Usually, if there are any bedbugs around, you’ll catch them right in the act!

And of course, if you’re waking up with mysterious bites and noticing weird red/brown stains on your bed, well, that’s a pretty sure sign that you’ve got some uninvited guests!

Common travel hotspots for bedbugs

Let’s get one thing straight – bedbugs can pop up just about anywhere, especially in busy human hotspots. And here’s a shocker – it’s not about how clean the place is! It’s all about us humans, moving around and unknowingly giving these pests a free ride.

So, you might bump into them in places like hotels, motels, or even on public transportation.

That means it’s on us, the travellers, to stop these little hitchhikers in their tracks. If we come across them, it’s our job to make sure they don’t spread any further.

6 prevention tips to avoid bed bugs when travelling

Feeling a bit hopeless about this whole bedbug situation? Don’t sweat it! Here are some handy tips to help you out.

Put your luggage in the bathroom and inspect the room

And here’s a golden rule – keep your bag away from the bed at all costs. No plopping it down on the bed – ever. Try to keep it zipped up as much as possible. The shower or bathtub is a great temporary parking spot for your luggage while you inspect the room.

Now, onto the inspection. Peel back those sheets and take a good look at the mattress seams, especially around the corners. You’re looking for any suspicious stains or spots. If anything looks fishy, don’t hesitate to alert the management and request a room change or even switch establishments if necessary.

Check other furniture as well

Hey, don’t just stop at the bed! Bedbugs are called ‘furniture bugs’ for a reason. They can be pretty much anywhere – from the bed frame to the baseboards around the room, and even your comfy chair or sofa. So give those a good look-over too when you’re on your bug hunt.

Found a bug, make a good call

Now, if you’ve gotta switch rooms, here’s some crucial advice. Don’t just hop over to the room next door or the one right above or below. Why? Well, these tiny pests are expert hitchhikers – they can catch rides on housekeeping carts, sneak into your luggage, or even travel through wall sockets. If there’s an infestation, it usually spreads to the nearest rooms first.

Honestly, your best bet might be to find a new place to stay altogether. Sure, it might cost a bit more, but think about the potential disaster of bringing these bugs back home with you. Trust me, that’s a financial headache you don’t want!

Cleaning and treating belongings

So, let’s say luck isn’t on your side and you find yourself ’bugged’. First off – don’t panic! Before you check into another place, remember your stuff might’ve picked up some unwanted guests. The solution? Give everything a good wash in super hot water and then blast it in the dryer on high heat. Trust us, it’s a surefire way to send those pesky bugs packing!

Pack your belongings before you travel home

You know what’s a good habit to get into? Always stashing your dirty clothes in a separate plastic bag.

Got home from travel? Wash everything

After a long journey, all you want to do is flop onto your bed in your travel-worn clothes. But remember those pandemic days when we’d scrub ourselves clean and toss all our clothes straight into the washer and dryer? Yeah, let’s stick with that routine.

Some online users even went the extra mile by recommending putting all your stuff into a sturdy black garbage bag and leaving it out in direct sunlight for a few hours. The heat inside the bag will turn it into a bug-busting sauna.

If you’re dealing with a cold or cloudy day, your dryer is your best friend. Throw everything – yes, including the bag – into the dryer (just make sure you’ve taken your electronics out first!). Give them a good once-over before you bring them back inside.

Housing a bug? Here’s what you should do

So, let’s say you’re not exactly having the best day and you find yourself in a bit of a bug predicament. What’s next? First things first, get on the phone with a professional exterminator. Sure, it might mean dipping into your savings to replace some furniture and mattresses, but believe me, it’s money well spent.

Now, if you’re an expat and renting, don’t forget to give your landlord a heads up. It’s their property and there could be legal implications with a bug infestation. So, getting some legal advice isn’t a bad idea.

The next big question is – stay or move? If you decide to pack up and leave, you have to ensure you’re not packing these uninvited bugs along. And if you choose to stay put, you’ve got to make sure those little buggers don’t set up camp elsewhere in the building. It’s a tough call either way!

Prevention in always better than cure

You know, it’s a bit of a bummer, but dealing with the risk of bed bugs is just part of life. These little critters can pop up anywhere, whether it’s squeaky clean or not so much. They’re a real headache for hotels, and some even have their own strategies to tackle them!

A good starting point is to check out the reviews before you book. See what other guests have to say. Once you get to the room, always leave your luggage near the door, then walk over to the bed to inspect the sheets.

And remember, once you’re back home, it’s smart to have a routine to clean yourself and your belongings.

Better safe than sorry, right?

Before you go…

So, you’ve made it this far. It’s pretty obvious that dealing with bed bugs can hit your wallet hard and just thinking about it might make you feel itchy.

Speaking of wallets, as an expat, you might often need to transfer money back home to support your family and loved ones, right?

That’s where Instarem comes in. With our service, you can send money to over 60 countries without breaking the bank, thanks to our great rates and low fees. Plus, you can track your transactions every step of the way for that extra peace of mind.

Not too bad, huh?

Try Instarem for your next transfer.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned. 

About Instarem

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