What are the Chances of Bringing Bed Bugs Home From a Hotel?

Bed bugs can hide in many places, despite what their name suggests. They can also reside in many areas outside your bedroom and home, such as hotels.

If you wake up in the morning with itchy red marks on exposed skin and you can see dark or rusty spots on the sheets, there is an enormous possibility that you are sharing your hotel room with bed bugs. This can make you wonder if some of them can invite themselves into your home.

So, what are the chances of bringing bed bugs from a hotel?

Professional bed bug exterminators confirm that hotels are in the top three places where bed bugs are known to be present. Bed bugs can cross oceans and borders by clinging to clothes and hiding in luggage. The more severe the hotel’s infestation, the higher the chances of bringing home bed bugs.

Before we proceed, here’s a startling bed bug fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself, the presence of bed bugs is not determined by how clean or dirty the environment is.

This means that not all sleazy hotels have bed bugs, and not all expensive hotels are free of bed bugs. Because of this, it is important to arm yourself with the right information, and below you will come across some helpful ones.

After checking out the entirety of this article, kindly share it on social media so that your family and friends who love to travel but are terrified of bringing home bed bugs may get to read this, too!

Bed Bugs Can Travel by Hitching a Ride

Unlike mosquitoes and flies, bed bugs cannot fly. Unlike ticks and fleas, bed bugs cannot jump. Despite this, they can move trouble-free from one room to the other.

They can also travel from home to home, city to city, and country to country easily. Such is made possible by their superb hitchhiking abilities.

You can be their accomplice when migrating without your knowledge. Although the legs of bed bugs are not designed to cling to human skin, they can still easily latch on to clothes.

Similarly, they can crawl into your suitcase, backpack or purse and hide in there. It is for this reason exactly why placing your luggage near the bed or other common bed bug hiding places is not a good idea if you feel that there is an infestation in your hotel room.

Keeping your luggage zipped up may not do the trick as bed bugs can also set up camp in its exterior seams and corners. So, in other words, there is no escaping them if they choose to have an escapade!

Once they are on your clothes or in your luggage together with your belongings, they can go practically anywhere that you go. And one of the places that they may end up in is your home.

Worry not if it’s just after checking out when the idea that you could have shared the hotel room with bed bugs crossed your mind.

Even if there are some of those tiny creepy crawlers clinging to your clothes or hiding in your carry on or checked luggage, you can still considerably lower the risk of your bedroom ending up with an infestation.

How to Prevent Introducing Them Into Your Home

As mentioned earlier, staying as far away as possible from sleazy hotels is not a guarantee that souvenirs are not the only ones that you could be bringing home at the end of your trip but bed bugs, too.

You might still unknowingly come into contact with bed bugs even if you book with the most popular five-star hotel that you can afford.

It doesn’t mean, however, that you can be as reckless as you want when deciding which hotel to book with. You can lower your risk of having a full-blown infestation at home by staying in a hotel that is less likely to have bed bugs.

Aside from choosing wisely (by reading online reviews, asking for the recommendations of family and friends, etc.), there are also other steps that you may take to keep the chances of bringing home bed bugs from your hotel room to a bare minimum.

One of those is placing your luggage in the bathroom throughout your hotel stay. That’s because it is less likely for bed bugs to hide in bathrooms as it’s not all the time that they can feed there.

Still, there is a possibility for some of them to be hiding under the rug or between the tiles. It only means that stashing your belongings in the bathroom is not 100% foolproof.

The moment that you step foot in your property after your trip, avoid engaging in a meet-and-greet session with family and friends who are excited to see you back home.

What you need to do instead is immediately launder your clothes (what you are wearing and those in your luggage) in hot water — bed bugs cannot stand high temperatures.

Grab a large garbage bag and then place your luggage in it as well as your non-washable belongings. Spray the inside of the bag with a little bug spray. Tie the garbage bag and then let it stand for at least three days.

Never Steal From the Hotel Room

Aside from following the tip above that suggests placing your belongings in the hotel bathroom, there is another thing that you may do to avoid bringing home some bed bugs: Not stealing anything from the hotel room.

Many of the things that hotel guests with sticky fingers usually steal could provide bed bugs with accommodation. Some of them include pillows, pillowcases, comforters, sheets, slippers, bathrobes, towels and rugs. Even wall hangings and electronics that some guests steal could have some bed bugs in them.

If you steal something from your hotel room and bed bugs happen to hide in it, you might end up with an infestation. So, in short: Refrain from taking anything that guests are not supposed to take!

Besides, it is not just having a bed bug infestation that can strike when bringing home non-complimentary hotel items, but also additional charges in your credit card bill.

Here’s an informative article on being charged by hotels for taking items that are not meant to be taken.

Just Before You Check Out of Your Hotel

Refrain from assuming that there are no bed bugs that you could bring home just because you are staying in a five-star hotel. Experts themselves confirm that bed bugs can infest both sleazy and trusted hotels.

When it comes to minimizing your contact with bed bugs in hotels, the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies.

It also doesn’t matter if you stay in the hotel for an entire week or over the weekend or if you check in and check out on the same day insert link to Can I Check In and Out of a Hotel on the Same Day.

For as long as some of the bed bugs in the hotel room end up on your clothes or in your luggage, there is a possibility that an infestation may take place in your home after introducing some bed bugs into it.

Fortunately, there are some steps that you may take, such as the tips mentioned above, to lower the risk of a bed bug infestation from overshadowing the sights and sounds of the places you visited.

Related Questions

Can I get a refund if the hotel has bed bugs?

If you are 100% certain that there are bed bugs in your hotel room, bring with you some hard evidence to the front desk, such as bed bug bites on your body and actual bed bugs in a Ziploc bag. After establishing the truth, you may then request a refund for all the nights that you paid for.

Can an infestation happen even if I bring home a few bed bugs only?

Provided that there are male and female bed bugs, they can mate and cause a full-scale infestation if you fail to spring into action immediately. An infestation may occur even without male bed bugs if you happen to bring home pregnant female bed bugs.

Photo credit: ©canva.com/danielvfung

Reed Harris

Reed is a traveler and blogger. He's planning to visit all states in the USA. He's been in 31 states so far.

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