What To Do If You Find Bedbugs In Your Hotel Room

We think most people can agree that not all bugs are bad. Many are essential for maintaining balance among ecosystems. However, finding them in our hotel rooms can be downright disgusting, and we wonder what else was overlooked. Are the bedsheets clean? Do they regularly vacuum? Am I about to get ax murdered by Jack Nicholson? Okay, maybe that last one is a stretch, but hotel freeloaders like bedbugs, on the other hand, are no joke. 

These six-legged monstrosities have secured a spot in the human psyche as some of the most feared and loathsome creatures. Not only do they suck your blood, but they are insidiously difficult to get rid of. Finding evidence of these creepy crawlies in your bedsheets, especially if you've already slept there, is many travelers' worst nightmare. When you've noticed them, it could already be too late to keep them out of your clothes, luggage, or children's stuffed animals.

Knowing what to do in these circumstances can be overwhelming. How do you approach the situation with the hotel? What do you do with all your belongings since you definitely shouldn't risk bringing them back home? And how do you get home without spreading them to public areas like airplanes, buses, and trains? It won't be easy, but luckily for you (though unluckily for those before you), you're not the first person to find bedbugs in your hotel room.

How to spot evidence of bedbugs

Unfortunately, you usually can't visibly see bedbugs creeping around. While they are gross, spotting them before it's too late would certainly make it easier. This is because bedbugs only come out at night and when they sense your body heat. They are also often smaller than an apple seed when fully grown, making them difficult to see. So, how do you check your hotel room for bedbugs before settling in? 

First, place your luggage on an elevated surface like a luggage rack or designated bench; don't leave it on the floor. Next, you'll want to check the head of your bed and any upholstered furniture in your hotel room. These areas are typically hot spots for bedbugs if they are present. Pull back the blankets and bedsheets and visibly examine the seams of the mattress. If you spot any brown specks or rust-colored spots, these are telltale signs of bedbugs. Not to be too explicitly gross, but the brown flecks might be moltings (exoskeletons shed by the bedbugs) and their droppings.

While we don't want to give you a complex, you should know that any establishment can get bedbugs, even five-star hotels. So, be sure always to make these checks. It will take less than five minutes to save you days or weeks of headaches and worry.

So, your hotel room has bedbugs — here's what to do

If you've found evidence of bedbugs upon entering your hotel room, remove your luggage from the room immediately and go down to reception or call them from the room's phone. Let them know about the issue and that you would like to be switched to a different room, preferably on the other side of the hotel. On the other hand, if you've already slept in your room and you either find bedbugs waste or wake up with strange clusters of mosquito-like bug bites on your body, your plan of action will look a bit different.

You'll still want to alert the hotel and ask them to provide you with large garbage bags. If you can double bag your suitcase, do that. Place all your belongings (yes, we mean all) in these garbage bags and, if possible, purchase new clothes to travel home in. Once you get home, carry the bags of items indoors one at a time and place them in your dryer at the hottest temperature your machine will allow. Bedbugs in all stages of life cannot survive in temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit for over 30 minutes. Luckily, most dryers can reach 125 to 135 degrees, which should be enough to kill these pesky intruders.