How To Protect Yourself From Bed Bugs During Your Trip To Paris

If you've been keeping your eye on the headlines lately, you may have heard about the recent bedbug infestation that is quite literally plaguing the entire city of Paris. Videos of the blood-sucking bugs crawling around the seats on public transportation and movie theaters have made a huge and ugly splash on the internet. With the 2024 Olympics coming up, the spotlight is on Paris to handle this problem before thousands of spectators and athletes arrive for the global sporting spectacle. It doesn't help that this isn't a new problem, either. According to France's government agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety, 11% of homes in France have been dealing with bedbug infestations from 2017 to 2022.

If you're sitting there reading about this with a trip to Paris coming up, we can imagine how terribly this news might be landing for you. Having to consider the possibility of picking up bed bugs on your once-in-a-lifetime trip is not a pretty thought. But don't cancel your trip just yet. While fumigation companies have reported a rise in demand for bed bug treatments in people's homes, the reports of the bugs crawling around in public areas are supposedly mostly anecdotal.

With that being said, you should still be careful. You can prepare ahead of time by packing plastic bags to cover clothes and suitcases. And don't be afraid to call the hotel before departure to see if bed bugs have been reported in rooms. 

Prepare before you leave for your trip

If your trip is coming up in the next few weeks or months, there are a few things you should do right away. If you haven't already done so, it would be a great idea to purchase some travel insurance. Some travel insurance policies may have an exclusion for bed bugs, so call your insurance company directly to confirm whether or not your hotel, for example, will be covered if you have to cancel. However, you can also purchase "cancel for any reason" insurance if you think there's a possibility you might cancel your trip entirely due to this bedbug outbreak.

Next, call your hotel or rental accommodation and ask the manager or host about the issue and if you should be concerned. Hand waving won't do here. Ask them directly what they are doing to prevent an outbreak in their hotel or rental. If they can't answer that question, it might be best to search for another accommodation that can tell you what protocols they have in place to keep bed bugs at bay.

You might also want to consider purchasing some packing cubes for your clothes and plastic storage bags large enough to cover your suitcases. The plastic storage bags should be enough to keep bed bugs out at night, and the packing cubes make it easier to toss your clothing straight into your dryer when you get home to kill the bugs.

How to avoid taking home stowaways

Once you land in Paris, try to relax. Arriving armed with knowledge should give you peace of mind instead of making you worried about bed bugs every minute of your trip.

There have been reports of bed bugs being spotted at the Charles de Gaulle airport and on the high-speed trains and metros around the city. So, if you can avoid sitting anywhere at the airport or on the trains when you're there, do so. If you need to sit, find a seat that doesn't have any upholstery where the bugs can hide. While taking public transportation around the city will be much cheaper, you're more likely to run into bugs there. This is why we recommend walking, biking, or taking a taxi instead. Taxis aren't immune from bed bugs, but they carry fewer people on average than a commuter train or bus, so your chances might be better.

When you arrive at your hotel and check in, do not forget to inspect your room. To keep bedbugs out of your luggage leave your suitcases in the bathroom while you check the bed, bedding, and any upholstered furniture in the room. Never leave your luggage on the floor during your stay, regardless if you find evidence of bugs or not. If you do find bedbugs in your hotel room, immediately call the concierge and request a new room.