Signs There Are Sneaky Roaches Hiding In Your Hotel Room

As we've come to learn from the now-infamous bed bug infestation that plagued the city of Paris, even the fanciest hotels can be infiltrated by the nastiest pests. The French capital made headlines in 2023 when locals and tourists alike complained about bed bugs being found in hotels, rentals, and even on public transportation. The unsettling situation served as a reminder for everyone to take heed and be extra cautious when staying in their chosen accommodation. But it's not just bed bugs that travelers should be wary of. 

Roaches are also prevalent in establishments, according to multiple reports. In July 2023, a family told the New York Post that they had to cut their vacation to Spain short when they discovered "thousands" of cockroaches in the rooms and communal areas of their all-inclusive resort. Meanwhile, a year prior, WPDE reported that a man sued a Myrtle Beach hotel, claiming that a roach entered his ear when he was fast asleep, resulting in a loss of hearing.

Just like bed bugs, it's hard to know if cockroaches are present in a hotel room — or any area, for that matter — unless you actually see one with your own eyes or do a thorough inspection. Considering how cockroaches carry germs and viruses and can cause asthma attacks, it's best to know the telltale signs of their presence so you can make an immediate evacuation. When inspecting your room, keep an eye out for cockroach droppings, casings, and nests, while also remaining vigilant about unpleasant odors.

Check for droppings, casings, eggs, and foul odor

You shouldn't wait until you see a cockroach to discover that your hotel room is infested with them. Before settling in, check every nook and cranny thoroughly for signs of a possible infestation. Roach droppings are one of the most obvious indications, and they're usually characterized by tiny granules that resemble coffee grounds or black pepper. Since cockroaches thrive in dark spaces, you should also check under the furniture, cabinets, and drawers, alongside the plumbing in the bathroom to see if they have nested there. 

There's no exact, consistent physical representation of roach nests, but you'll recognize them when you chance upon an area littered with droppings, eggs (they look like brown Tic Tacs), and shed skin or molts. A cockroach infestation also manifests itself through a distinct odor that is usually musty and pungent. Some even categorize the smell as "oily." Considering how roaches communicate with each other through scent, the intensity of the stench may correlate to how severe the infestation is. In short: If you notice it, run!

What to do if roaches have infiltrated your room

Pests like cockroaches are not to be taken lightly, and if you confirm that your room has them, it's crucial to report your findings to the hotel right away. Always gather evidence by taking photos of the droppings and eggs you find to support your claims so the staff can immediately see the severity of the issue. More often than not, they'll offer to move you to another room or perhaps even upgrade you to a better suite free of charge, for the inconvenience.

If you're dissatisfied with their response, check whether you can cancel your stay and get a refund. Different hotels have different policies, though, so this may not always work out in your favor. Getting a refund is even more complicated if you booked the room through a third party since everything has to go through a middleman. Your best bet is to check your travel insurance and find out if you have "cancel for any reason" coverage, as that will get you at least some of your money back should you choose to cancel your accommodation completely.

Don't forget to air out your concerns, too. According to, if none of the hotel staff handled your case well, take it up to a senior executive of the establishment. You should also consider getting in touch with the local health department or state consumer protection office to see what your options are.