How to Avoid Picking Up Bed Bugs on Holiday

Your holiday is a time to relax and unwind, but bringing home unwanted souvenirs like bed bugs can turn any trip into a nightmare.

These tiny pests are excellent hitchhikers and can easily latch onto your luggage, clothes, and other belongings.

To ensure your holiday remains blissful and bed bug-free, follow these essential tips.

1. Pre-Trip Preparations

Research Your Accommodation

Before booking a hotel or rental, research online reviews focusing on any mentions of bed bug sightings. Websites like TripAdvisor and Bed Bug Registry can provide valuable insights into recent infestations.

Pack Smart

Consider using hard-shell luggage, which is harder for bed bugs to infiltrate than fabric suitcases. Pack your clothes in sealable plastic bags inside your suitcase to create an extra layer of protection.

Additionally, bring a flashlight for inspecting your accommodations upon arrival.

2. Upon Arrival

Inspect the Room

Before unpacking, conduct a thorough inspection of your room. Start with the bed, as bed bugs are often found in and around mattresses and box springs.

Mattress and Box Spring: Check the seams, tags, and under the mattress for tiny rust-colored stains, shed skins, or live bugs.

Headboard and Bed Frame: Inspect cracks and crevices with your flashlight.

Furniture: Examine upholstered chairs, sofas, and the edges of carpets.

Luggage Rack: Use the luggage rack to keep your suitcase off the bed and floor, but inspect it first for signs of bed bugs.

Keep Luggage Elevated

Always keep your luggage on a luggage rack, away from walls and furniture. Avoid placing it on the bed or floor, as these are prime locations for bed bugs.

3. During Your Stay

Vigilance with Clothing

Keep your clothes in your sealed plastic bags rather than in hotel drawers. Hang garments on hooks rather than in closets if possible.

Daily Inspections

Perform quick daily inspections of your sleeping area to catch any signs of bed bugs early. This can help you address any issues before they escalate.

4. Before Returning Home

Inspect and Clean Your Belongings

Before packing to leave, inspect your luggage and belongings for any signs of bed bugs. Consider using a handheld steamer on your suitcase and clothing, as heat effectively kills bed bugs.

Seal Your Luggage

Seal your luggage in plastic bags for the trip home to prevent any potential hitchhikers from escaping.

5. Post-Trip Measures

Unpack Safely

Unpack your suitcase in a garage or outside if possible. Immediately wash all clothing in hot water and dry on high heat, as bed bugs cannot survive temperatures above 120°F (49°C). Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly and store it in a plastic bag if you suspect any exposure.

Monitor Your Home

Keep an eye out for signs of bed bugs in your home for a few weeks after your return. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment.


Preventing bed bugs from joining you on holiday requires vigilance and a few proactive measures, but the peace of mind is well worth the effort.

By conducting thorough inspections, keeping your belongings protected, and following careful unpacking procedures, you can ensure that your holiday memories remain pleasant and pest-free. Happy travels!