How to prevent bed bugs when travelling

prevent bed bugs

Spring is finally here, it’s time to pack away those winter coats and enjoy the weather. Around this time you might be thinking about planning your next holiday, but did you know this puts you at risk of bed bugs?

How do you get bed bugs?

Since the early 2000’s there has been a drastic increase in the number of bed bug infestations around the globe.

There are 2 factors that have led to the rise in bed bugs:

  • Global travel
  • Second-hand furniture sales


Hotels and other overnight accommodation facilities play an important part in the spread of bed bugs.

The increase in global travel has lead to these facilities receiving a high amount of human traffic. This allows bed bugs to spread easily, discreetly traveling from one occupant to another.

Hotels are just as much at risk of accumulating a bed bug problem as they are at spreading bed bugs. The constant stream of occupants means bed bugs can easily find their way in and easily find their way out.

Second-hand furniture

In recent years, there has also been an increase in the sale of second-hand furniture. Purchasing such products for your home can also put you at risk of bed bugs.

Furniture, such as beds and sofas, provide bed bugs with a stable and safe place to hide and crucially close to a food source. Purchasing a piece of furniture which has a bed bug problem can result in you unknowingly bringing bed bugs into your own home.

How to avoid bed bugs when travelling

So you’ve learnt about the role hotels and travel play in the spread of bed bugs, but how can you prevent this?

Well, you’ll be relieved to hear there are a few techniques which you can adopt to ensure bed bugs don’t ruin your summer holiday.

Check your hotel room for bed bugs

When staying in a hotel, motel, or any other overnight accommodation whilst on holiday inspecting the room for bed bugs can help ensure you don’t find yourself giving these biting insects a free ride back to your home.

check hotel for bed bugs

FREE guide to checking your hotel room for bed bugs

How to inspect your hotel room for bed bugs

When checking your room for bed bugs you should inspect the following:

  • Bed – Check the mattress and bed frame
  • Bedside cabinets – Check the drawers as well behind and underneath the cabinet
  • Wardrobes and skirting boards – Thoroughly inspect the wardrobes and the gaps between skirting boards and walls
  • Sofas and chairs –  Inspect the cushions – pay close attention to the seems
  • Luggage stands – Check the webbing as well as the joints

What should I be looking for?

  • Live bed bugs
  • Bed bug eggs
  • Dark/black stains
  • Shed skin

Find out more about inspecting your hotel room for bed bugs here.

Use luggage stands with caution

Luggage stands in hotel rooms are a hot spot for bed bug activity. Bed bugs often use luggage to travel and infest a new home, because of this luggage stands are often the first point of contact for bed bugs.

When staying in a hotel it’s a good idea to store your luggage in the ensuite bathroom whilst carrying out an inspection of a room, and during the whole stay. This can drastically reduce the risk of getting bed bugs.

Bed bug registry

Those of you traveling to the United States or the UK may find the Bed Bug Registry a useful tool to reduce the possibility of obtaining a bed bug problem.

The bed bug registry is a free public database reporting on cases of bed bugs in hotels in North America and the UK, which have shown signs of bed bug activity.

This database is populated by members of the public and includes a search feature. This allows you to check if the hotel and the area you are planning to visit have had any previous reportings of a bed bug problem.

What to do after you’ve come home from holiday

So you’ve just come back home from your holiday, and you’ve taken the necessary prevention steps during your stay to avoid bed bugs, now what?

Well, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of a bed bug problem whilst travelling even further. These consist of making sure your luggage and your clothing are bed bug free.


After returning from your travels it is a good idea to store your luggage outside, in a shed or in your garage.

As you know, bed bugs love to hitch a ride in your luggage, and can often do so with you knowing it! Keeping your luggage in these locations will help limit the spread to your home.

The best way to implement this is to place bags and suitcases in these areas once you have returned and refrain from bringing them into your house, especially if you are concerned about bed bugs.


Bed bugs can often be found hiding amongst the clothes in your luggage. To avoid accumulating bed bugs in your home you should wash your clothing on a high heat.

To do this successfully it is advised that you empty the contents of your bags and suitcases into black bin liners and transfer them to your washing machine.

To successfully prevent bed bugs you should wash your clothing at a temperature of at least 60℃, and if possible place the items into a tumble dryer for at least 30 minutes.

Bed bugs aren’t great survivors in high temperatures. Washing clothing will help eliminate both adult bed bugs and bed bug eggs, reducing the risk of a bed bugs in your home.

If you have found yourself with a bed bug problem, the best way to remove bed bugs from your home or business is to enlist the help of a pest control professional.

Get in contact with Rentokil for expert advice and solutions on how to get rid of bed bugs.