Bedbugs aren’t a big concern when you travel … unless you get them. Then they’re a flesh-biting nightmare, and they won’t just ruin your trip — they can ruin your life for months afterward if they hitch a ride home with you.
University of Maine Video
We combine his tips along with some other expert advice into a step-by-step guide for avoiding a bedbug-infested holiday:
Put your bags in the tub, away from the luggage rack
Don’t think you’ll find them only in a two-bit motel — there are well-documented cases of tourists having their upscale hotel getaways ruined by massive bedbug bites. And it’s no use traveling to a region that’s bedbug-free: The data says they can be found all over the U.S.
What’s the best way to weed out these tiny critters? We love this video demonstration from the University of Maine, in which Jim Dill, an expert with a sweet New England accent, shows us how to look for bedbugs upon first checking into a hotel.
Bedbugs can hide in luggage racks too. (Photo: Getty Images)
This should be the first thing you do after checking in, and it’s often not mentioned. While a luggage rack may be away from the bed and elevated, bedbugs could easily be hiding out within the fabric of the straps. To be extra safe, put your bags in the bathroom tub, which bedbugs are unlikely to climb into.
And just to digress for a minute, Sorkin should know bedbugs well — he stores thousands of them at home for study and keeps them alive by letting them feed on him, since he doesn’t react adversely to bites. Chuck Norris has nothing on Louis N. Sorkin.
As for what bed bugs can look like, their size and color can depend on whether they’re an adult or immature, or whether they’ve recently fed. The common rule of thumb is that they’re the size and shape of an appleseed, but Sorkin has posted examples of how that’s not necessarily so. They can be flat or plump in shape, and pale or reddish-brown in color.