a red suitcase with 2 passports, tickets and a pair of sunglasses on top of it

After the holidays end and the Canadian winter has fully settled in, many of us try to escape the cold weather by retreating to warm destinations. We eagerly seek the sand and sun, hoping to re-live lazy summer days and have some fun. For others, business travel picks up early in the new year. 

There is a possibility that in addition to the tan, souvenirs, or new customers and leads you come home with, you could also bringing home bed bugs

A bed bug infestation is the last thing you want to bring home from a vacation or business trip, as getting rid of bed bugs is no easy task. With over 30 years pest management experience, we’ve shared some information and tips below to help you prevent these bugs from coming home with you.

About Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are an evolving parasite that once only inhabited bird nests and the roosts of bats. Until recently, they have been able to survive and adapt in human environments. Their small bodies (about the size of an apple seed) make it easy for bed bugs to blend into nooks and crevices of any space. Humans are the most ideal host for bed bugs, their nocturnal tendencies mean they feed on their hosts while they are sleeping at night and then return to their hiding place. 

Bed bugs can be found anywhere, and when we say anywhere, we mean bed bugs can live on the chair at the movie theatre, the couch at the hair salon, or even inside a book at the library. So how do you get bed bugs? Travelling anywhere.

How Do Bed Bugs Travel?

The population of bed bugs has increased over the past couple of years due to the convenience of travel.  Bed bugs are very transferable, as they are able to travel by stowing away in the nooks and crevices of dark places like books, purses, briefcases and luggage. Hotels and motels are particularly susceptible to infestations because of the easy access to luggage, clothing and furniture. 

Bed bugs commonly hitchhike their way from fabric to fabric, and are so small and not very noticeable, which makes travel for them a breeze. Note that it is unlikely that a bed bug would be able to travel by attaching itself to the clothes you are wearing.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs When You Travel: Before You Leave

Before you pack your bags and head out on your vacation, there are a few factors to consider when booking your hotel. First, there are no international standards for hotel cleanliness. Just because it’s a luxury or five star rated hotel does not mean it is immune to bed bugs. It can be difficult for staff to thoroughly check all rooms for pests after every single guest. So if you do find bed bugs, notify the staff and ask to be relocated to a different room immediately.

Pro Tip: There are a few things you can do to prevent a bed bug ridden vacation. Sites like The Bed Bug Registry let you search hotels and browse user-submitted bed bug hotel reports across Canada and the United States. If you are travelling outside of Canada or the United States, there are a number of travel review sites that will be able to give you some insight to guest experiences with bed bugs in hotels or other housekeeping issues.

How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Packing Your Suitcase for a Vacation

First, you tend to want to bring items like pillows and blankets to make you feel more comfortable. Try to avoid bringing bulky items like pillows or blankets, the large dark spaces can give bed bugs a great location to hide in and ultimately make their way back home with you.

Bed bugs are less attracted to light colours, so we recommend to use a light coloured fabric or plastic luggage set when travelling. You are also more likely to see any bed bugs if they are on a lighter fabric as opposed to a darker one.

Pro Tip: Pack large sealable plastic bags to separate clean and dirty clothes while on the road. Pack a flashlight, we will explain why in the next paragraph.

How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel Room

You made it to your hotel after a long cab ride or bus ride from the airport and all you want to do is relax, take in the gorgeous view, and unpack a few items. Stop right there. From the moment you arrive to your room, there are a few things to look around for:

Pro Tip: For the duration of your vacation, when you're not using your shower/tub, store  your luggage in these spaces. Unpacking your items into drawers may expose your clothing to bed bugs if they are present.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs When You Get Home

So you have enjoyed your vacation and now you are home and back to reality. First things first, remove your clothing bags from your suitcase and put them in the dryer on the hottest setting for 60 minutes. This will kill any bed bugs hotel that thought about coming home with you. Once you have finished unpacking your suitcase, inspect it over (for peace of mind you didn't bring home bed bugs or for confirmation that bed bugs travelled home with you) and vacuum it thoroughly. 

Pro Tip: Vacuum every nook and crevice of your luggage, after that is done, take the vacuum bag or canister immediately outside in the garbage. This will make sure no bed bugs find their way from the kitchen garbage to your bed.  If you feel you may have been exposed to bed bugs, vacuum your suitcase outside.

Environmental Pest Control - Bed Bug Control Experts Since 1988

A Bed Bug infestations is a serious problem that is always best managed and eliminated by an experienced, knowledgeable pest control professional. If you think you have a bed bug infestation or know you have one, contact us  by phone or request a free quote online. We will take care of everything. You can trust that we will take care of everything - we’ve been expertly eliminating bed bugs for over 30 years.


Call 1 (800) 263-5055

Our Professional Team is Happy to Help!