How to avoid bedbugs during travel: Hotel guest’s three travel rules after dream holiday turned into ‘absolute nightmare’
Aly Henry, from the US, shared a now-viral TikTok video explaining how the unwanted blood-sucking creatures made their way into her suitcase – despite her having stayed at a fancy five-star hotel.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Traveller’s warning to hotel guests.
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She tried everything to get rid of the infestation in her apartment – including hiring a pest controller and thoroughly washing her entire wardrobe multiple times.
But she kept waking up every morning with a new bite on her body.
“I thought they were gone twice but they kept coming back,” she said.
In a last-ditch attempt, the tech worker ended up forking out $A1430 on hiring a professional bedbug specialist.
After an “exhausting and expensive” ordeal, Aly shared the three things she learned from the specialist that will help travellers avoid making the same – and costly – mistake.
“If you’re travelling in 2023, you need to watch this video,” she said.
“Imagine coming home from your dream vacation to an absolute nightmare because that’s what happened to me.
“I stayed in a five-star hotel and I came home with bedbugs.
“I know what you’re thinking, ‘That’s not going to happen to me, I’m staying at a nice place, I’m such a clean person.’
“All of those things do not matter.
“Follow these three travel rules to make sure this never happens to you.”
Avoid soft surfaces
Her number one rule is to always avoid leaving suitcases and handbags on “soft” surfaces – including beds and couches – as the areas are likely where bedbugs are hiding.
“Your suitcase should never touch the bed or couch,” she warned.
“Mine was on a couch.”
Instead, she suggested placing your suitcase on “any hard surfaces” like a coffee table or a desk.
“Even in a bathroom is better. Just no soft surfaces,” she said.
Aly said you should always keep worn clothing pieces in the hotel’s wardrobe or drawer – rather than your suitcase.
“This is kind of gross and upsetting but bedbugs are attracted to your smell and your carbon dioxide,” she said.
According to Australia’s Department of Health, bedbugs are attracted to body heat and the carbon dioxide in expired air, which is how they find their host.
“So if you have any clothes that you’re re-wearing on a trip, don’t store them back in your luggage,” Aly said.
“Store them in the closet or store them in a drawer and then when you’re ready to leave, take it all with you so they’re not attracted into your bags.”
Upon returning home, Aly urged travellers to “wash everything” in their suitcase.
“I don’t care if you didn’t wear it, just wash everything when you get home,” she said.
“I pack things I don’t wear all the time – but when you bring it home, you need to wash it, you dry it, high heat if possible.”
By sharing her experiences, she hopes everyone follows her three steps to keep themselves “safe from bringing home bedbugs”.
“This advice was straight from the professional pest controller,” she said.
“Stay safe. If this saves even one person, God bless.”
Her video has been viewed more than 970,000 times – with many thanking Aly for sharing her “important travel tips”.
“As someone who travels every other week and never thinks of this, I needed this,” one said.
Another admitted: “It never even crossed my mind, now I’m terrified. But I know myself, I won’t do anything about it.”
‘Bedbugs ruined my life’
Meanwhile, others shared their own horror bedbug experiences.
“Great advice. This happened to us and we had to call a bedbug exterminator to finally get rid of them,” one traveller revealed.
Another said: “I grew up with my apartment being taken over by bedbugs, they literally ruined my families’ mental health and we all have PTSD from them.”
One wrote: “Bedbugs gave me such a terrible fear of bugs. even something like ants is enough to stop me breathing momentarily.”
While another added: “Literally happens to me in 2017. I came home from Paris with bedbugs and it was my worst nightmare.”
Last year, a hotel employee offered her simple method for checking your room for bedbugs.
Halee, who has worked in the hotel industry for 15 years, shared a TikTok video explaining the best ways to scour the mattress for any unwanted blood-sucking guests.
The US hospitality worker urged travellers to switch off the lights and close the blinds before checking every corner and crease of your mattress using the torch on your phone.
“This is how you should check your hotel room before you even unpack,” she said, adding that this is what she does every time she checks into a room.
Before she opens her suitcase, Halee pulls up the sheets to check the bedbugs’ “favourite hiding spots”.
“The first thing you want to do in your room is turn off the lights, close any shades and use a flashlight on your phone,” she said.
“While everything is off, you’re going to come up here under the covers… and check under all the creases and around the corners of the mattress.
“They usually like to hang out in the corners and the creases. You’re going to want to check underneath the mattress too. Also pay attention if there’s a mattress pad too.”
If you don’t see any bugs, Halee suggests looking out for blood spots – as it’s a tell-tale sign there are bedbugs.
“Even if you don’t see bugs, make sure you check for spots,” she said.
She says the reason she looks for bedbugs in the dark is because they’re “nocturnal”.
“They’re more likely to be out and about looking for their prey,” she said.