how to check for bed bugs

Overseas Travel: How to Check for Bed Bugs

I won’t be able to tell you how many unfamiliar beds we’ve slept in during our lifetime. But what I can share with you is that the mere thought of it makes me cringe.

Nobody thinks about bed bugs or the fact that they need to check for bed bugs when booking travel arrangements for their upcoming family vacation. All you truly care about is if the hotel or accommodation is convenient, affordable, and comfortable prior to arrival.

Our Run In with Bed Bugs

Unfortunately, we learned the hard way back in 2014 when we stayed overnight at a low-budget hotel. Although we were ONLY there for one night, both of my children woke up with red bites all over their arms and legs while sleeping in the same bed.

After we spoke to the hotel staff, we found out it had bed bugs, which they were unaware of until the morning we reported it. Thankfully, we walked away with a free nights hotel accommodation and just 2 itchy kids (which lasted for a week).

We decided that moment to throw away the clothes we slept in and anything else lying around, and ended up buying new clothes so as not to transfer any bugs to our next location.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says bed bugs are a worldwide problem and are resurging. While getting bitten and transmitting bugs from place to the next can be a huge issue, the good news is that bed bugs do not transmit disease.

Bed bugs hiding in the ribbing of a mattress corner.

Tips on How to Check for Bed Bugs

how to check for bed bugs
Before the strip search 🙂 Jaf likes pulling off the sheets on the bed and doing the inspection 🙂

The best way to prevent bed bugs is to do an inspection for signs of an infestation. Because we are seasoned travelers and have been violated by bed bugs in the past, here’s how we quickly scan the beds at any accommodation:

  • We leave our bags by the door and do an inspection of the bed as soon as we enter a room. That way if we find any we just leave. Since luggage is one of the main ways bed bugs are transported, we keep our bags far away until our inspection is complete. The bathtub is one place bed bugs will not be hiding, so it’s also a great place to store your luggage.
  • We’re pretty thorough about stripping down the bed, right down to the mattress. We also make sure to lift the mattress to see if there’s anything on the box springs. Carefully check the base for any bugs and pay special attention to seams and crevices – because that’s where the nasty buggers like to hide.
  • Also make sure to check the night stands next to the bed, especially if they’re made of wood. Oh, and don’t forget to check the sofas and chairs, if there are any, they love hiding in cracks and crevices.
  • If you’re comfortable with your room check, then it’s safe to check in. But, to be sure, we always check our sheets the next day to see if there are any blood stains or spots – an indicator that the bed bugs made a night-time appearance.

Here’s a video we watched on how to check for bed bugs that taught us exactly what to do:

On one occasion we stripped the room as soon as we walked in and the bell hop forgot to give us a small backpack. When he stopped by our room and saw what we had done to the beds he said, “Oh my goodness…Are you all ok? Can I help you with something?”

Even with our logical explanation he walked away with a horrified look. But hey, better to be safe than sorry, right?!

We haven’t had or seen any bed bugs lately and that’s a great sign that hotels and other accommodations are keeping things safe for their visitors. But if you feel uneasy about a room, check it out first.

For more information on bed bugs visit

How to Check for Bed Bugs While Traveling

how to check for bed bugs

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