Before you hit the road on your next vacation or business trip, do your homework. People are quick to share their travel experiences online, especially when it comes to bed bugs in hotel rooms. Websites like Tripadvisor, where customers post their own reviews of hotels and resorts, are invaluable resources to see if your hotel has a bed bug problem. You can also check out bedbugregistry.com, an online database that tracks reported bed bug infestations in hotels and apartments. The bottom line – if people are saying they've seen bed bugs at a certain hotel or resort, don't stay there on your trip.
How you pack for your trip can also make the difference in thwarting bed bugs you may encounter on the road. Baggies are a traveler's best friend. Get yourself a good supply of large baggies (1 or 2 gallon sizes work great), and seal everything you can inside them. Clothing, shoes, toiletries, and even books can be zipped up tight to keep bed bugs out. Make sure you seal the baggies completely, as even a tiny opening can allow a wandering bed bug to get in. When in your hotel room, keep the baggies zipped shut unless you need access to an item inside.
If you've still got some old school luggage around – the hard-sided luggage with latches, not zippers – use it. Cloth-sided luggage offers bed bugs a million hideaways. Hard-sided luggage doesn't have folds or seams where bed bugs can hide, and it closes completely, with no gaps so the pests can't penetrate your bag's interior.
If you must use soft-sided luggage for your trip, lighter-colored bags are better. Bed bugs will be virtually impossible to spot on black or dark-colored bags.
Avoid packing clothing that can only be laundered in cold water. Washing in hot water, then drying at high heat, does a good job of killing any bed bugs carried home on clothes, so you'll want to choose garments that can be de-bugged when you return.