Don't let these nasty bugs ruin your much-deserved trip abroad

The dream: a trip abroad. The nightmare: bringing back a creepy, fast-breeding stowaway.

Bed bugs are tiny, flat, apple-seed-shaped insects that feed on your blood at night. They can be found anywhere – from dingy dives to luxury resorts – and spread by hitchhiking on the luggage of travellers.

Bed bugs don’t transmit disease, but their bites can be painful, and they can make you feel invaded in your own home. Use these travel tips to reduce your chances of returning with a nasty souvenir.

How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home

  • Research your hotels using an online database like bedbugregistry.com
  • Don’t bring pillows. Do bring plastic bags for your belongings
  • Keep your bags on a luggage stand. Avoid putting anything on the bed or other furniture
  • Inspect your room. Examine the seams of the mattress, as well as the linens, bed frame, dressers and nightstand
  • Look for the bugs, as well as for dark specks of blood or feces. Use a keychain flashlight to check corners, closets, drawers and mattress seams after nightfall, when bed bugs are most active
  • If you find signs of bed bugs, ask to be moved to a different room. Check the new room in the same way
  • On your return, examine your luggage and clothing, and clean them thoroughly before putting anything away
  • If you see bugs or notice bites after your trip, call a pest control company for advice

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.