While bedbugs were once considered a problem primarily in developing nations where hygiene standards are more challenging to maintain, their presence has rapidly expanded in recent years to countries like the USA, Canada, the UK, and parts of Europe.
France, in particular, is currently grappling with a bed bug epidemic, prompting urgent measures ahead of the upcoming Paris Olympics and Paralympic Games. These relentless pests are not limited to hostels or hotel rooms; they can be found on planes, cruise ships, trains, and buses as well. The good news is, bedbugs do not transmit diseases, although their bites can cause itching and discomfort. Severe allergic reactions are rare and usually do not require medical attention.
If you’re concerned about encountering these nuisances during your travels, here are some precautionary steps to minimize the risk without resorting to panic:
Before You Travel:
- Opt for hard-sided luggage, as it is more difficult for bedbugs to infiltrate.
- Pack your clothes in ziplock plastic bags, and if your stay is short, leave them in the sealed bags.
- Consider carrying your sleeping bag liner and pillow slips.
- Check with your accommodation beforehand to inquire about their bedbug prevention and control policies.
- Use a luggage rack that is elevated off the floor, making it harder for bedbugs to reach.
- Inspect the room for signs of bedbugs before unpacking; check creases and folds in fabrics.
- Bedbugs leave distinctive dark droppings that resemble tiny black dots. Examine the mattress, pillows, pillow slips, sheets, and other bedding.
- Report any signs of bedbugs to your accommodation provider immediately. Consider requesting a room change or moving to a different floor.
Upon Returning Home:
- Unpack your luggage in the laundry or bathroom, shaking out your clothes carefully before putting them directly into the washing machine.
- Washing clothes on the highest heat setting can help eradicate bedbugs. If items cannot be washed, consider dry cleaning or steam cleaning.
- Store your luggage away from your bedroom, if possible, to prevent any potential transfer of bedbugs from your luggage to your bed.
By following these steps, you can safeguard yourself from the inconvenience of bedbugs and enjoy your travels with peace of mind.
Find out more about the growing plague HERE