Your Hotel Bed Has Bedbugs – Now What?

You were expecting a comfortable and relaxing sleep in your hotel bed on your holiday, but you wake up to find rows of swollen, itchy red bites around your body. You shiver in disgust as you realise that bed bugs have been sucking your blood while you sleep, then retreating to their hiding place within the mattress – Yuck!

Hotel Bed
Clean hotel room – Fashion26, a Wyndham Hotel: Photo by Bill Walsh / CC 2.0

You’ll know that you have been bitten by one of these nocturnal blood suckers because you will see little spots of blood on the sheets and small itchy skin bumps in orderly rows. While you might associate bed bugs with dirty and run down establishments, the truth is that they can appear anywhere from a high end hotel to a budget hostel. The main difference between the five star and the one star establishments is that the higher quality hotels usually deal with the bed bugs more efficiently.

Bed bugs used to be only common in developed countries and quite rare in the developing world. However, in the last couple of decades there has been an increase caused by international travel as well as the bugs developing a resistance to insecticides.

So, if you have spotted these critters in your hotel room, what should you do now? Here are a few tips on how to deal with bed bugs.

How to Deal with Bed Bugs: Bed Bug
Adult Bed Bug (Cimex lectularius)

How to Deal with Bed Bugs

Step One: Treat Your Bites

Examine your bites and decide whether or not you will need medical treatment for them. Most of the time bed bugs bites are just itchy and they will heal in a few days if you put some anti-itching cream on them. However, some people have sensitive skin and can react badly to bites. Also, in hot and humid climates the bites can be more likely to become infected. Keep them clean and keep a close eye on them. Make sure that you avoid scratching them as much as possible, as you will risk infection if you break the skin.

Step Two: Tell the Hotel

Tell the hotel about the problem immediately. Any good hotel or hostel will be very apologetic and will offer you to switch you to another room or refund your stay. You should take photos of the bed bugs, the blood stained sheets and any bites on your body, just so that you have proof of what has happened. Write a review online stating what happened and how the hotel dealt with it, so that others guests can be informed.

How to Deal with Bed Bugs: Cimex_lectularius2
Blood-fed Bed Bugs – Cimex lectularius (Note the differences in color with respect to digestion of blood meal)

Step Three: Make Sure the Bugs Don’t Follow You

Make sure that the nasty little buggers are not hitching a ride in your luggage home or to the next hotel. You should wash all of your clothing in 120 degrees Fahrenheit water to make sure that all of the bugs are dead. You can try asking the hotel to have your clothing cleaned, they will usually be happy to do this for you as an apology for the bed bugs.

Once you have treated your bites, informed the hotel and made sure that the bugs don’t follow you, you will be able to relax in a new bug-free bed. Hope these tips on how to deal with bed bugs helps! Sleep tight!

How to Deal with Bed Bugs: Sleeping like an angel
Sleeping like an angel: Photo by Luiz Alcides / CC 2.0

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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