Coping with… bed bugs

When travelling around this lovely globe of ours, you may find yourself staying in some less than savoury accommodation to save a bit of dough along the way. There’s absolutely loads to be said for travelling on a shoestring – your budget stretches further so you get to see more, you can afford to travel for longer, and you can meet other likeminded people along the way who will no doubt have some decent tips – however, hostels and the like can be breeding grounds for all types of nasties, including bed bugs.

Bed bug

Don’t get me wrong, even 5* hotels can fall foul of these bloodsucking little buggers, but as people in hostels and cheap guesthouses tend to be just ‘passing through’, this transient existence of a hostel sleeper means that they can be easily passed on in backpacks, on clothes and actually on your person. Yuck.

Having been feasted upon countless times by these little Draculas, I’ve now got my routine down to a tee, so I thought I’d share with you how to get rid of bed bugs, once and for all. You’ll thank me for it later, and so will your fellow hostellers!

1. Keep calm and diagnose

So you’ve woken up with big red angry spots on your limbs. The first thing to do is to remain calm and make sure it’s bed bugs you’re dealing with. Could it have been caused by a mosquito, or a particularly delightful rash? Bed bug bites are very easy to distinguish, as they will be all in a line as the greedy little mite walks and eats on the go. No line of bites? It’s probably something you’ve picked up from that grubby looking bloke or blokette from the hostel bar, you naughty little scamp!

Bedbug bites.. all in a row! (sadface)

Bedbug bites.. all in a row! (sadface)

2. Find the source

If you’re feeling brave, lift up your mattress and take a ganders at your bed frame. Bed bugs love wood (you’re less likely to find them on a metal frame) and really small spaces so you’ll probably find them lurking in the gaps. If you don’t see any bugs, then make sure you look out for their poo… they have very bad toilet manners and will do it anywhere to it’s a dead giveaway of something nesting in your sleeping quarters.

3. Shout it from the rooftops

Although no one likes getting devoured by a small family of vampire insects, it’s really important that you let your hostel / guest house / hotel / tipi owner that you’ve got them. Ask them to fumigate your room and make sure you then tell everyone in your room if you’re sharing so they can make sure to get rid, too.


4.Wash ALL of your clothes

Yes, all of them. Especially if you’ve had your bag on your bed, or if you’ve put your PJ’s back in your backpack after wearing them the night before. Make sure you put them on the hottest wash you dare (without risking shrinking everything), as the hotter the better to scald them off. At least 50 degrees should be enough. Bed bugs are mainly spread by people’s clothes and bags and can lie dormant in your bag for days. They lay up to 12 eggs each day, and it only takes 6 or so days for the eggs to hatch, so it doesn’t take long for things to start getting very ugly.

5. Fog, fog, fog

Bed bugs can survive for months without sucking blood so they’re a living time bomb. Don’t risk carrying them to your next destination. Buy a can of insecticide and spray the inside and outside of your bag, especially in seams and pockets. Even better, you would completely throw away your bag and buy a new one, but I know in reality this may not be completely realistic.

Do you have any failsafe ways of dealing with bed bugs? Let me know using the comments box below, and for more information, check out this handy guide to bed bugs.

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Hayley is the author behind A Life of More, a travel and lifestyle blog with the goal of helping you to live a happier and more fulfilled life, whether you're currently travelling or happily settled.

Comments 10

  1. Ryan

    God, bed bugs were my nightmare in California. It still haunts me. We had the worst infestation the exterminator had seen in his career. I was working on a cruise ship in Hawaii and allowed these (eventually asshole distrustful douchebag) Italians to sublet. The brought bed bugs in, and also had 8+ people staying in my 2 bedroom place and for 6 months the bedbugs fed on them and infested the place. They trashed the place and stole things anyway, but on return finding the bites all over me I called the exterminator who found them everywhere. Some were the size of my pinky fingernail because the Italians weren’t feeling there bites. Still struggle with sleep sometimes after that.

  2. Post
    LovePuffin Travel Blog

    Oh my god that sounds horrific! The size of a fingernail?!? They’re like super villain bugs. I feel itchy….
    The ones you can see in my oh so flattering pic are from a hostel in Nicaragua where it was so hot I couldn’t tell if I was sweating or if bed bugs were crawling on me. Turns out it was of course the bed bugs. Can still feel them now. Ew!

  3. Pingback: My Favourite Travel Blog Articles of May 2014 - REXYEDVENTURES

  4. Herman

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  6. Anne

    I am sorry for anyone who has ever had to deal with bed bugs, they can completely consume your life! Learn from me ya’ll!!! prevent them its so much cheaper and easier then fighting them. I do as much as possible to prevent from sheets, to luggage! i spent thousands of dollars getting rid of them and i will not be getting them again. YUCK

  7. Pingback: How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs When Traveling | Cheeky Jaunt

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