Protect yourself from bedbugs abroad

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 23, 2018

When people begin preparing for an out-of- town or overseas trip or vacation, scenarios of a dozen things may rush through their heads. Travelers buy extra-sturdy hidden wallets, pack bottles of every medication under the sun and receive vaccinations for illnesses they never come across in their destination.

However, there is something in particular travelers almost always overlook – bedbugs.

Over the past few years I have stayed in cheap hostels, hotels and other various sites across Asia. Some were nice, some were dirty and almost all of them looked like they were half-heartedly cleaned. While the mold, dirt and questionable stains usually didn’t bother me too much, I always made sure to check for bedbugs before settling in for the night.

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Even when I was settling into a room at 1 a.m. after a 6-hour flight and 2-hour taxi ride, I always made sure to check for bedbugs. Even though I just wanted to hop into bed, I would remind myself – “you can wash off dirt, but if a bedbug climbs into your backpack, it’s going home with you.”

Bedbugs can live for months without food and are hard to kill. More often than not, professional extermination services have to be called to kill off the infestation. That professional work is costly, invasive and time-consuming – so it’s better to be cautious from the get-go. No matter how long the trip or how crazy the day of shopping, hiking and feasting may have been – always take the time to check for bedbugs.

If signs of an infestation are found, don’t be afraid to ask for different accommodations.

After a trip, be sure to check clothing and other items a bug may have stowed away on.

Even if no bugs can be seen, spend a little extra time to vacuum and clean more thoroughly than usual until it is certain that there is no risk of unwelcome company.