Bedbugs are equal-opportunity pests: You're as likely to encounter them at a high-end hotel as at a budget dive. To avoid forming a lasting relationship with these unwanted critters, follow these precautions from Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at the National Pest Management Association.
1) Pestproof with plastic. When packing, pop clothes into giant sealable bags. There are also medium and large clear plastic suitcase covers for wary travelers who want to keep the bugs at bay.
2) Do a spot check. Upon arrival, deposit your luggage in the shower, and do a visual sweep for the apple-seed-size bugs (and specks of blood) on the mattress and upholstered furniture.
3) Safeguard your belongings. Even if your room is clean, keep your suitcase off the floor, preferably atop a hard luggage rack. Avoid draping your clothes over the furniture or placing them inside the dresser drawers.
4) Wash everything on arrival As soon as you get home, launder all of your clothes--even items you haven't worn--on the hottest washer and dryer settings. Then vacuum your suitcase to suck up any stowaways.
Have you ever had a bed bug outbreak?
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