Eeeww! How to Protect Yourself From Bedbugs in Your Hotel Room

For GALTime by Anne Banas of


No one wants to think about creepy crawlies when booking that amazing hotel room with the lovely Frette linens and feathery pillows. But sadly, bedbugs are a reality, even in some of the nicest hotels. To help avoid the heebie jeebies and prevent a few unwanted "friends" from coming home with you, here are a few suggestions:

When you get to your hotel room, inspect the bed and look for tiny bugs, which might be difficult to spot since they often come out at night. Bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed. They're reddish brown and oval. Look for very small blood stains (dark red or black flecks) on the mattress (especially the seams), sheets and pillows that might indicate that critters have feasted on previous guests. Check the head board (front and back), bedframe/boxspring and dust ruffle, too.

Related: Special Hotel Safety Tips for Women

Keep your suitcase off the bed, as well as the couches and chairs. While the name bdbugs suggests where the insects often live, they can also lurk in cracks and crevices all over your hotel room. The floor should be off-limits, as well. Tables and dressers are best for suitcase storage.

Consider placing your clothes in plastic bags and keeping them there throughout the duration of your trip. Then, wash them in hot water as soon as you get home. If you're really paranoid, you can enclose your entire suitcase in plastic.

Related: How to Fit EVERYTHING You Need Into a Carry-On

If you do find bedbugs in your hotel room, ask the manager on duty to move you to a different room immediately. If there isn't another one available, consider finding a new hotel. But before you leave, politely ask for a refund. If the hotel refuses, document the problem by taking detailed notes and photos or video. Most of us travel with digital cameras or camcorders these days. Also, anything you can get in writing from management or housekeeping will help your case.

Once you get home, there are steps to take if you want to dispute charges and fight back.

What if you use that keycard and walk into a hotel room that reeks of smoke, has filthy carpets and garbage in the trash cans? Or you turn down the covers to find soiled sheets? Same drill as above. It's move me or reimburse me.

You might want to check out online reviews posted by consumers before you book a room. If a hotel has an abundance of complaints, buyer beware.

Trip Advisor puts out a yearly list of the Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels based on consumer reviews. Here's their 2010 list.

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