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Bed Bug Travel Tips


  • Encase your bed with a protective covering, which prevents them from entering your mattress or box spring when you return and makes it easier to detect them.
  • Place plastic lawn and leaf bags in the trunk of your car so that you can seal your suitcases after you leave a hotel.


  • Check mattress seams, look under corners of box spring and use a flashlight and a small mirror, if necessary, to look behind the headboard. Bedbugs are flat, brown, wingless insects. After a feeding, they are purplish-red and more cigar-shaped. Young bedbugs are smaller and nearly colorless except after feeding. Fecal deposits (composed of digested blood) look like a scattering of pepper. If you detect signs, contact the management. Low-level infestations are difficult to detect.
  • Do not put luggage on the bed or floor. Use the luggage rack or set it in the tub. Keep the clothing you have worn in a sealed bag separate from your other clothing.
  • Don't forget to put luggage in plastic bags before loading into the trunk.


  • Keep luggage out of the house or in plastic bags while you unpack. Because high heat kills bedbugs and their eggs, wash and dry items at the hottest setting the fabric can withstand. For dry cleaning, keep items in plastic and tell the cleaner that items may have been exposed to bedbugs.
  • For non-washable items and smaller suitcases, consider investing in a PackTite unit, a collapsible chamber that heats to 145 degrees. It can accommodate an overnight bag, computer bag or other non-launderable items.
  • Most suitcases can be hand-washed. The University of Minnesota Extension recommends using soapy water and the hottest water possible -- 100 to 120 degrees. Use a scrub brush or old toothbrush along the seams and folds. Carryall and Duffle bags need to be put in the drier (high heat) for at least 30 minutes.
  • Some experts say you can freeze bedbugs; others disagree. The core of the articles being treated must reach a minimum of 23 degrees for at least five days. Most household freezers are set between 20 and 30 degrees. If you're uncertain of the freezer temperatures, keep items frozen at least two weeks.
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