How to Check for Bed Bugs in Your Hotel Room: A Quick Guide


Traveling and staying at a hotel can be an exhilarating adventure. Of course, you wouldn’t want any uninvited visitors, like bed bugs, to spoil your experience.

These small brown bugs can be quite bothersome. Leave itchy marks on your skin making it hard to get a good night’s sleep. To make sure you have a cozy stay it’s important to know how to inspect your hotel room, for bed bugs.

Checking for bed bugs might seem like a daunting task, but with a systematic approach and keen eye, you can put your mind at ease.

Before you unpack and get settled, take a few moments to inspect your room thoroughly. By knowing where and what to look for, you can avoid bed bugs and enjoy a peaceful, worry-free vacation.

Pre-Booking Research

Before you make a reservation for a hotel room it’s important to do a bit of investigating to make sure the hotel does not have any bed bugs.


Checking Hotel Reviews

Before making your reservation, read online reviews for the hotel you plan to stay in. Look for any mentions of bed bugs in the comments.

Pay attention to recent reviews, as these will give you the most accurate picture of the hotel’s current conditions. Keep in mind that a few isolated incidents should not disqualify an entire hotel, but if you notice a pattern of complaints, consider looking for an alternative place to stay.

Local Bed Bug Registry

Another resource you can consult is a local bed bug registry, such as the Bed Bug Registry, a site that collects reports of bed bugs from hotel guests.

Use this website to search for your specific hotel or all hotels in a specific city and see where previous guests have reported encounters with bed bugs.

This information will help you make an informed decision when choosing a hotel and reduce the likelihood of finding bed bugs in your room.

Upon Arrival Inspections


Initial Inspection

When you first enter your hotel room, take a moment to assess the overall cleanliness and condition. Look for any obvious signs of pest infestations, such as dark spots or stains on surfaces, especially near upholstered furniture and bedding.

Keep your luggage on a luggage rack or inside the bathroom temporarily to avoid any potential contact with bed bugs.

Bathroom Inspection

Begin your inspection in the bathroom, as it’s an unlikely place for bed bugs to hide. Check behind the toilet, around the sink and bathtub or shower area, and under any rugs or mats.

While it’s rare to find bed bugs in this area, being thorough in your inspection will give you additional peace of mind.

The last hotel my family stayed at we found a dead bed bug on the wall in the bathroom. We immediately left and stayed at a different hotel.

Bed and Bedding Inspection

Move on to the bed and bedding inspection. This is the best place to find bed bugs if they are in the room. I do this in every hotel room I stay at.

  1. Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, zippers, and edges.
  2. Use a flashlight to examine the joints and corners of the bed frame, including the headboard.
  3. Look for any reddish-brown ovals, tiny white eggs, or light-yellow casings – signs of bed bug presence.
  4. Don’t forget to examine any upholstered furniture, like chairs and sofas, as well as folds in curtains or drapes.

Luggage and Clothing Inspection

After completing the room inspection, it’s time to inspect your luggage and belongings:

  1. Before unpacking, carefully examine the exterior of your luggage, paying special attention to seams and pockets.
  2. Check your clothing for any signs of pests – small reddish-brown stains, eggs, or casings.
  3. If you’ve used shared transportation, such as a shuttle bus, consider inspecting any bags that were stored with others.

By taking these precautionary steps, you can minimize the chances of encountering bed bugs during your hotel stay and prevent bringing any unwanted pests back home with you.

What To Do If You Find a Bed Bug in Hotel Room


Alerting Hotel Staff

If you find a bed bug in your hotel room, the first thing you should do is alert the hotel staff immediately. Approach the front desk or call them from your room and calmly explain the situation.

Make sure to take a picture of the bug as evidence. Be patient and give the staff a chance to respond appropriately.

Securing Your Belongings

While you wait for the hotel staff to address the situation, take steps to secure your belongings. Bed bugs can easily hitch a ride on your luggage, clothing, and personal items.

Keep your suitcase and personal items off the floor and away from the bed.

Store them in the bathroom, as it’s an unlikely place for bed bugs to hide. Consider placing your clothes and belongings in sealed plastic bags to limit the chances of contamination.

Requesting Room Change

Once the hotel staff has acknowledged your concerns, request a room change. Make sure your new room is not adjacent or directly above or below the affected room, as bed bugs can travel between rooms through small cracks and crevices.

Before settling into your new room, conduct a thorough inspection for bed bugs just as you did with the previous room.

I would personally just leave and go to another hotel, why risk sleeping with bed bugs.

Post-Stay Precautions


Once you’ve completed your hotel stay and checked out of your room it’s crucial to take measures to prevent bringing any bed bugs with you.

In this section we’ll provide guidance on how to unpack and handle your laundry safely minimizing the chances of a bed bug infestation, in your living space.

Unpacking Safely

When you return home, inspect your luggage carefully before bringing it inside. Look for any signs of bed bugs like small reddish-brown insects, shed skins, or tiny dark spots which could be fecal matter.

If you find any signs, vacuum your luggage thoroughly and dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag.

It’s a good idea to unpack your belongings over a white sheet or on a hard surface, like tiles or hardwood floor, making it easier to spot any bed bugs that might fall out.

Avoid unpacking your suitcase in carpeted areas or on upholstered furniture, as these can provide hiding spots for bed bugs.

I leave the suitcase in the garage and do the unpacking there. Then I take the clothes right to the washer.

Laundry Procedures

Soon as you unpack it’s important to wash all your clothes and fabric items, whether you’ve worn them or not. Use water around 120°F or higher and make sure to dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes.

This process will effectively eliminate any bed bugs or their eggs that might have tagged along. In case you have items that can’t be washed simply seal them in a bag and place them in the freezer for a minimum of four days to get rid of the bed bugs.

Remember to also wash the white sheet or any other material used during the unpacking process to eliminate any potential bed bugs that might have been transferred to it.

By following these post-stay precautions, you can confidently minimize the risk of bringing bed bugs into your home after a hotel stay. Stay mindful and safe during your travels by consistently checking for bed bugs and following these recommended steps.



How can I find bed bugs using a flashlight?

To find bed bugs using a flashlight, first, ensure the room is dark. Turn off all the lights and close the curtains. Next, grab a flashlight and closely inspect common hiding spots for bed bugs. These include seams of the mattress, cracks in the headboard, baseboards, and folds of upholstered furniture. When shining the light, look for reddish-brown ovals or small, white eggs which indicate bed bug activity.

How do I prevent bringing bed bugs home from a hotel?

To prevent bringing bed bugs home from a hotel, follow these steps:

  1. When you first enter your hotel room, place your luggage on a luggage rack or in the bathroom, as these are unlikely places for bed bugs to hide.
  2. Inspect the bedding, furniture, and other areas for any signs of bed bugs as mentioned above.
  3. Keep your luggage and clothes away from the bed and other potential hiding spots.
  4. When returning home, avoid placing your luggage on your bed or carpet. Inspect and vacuum your suitcase, then wash and dry all your clothes on high heat to kill any potential bed bugs or their eggs.

Can I use bed bug spray in my hotel room?

While bed bug sprays can be effective in killing bed bugs, using them in a hotel room can be problematic. Some sprays may pose health risks to you or other guests and may also damage hotel property. Additionally, homemade bed bug sprays made with bleach or vinegar often only provide a temporary solution and do not work well. It’s best to notify hotel management if you suspect bed bugs in your room.