What to Do If Your Hotel Has Bed Bugs

In a perfect world, hotels are clean and safe spaces for you to stay in when you are away from your home — a home away from home. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world and some hotels are less than perfect and may be dirty or — even worse — may harbour insects, such as bed bugs. So, what should you do if you find that your hotel has bed bugs?

Why hotels have bed bugs

  • Hotels accommodate many different kinds of people. Hotels can have bed bugs simply because different kinds of people from different walks of life come and go inside them. They are bound to accommodate those who have bed bugs with them.
  • Hotels provide a constant source of bed bug food. Bed bugs suck the blood out of people. That’s how they survive. Because hotel rooms always have people in them, bed bugs thrive there as there is a constant source of blood.
  • Bed bugs can thrive beyond just mattresses. People can bring bed bugs from different places, such as college dorms, other hotels, and even office spaces. Once they check into a hotel with their hitchhiking bed bugs, they start an infestation in their room.
There are some things you can do if you have bed bugs in your hotel room

What to do if your hotel has bed bugs

1. Know the signs of a bed bug infestation

First, you have to confirm that your hotel room really has bed bugs in it. The strongest signs are live bed bugs themselves. These insects are reddish-brown and are about 1 to 7 millimeters small. Their eggs are milky white capsules you will often find in clusters, usually in the corners and undersides of bed frames and mattresses.

Blood stains, brown smear marks, and carcasses are also things you should look out for. You will often see these on bed sheets, pillowcases, and everywhere a human may settle.

2. Get evidence

You should inform hotel staff about the infestation in your room, but you have to gather evidence first. Capture the bed bugs themselves, but this can be gross for some. You can simply just take pictures of the beg bugs or the signs of the bed bug infestation.

Bed bug bites often look like red marks in a cluster, usually in a straight line. You can take pictures of these as well if you have them.

3. Inform hotel staff

Call reception and tell them about the bed bugs you have discovered in your room. Tell them you also have evidence to prove your point. At this point, hotel staff should be going to your room and inspecting it themselves.

Once they have confirmed that you have indeed been troubled by bed bugs in their hotel, you can now work out a solution with them. There are many solutions you can try. You can ask for a room change, just check out, or demand a refund.

4. Ask for a room switch

Bed bug complaints are probably not very common, so you may have to talk to a manager and not just some rank-and-file hotel staff. But here’s the thing about managers — they operate differently. Some may be more accommodating than others.

If you decide to change rooms, some managers may give you a free upgrade just to make up for the trouble the hotel has caused. But some may give you a room that has a similar rate to what you have before.

5. Check out

If it’s not the middle of the night and you are confident you can find another place to stay, you can consider just checking out and looking for another hotel. After all, you can never be too sure if simply changing rooms will solve your problem. You may not trust the hotel anymore. What if the new room has bed bugs too?

6. Demand a refund

If you do decide to check out, demand a refund for your accommodation. Most hotels will be willing to give your money back because it’s in their best interest as well. It’s just not worth it to fight over your money, especially because it can result in bad press, or at least, a bad reputation when word gets out that they have bed bugs in their hotel.

The more accommodating managers may even offer you a free stay in a different room as part of their cooperation with you.

7. Clean your luggage when you get home

Bed bugs are sneaky hitchhikers. They can get into your clothes or luggage, and you may potentially bring them home with you to start an infestation. Make sure you don’t introduce these small parasitic insects into your home by leaving your luggage outside. Get plastic bags and throw in the contents of your luggage to isolate them, and then immediately wash them in your washing machine, preferably in a hot setting to kill off bed bugs that may have sneaked in.

It’s great if you can wash your bags and suitcases as well.

Bed bugs can get into your bags.

How to avoid bed bugs in hotels

  • Check hotel reviews. It’s always good to check online reviews of hotels before you even book a room. Look for reviews that mention infestations, not just of bed bugs, but also of other pests, like cockroaches. You can also leave your own review after your experience. It may be the one they need to finally get rid of their hotel’s bed bug infestation.
  • Look for the signs of bed bug infestations. Before settling in and putting down your luggage, inspect the room first. Look for the obvious signs of bed bug infestations, such as live bed bugs, eggs, and stains. But also pay attention to the smell of the room. Bed bugs in large quantities can give off a musky smell.
  • Be wary of bed bug hotspots when traveling. There are many places where you can get bed bugs while traveling, not just hotels. You can get them from any place where there is furniture, especially soft-cushioned ones like airplane and bus seats and wooden furniture like cabinets and sofas.

Contact hotel staff immediately if you have bed bugs

If you see the signs of bed bugs in your hotel room, inform a hotel manager on duty as soon as you can. Present the evidence to prove your point and come up with a solution with the manager. You can change rooms, check out, or get a refund. You may get more favorable results if the hotel manager is more understanding and accommodating.

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