A Travel Tip: One that You May Not Want to Use

I read the following advice, regarding bed bug prevention when visiting hotels, in several articles recently (this is just a portion of their recommendations):

When arriving at the hotel
•Pre-arrange for early hotel check-in so you can have more time to inspect for bed bugs.


• Here’s where your flashlight comes in handy! Inspect all the nooks and crannies of your hotel room, especially around mattresses, box springs, upholstered chairs, drawers, headboards, carpets, closets, and wall hangings. Indications of bed bug infestations include dark fecal spots, dried blood spots, eggs, and of course bed bugs – dead or alive.


• If possible, look behind your headboard to better inspect the bed as well as the headboard itself. (Bed bugs often reside in bed boards as they can remain there for longer amounts of uninterrupted time – without having the cleaners change the sheets daily like they do on the mattresses.)


• Pull the sheets off the mattresses and inspect all edges and folds in both the mattress and the box spring.
*Note: For a first-person story of a hotel bed bug encounter, blogger Oz Gal provided a creepy one.

I laughed when I read this advice--imagining what other curious items hotel guests are finding behind their headboards, under the mattresses, and beneath the box springs during these self-initiated critter inspections.

In my policing days, searching around these areas in hotel rooms was usually an adventure; one best performed with durable protective gloves and on an empty stomach. 

I found shotguns, handguns, shell casings, narcotics and equipment, and plenty of other disgusting things hidden that I have blocked from memory.

Here are two recent examples of what can be found in a hotel room:

Example #1 (the remains of a missing person)

Example #2 (the potent toxin Ricin)

I'll close with a thought: I believe that some of the folks who fear a bed bug infestation and search their hotel room as recommended may in the end preferred to have just found the annoying little reddish-brown insects.

46 comments:

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Oh, I am passing this on to my sister, who is coming to visit my city this coming month! She's coming for a convention--and this is not a souvenir she'll appreciate!

LOL,
Ann T.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Oh Yuck! That's why I traveled in my RV to avoid these nasty finds!

malone8 said...

Watching the bed bug news on TV, now this on your blog … think I'll just stay home.

http://maxiscomments.com

Nicole, RD said...

Makes me skin crawl!! I've heard so much about bed bugs lately, I think it's so important to check for them...and whatever else, too!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Holy Crapiola!?! Are they serious? Isn't Housekeeping supposed to check all that shite before ye get there???

Blagh!

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Totally gross! I'm NEVER staying in a hotel again. Thanks Slam...

Elena said...

Guess that cannister of Lysol I always carry into hotel rooms ain't gonna do much with those critters. Gross...

mrs. fuzz said...

Aaack! I will never stay in a hotel ever again!!!

Audrey Allure said...

Eeek! And bed bugs have been a more recent problem, popping up almost everywhere here in NYC.

Haha, but I wouldn't want to be searching for bed bugs for the first few hours of my vacation time.

obladi oblada said...

Ok now Im all itchy. And...I think Ill drag my camper everywhere...I dont think I want to stay in any more hotels.

Krista said...

LOL! Ew and... well, ew! Just, ew! ;o) I prefer not to think about what I don't see, when I stay in hotel rooms! ;o)

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

Can you cover yourself in bug spray, fumigate the bed and sleep in your sleeping bag? Just wondering.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

HAHAHAHA! Check this out from Wiki:

"Bed bug detection dogs are trained to pinpoint infestations, with an accuracy of 97.5%, and often in minutes where a pest control practitioner might need an hour.[71] [7] In the United States, about 100 dogs are used to find bedbugs as of mid-2009.[72]"

Are bedbug dogs cross trained as police dogs?

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Oh
My
Goodness.

And...this is why I have such a hard time staying in hotels. *shudder*

Sorry I haven't been blog hopping in forever! WriteOnCon got me out of the habit, but I'm trying to get back into it. I miss my blogging friends!

Luisa Doraz said...

Thank you. I have OCD as it is!!! lol I love the tips. Stay well and happy.

Elana Johnson said...

The remains of a missing person??? Oh my heck, I'm never going to stay in a hotel again.

Theresa Milstein said...

First you made me annoyed with myself for not checking for bedbugs. I just came back from a hotel a week ago!

As I read on, I became glad I hadn't checked the mattress and headboard. Now I just want to stay home.

izziedarling said...

You know, after all that trouble searching for bugs, you might as well stay home. Yikes. I NEVER go barefoot in a hotel room nor do I touch the bedspread ... doesn't matter how ritzy ... too many g monsters .........ewhhhhhhh.

Betty said...

This is SO pertinent -- I just read this "advice" the day my daughter and her friends were checking into a NYC hotel... as IF you are going to strip the bed, look under the mattress cover, and go searching for fecal matter. GROSS!!!!
Particularly when you're paying $200+ a night at a "cheap" hotel... I don't think I'll be pulling stuff apart in a hotel room anytime soon - thanks for the reality check!!

Anonymous said...

haha, yes, much rather encounter a bed bug than dead body parts. Rowe

Herding Cats said...

Ew, ew, ew. Never had an encounter. Never ever hope to!

Kristin said...

UGH, I can't believe we have to think about bedbugs now.

WomanHonorThyself said...

oish I aint nevah leavin home again...lol

Vodka and Ground Beef said...

I've found that I quite enjoy the bed bugs. I can feel them massaging my arms and legs, and it gives me a pleasant feeling. I can also feel them massaging my hair, which feels nice. Then someone told me I probably just have lice, but that's cool too. This is what the single life is all about - making peace with your environment. Cheers.

Holly said...

I just want to say that from someone who has had a problem with bed bugs (thanks to some VERY unclean roommates and their unclean friends) this advice is somewhat worthless. Bedbugs are nocturnal and hide INSIDE the mattress during the day. Which means a flashlight and early check-in are going to show you nothing. When the advice says that bed bugs hide inside bedboards and headboards they mean literally inside. Good luck explaining why you're taking the bed apart to hotel staff.

Also, bed bugs are TINY. You're not going to spot the eggs, and since mattresses are turned and changed frequently, you're probably not going to spot the dead bugs.

Unless the last visitor has stayed in the room for a week or more they are probably not going to bleed into the mattress. Bed bug bites, unless viscously scratched, don't get that inflamed and usually don't bleed unless it's a serious attack or the person has a severe allergic reaction. Most people don't.

The best thing to do is stay in very good, very clean hotels. Wash your sheets and clothes often and always wash them as soon as you return from a vacation. If you want to be really paranoid, don't let guests sleep in your home. (That's how we ended up with our infestation) But honestly, you can get bed bugs just from living in an apartment building with unclean neighbors or a dirty mattress.

ocmist said...

This is a scary, scary, post! We were going to go spend a night in a hotel tonight and decided not to because of the bed bug problems around here that have been on the news. We are just going to drive up early in the morning... :(

carma said...

even in the pre-bedbug infestation days, I was creeped out to even touch the bottom of the mattress, look under the bed. I'll need to put my husband on this mission :D

Pia said...

i saw on TV how bad this issue had become. i didn't know how they looked like before, now i know. yuck!

Jeanette K. said...

Great, now I am going to be completely creeped out the next time I stay at a hotel :(

teresaramoa said...

Oh boy, I read those recommendations as well, but after reading your post I think I almost prefer the bed bugs lol! Did you find those things in random hotels, saying like 5 star "apparently" nice hotels?

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
I've always believed that any trip that includes a hotel/motel stayover should not become a study in:
"Honey, you'll NEVER guess what I found in here..."

Then again, I remember times when we KNEW the room was CLEAN before we entered.

Good stuff you found here.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

That would be me. I'd rather imagine what might be lurking in the room.

Always hated when traveling with all three boys - having to look under the bed at checkout time to make sure we have everything. Everything of ours, that is.

SuziCate said...

We once found a dusty manicure kit that looked like the case was from thiry years ago!

Michelle Pixie said...

Oh I am cracking up over the travel tip and a little creeped out! I think I will just opt to stay home. ;-)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Ewwwww. I think I'll just stay home from now on. ;)

Candice said...

Um yeah, so we had a little bed bug situation in Africa. We brought them back from one of our weekend trips. Thank good ness we had another mattress in the basement that we were able to use for a while. We vacummed really well, washed all of our bedding and switched mattresses for several months. They were way easier to get rid of than I originally thought. Luckily they were just in our room, no where else. We figured it out via searching the interent and rid ourselves of them THAT NIGHT! We ALWAYS check hotel mattresses now!

Miss Caitlin S. said...

If I ever become the girl who searches her bed in search of bugs... just shoot me. I'm sorry but unless I see something heinous that truly makes me inspect where I'm sleeping, I assume that me (and the bed bugs) can sleep just fine! I also appreciate your expert experience... I would imagine you have seen quite a bit!

Oz Girl said...

I keep hearing more and more about these nasty lil critters in the news. Would you believe I FINALLY rec'd a letter from the Comfort Inn in Plainfield, IN, just last week?! I kid you not - from my January encounter. A free night has been offered - due to my current financial constraints, I may have to swallow my pride and take them up on the offer in late September when I travel back to Ohio for a visit. Of course I'll be checking every nook and cranny of the room, but I do that as a matter of procedure in EVERY hotel room these days anyway.

Ever since my experience, I will admit I wake up several times at night and turn on the light, checking the bed.

I never much liked staying in a hotel before, just because of the "ick" factor, sleeping in a bed that many others have slept in before oneself.

Now, staying in a hotel takes on even more "ick". Almost makes me want to catnap in my car instead.

Note to Holly: Bedbugs are not the sign of "unclean" people or "unclean" facilities - read some of the informational articles on the internet re: bedbugs and you'll find out that's why they are enjoying such an easy resurgence - they can be found at some of the top hotels in the country. The Comfort Inn I stayed at in Indiana was practically brand new. Bedbugs will hitch a ride in luggage - this is often the preferred transportation method of bedbugs. Always keep your luggage on the provided metal luggage stand - don't set it on the bed, or on the furniture. Luckily, I have never set mine on the bed, even before my unfortunate experience! And I have ALWAYS worn shoes or flip flops in a hotel room -- no bare feet for this gal!!!

(Thanks for the linky, well, I think....)

Slamdunk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Slamdunk said...

@ Katherine B.: Thanks for the link--I had no clue.

@ Teresaramoa: Yes, though the exclusive places are not exempt from firearms and other stuff being hidden under the bed, I certainly did find these items more often in the mid to low priced options.

Diana said...

Ick.

That's it. Just ICK.

*chills and shuddering*

Mmmm, thanks for that. LOL!

Meg said...

This just totally grosses me out to no end!!!!!

Meg

stoellergirl said...

Slamdunk you're right on about what to do, but I agree that is a little extreme sometimes. I found some bed bug prevention tips when traveling about not leaving your luggage on the floor and I try to do that the most, and I'll pull back my sheets. I don't think I'd want to even look behind the headboard because who knows what you'd find other than bed bugs- and that might make my skin crawl more than bed bugs. Thanks for making me laugh about bed bugs scenarios.

Lipstick said...

This is very useful. Undeniably useful except now my head is itching just from reading.

Momma Fargo said...

OMG! You made me laugh. Needed that today. LOL

Jean said...

I got caught by those things, and seriously... don't take them lightly. After experiencing bed bugs I feel faintly affectionate towards the following: 1. Fleas 2. Roaches 3. Rats 4. Spiders 5. Bees 6. Mosquitos Ok maybe not the ones with Malaria, but bed bugs really suck. They drive you pretty psycho with paranoia, too. Kill them, then follow up every five days, using a bed bug poison not any hold thing.