While more vigilant about pests at home, travellers often overlook the risk posed by certain pests in accommodations away from their residences. After all, if they aren’t in your home, there’s less to worry about. However, one pest, in particular, could return with you from your trip: bed bugs. In this guide, we’ll explain how to check your temporary lodgings for bed bugs and give you some simple steps you can take with you to safeguard your belongings and enjoy your travels.

Understanding Bed Bugs: What You Need to Know

Bed bugs are highly efficient hitchhikers. They can move quickly across a room and climb onto luggage or anything left on a bed in just one night. Hotels are ideal homes for bed bugs because of the ready supply of fresh hosts to feed on. They are also found in these spaces because of how difficult it is to control bed bugs in hotels due to the number of rooms.

Checking Your Accommodations

Upon arrival at your hotel, always inspect your hotel room. It is worth noting that bed bugs are not a sanitation or cleanliness issue. This means they can be found in any hotel or motel—from a one-star up to a five-star location. 

What to Look For

Travellers should look for live insects, blood stains on sheets or mattresses, and dead bugs and eggs throughout the room. Additionally, with any large infestation of bed bugs, you will notice a sweet, musty odour, similar to soda pop syrup. 

The Inspection Procedure

Bed bugs usually hide close to the humans they feed on. These pests are known to be nocturnal, so it’s best to inspect various areas in-depth during the day. 

Inspect the Bed

Bed bugs are often found in the crevices of mattresses. When inspecting, pay particular attention to the seams and tight areas, including box springs and sheets. 

Examine Your Surroundings

Once you’ve searched through the bed and mattress, pay careful attention to other furniture with upholstery. Couches, in particular, can also be a habitat for bed bugs. Ensure you also look behind baseboards and pictures on the wall. Bed bugs may even hide in cracked or torn wallpaper, so check there, too. 

Safeguarding Your Belongings

Even after you’ve inspected your hotel room and found no signs of bed bugs, it’s important to take precautions and keep your belongings secured from a potential infestation.


Your luggage is a prime way bed bugs can come home from your trip with you. Consider following these tips to ensure that doesn’t happen:

  • Avoid placing your luggage directly on the bed. If bed bugs are present, they can climb into bags, suitcases or any laundry left on the bed.
  • Use a metal luggage rack at all times. Bed bugs cannot easily climb metal surfaces, making these racks an ideal overnight spot for your suitcase. Keep the rack away from the walls and any wooden furniture.

When packing to check out, always examine your luggage to ensure that you have not picked up any unwelcome guests. Since bed bugs are such great hitchhikers, ensure you check your luggage upon your return home. Consider unpacking and checking your bags in your garage or utility room before bringing them inside your house. Immediately launder all cloth items in hot water, and dry them on the hottest setting. This can help reduce the chances of introducing bed bugs into your home.


Use small plastic bags to pack clothing, shoes and other personal items. This will help prevent bed bugs that climb into your suitcase from getting into your house with your clothing. 

Personal Items

In addition to being great hitchhikers, bed bugs are also masters at hiding. They have been known to hide in books, cloth toiletry kits, and other non-metal personal items. Ensure your belongings are secure properly throughout your trip, and keep them elevated and away from the bed and other upholstered items. 

What to Do if You Find Bed Bugs

Bed bugs thrive in dark, cool places with long-term access to humans. They can also be found on airplane, train, and bus seats or in rental cars. It’s rare, but picking up bed bugs in places like these is possible.

Efficiently treating and detecting a bed bug infestation requires the use of an experienced and professional pest management company. At Orkin Canada, we leverage our extensive knowledge, tools, and expertise to help you remove bed bugs effectively. If you recently returned from a vacation and would like to schedule an inspection, contact your local Orkin Pro today