Bedbugs: how do I avoid them when travelling?

Learn more about bedbugs

Bedbugs can easily hide in luggage, clothing, and other personal items, so take a few precautions while travelling to keep them from coming home with you.

While travelling

  • Don't bring your pillow. It gives bedbugs another place to hide and a chance to come home with you.
  • Pack some large white sealable plastic garbage bags in case you need to separate any belongings while on the road.

On the road or in the air

  • Light-coloured plastic luggage is best, because bedbugs are less attracted to plastic and the lighter colour makes them easier to spot. If you have dark-coloured or cloth luggage, you could enclose the luggage in a white plastic garbage bag and seal it.

In the hotel room

  • Do a complete inspection of the room before bringing luggage, pets or other items in.
  • Do not put your luggage on the bed. Place your luggage on a tile floor (like in the bathroom), away from any upholstered (soft) surfaces.
  • Once you have checked the luggage stand (including where the straps are attached to the metal bars), keep your luggage on the stand instead of unpacking your belongings and placing them in the drawers.
  • Inspect the sleeping area. Slowly lift up each corner of the mattress and examine the creases and tufts of the mattress and box spring, behind the headboard and the wall behind the bed, the pillows, bed coverings and bed skirt, the bed frame and legs.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect the inside of the closet, paying special attention to any cracks or crevices.
  • During your stay, place your shoes in an open area. Do not store anything under the bed.
  • If you find signs of bedbugs, notify the front desk and ask for another room, or stay somewhere else. If you change rooms in the same hotel, make sure your new room is not next to the possibly infested room.

When you return

  • Before bringing luggage into your home, place it on a hard surface away from any places bedbugs could crawl to and hide, and check it carefully.
  • Unpack your clothing and check personal items (like hairbrush and cosmetic case).
  • Wash all clothing and fabric items in hot water, regardless of whether you wore them or not.
  • Dry non-washable items in the clothes dryer on the highest heat for 30 minutes.
  • Vacuum your luggage. Throw out the vacuum bag in a sealed garbage bag right away. Wash any vacuum cleaner brush or nozzle attachments you used in hot water with detergent. For a bagless vacuum cleaner, empty the dust collector into a garbage bag, throw out the bag immediately, and also wash the dust collector in hot water with detergent.

At the Laundromat

  • Avoid bringing your laundry in a cloth bag unless you plan to wash and dry the bag. Use light-coloured plastic baskets that are easy to inspect when they are empty.
  • Do not set your laundry basket on the floor, or near the seating area or trash cans. Place your basket on top of the washer and check it thoroughly before putting clean laundry back into it.
  • Check any chairs before you sit down.
  • Check the table used for folding laundry before putting your clean laundry on it, or fold your clean laundry at home.

For more information on pesticide use and regulation, contact Health Canada's Pest Management Information Service.

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