IMG_1638Ahhh…Christmas and New Year Vacation: a time filled with food, family and travel.

But if you’re lucky enough to stay in a hotel instead of obnoxious Aunt Martha’s spare room, don’t forget there may be willing critters eager to join your return trip: bed bugs.

Oh, that’s right. Hotels are one of the most common places to find bed bugs and if you’re not careful, you might bring these opportunistic freeloaders back home in little Susie’s Holiday Barbie gift set.  I say this from personal experience these brown, six-legged creatures are extremely uncomfortable and expensive house-guests.

And how might you avoid an unwelcome encounter with a hotel bed bug? Research the hotel at which you chose to stay and inspect the room before you check in. Here’s some tips to help your holiday vacation flow smoothly and ensure the only items you bring back home are certified gifts!

1. Check hotel review sites like and to make sure there are no bed bug complaints about the hotel in which you choose to stay. If there are, I wouldn’t stay there if I were you.

2.  Don’t bring personal items into your hotel until you’ve inspected the room for bed bugs.

3. Inspect the mattress, headboard, sheets, and sofa bed for bed bug skin, excrement, or live bed bugs. Excrement appears as tiny black spots sort of like poppy seeds and the skin is small and brown. Bed bugs are flat and can be seen quite easily. They would fit perfectly in size on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s head on a U.S. dime.

4. Also look inside the bedside table drawers. Often times travelers spot a white powdery residue that often indicates a hotel recently has treated a room for bed bugs.

5. If you don’t find signs of bed bugs, you might do well to keep luggage far away from bedding, such as luggage stands or even in the bathroom. These critters can be transported via your clothing and luggage.

6. Keep used clothing locked in zipped disposable bags so you can immediately wash at home.

7. Wash everything in hot water when you return home and throw clean clothes in a hot dryer. Bed bugs cannot survive in extremely hot temperatures.

8. You might want to spray your luggage with rubbing alcohol upon your return home.