NEXT time you travel, be careful to avoid a common habit that should leave your skin crawling.
According to experts, the first thing you do when you check in to your hotel might have long-lasting – and gross – consequences.
When you walk into a hotel room, there are things you do right away: kick off your shoes, hang up your jacket, and unpack your suitcase.
But pest control experts told the team at Cubby that if you put your suitcase on the bed to sort through it, you’re putting yourself at risk.
Brittany Campbell, PhD, is the staff entomologist for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
“Bed bugs are typically found on mattresses, box springs, and in the crevices of furniture and inside upholstery,” Campbell explained.
If you place your suitcase on the bed, insects could make a new home in your clothes, or embed themselves in the lining of the luggage.
But don’t think that using the hotel-supplied luggage rack will keep your clothing safe from an infestation.
Depending on the style of rack the hotel provides, it could also be harboring bed bugs.
“Avoid using racks with hollow legs, since bed bugs can hide within the legs,” Campbell warned.
Most read in Lifestyle
If you aren’t going to store your suitcase on the luggage rack, or place it on the bed, where should you keep it?
Campbell suggested moving the suitcase to a different part of the hotel room, one with little fabric or upholstered furniture to host the insects.
Store your suitcase in the bathtub, she said, and you’ll avoid picking up any bugs that previous inhabitants of the room might have left behind.
“For added protection, you can place your suitcases in plastic trash bags during the duration of the trip,” Campbell added.
You can seal the plastic bag during the night, then easily slip the cover back down when you need to access your bag.
According to the pest expert, bed bugs can be present in any lodging, from a roadside motel to a luxury resort.
“Bed bugs are extremely skilled hitchhikers,” Campbell told the outlet.
You could bring bed bugs home with you, or you could spread them during travel.
Depending on your transportation method, a particularly bad infestation could also spread along an airplane, train, or bus.
For that reason, it’s a wise idea to quarantine your suitcase in the bathroom when you return home.
If you wind up bringing home bed bugs, this will buy you time to contact a local pest control expert to help take care of the infestation.