Bedbugs and traveling responsibly
April 1, 2008 8:52 PM   Subscribe

How to responsibly stay at a hotel for a night when I think my home has bedbugs?

So, I'm going to visit family this weekend. I don't want to stay with them because I have gotten a few suspicious itchy bumps recently, picked up the mattress and am sure I saw a bedbug. I'm living in NYC in an area where many of the buildings have recently had problems with the bugs (though I'm under the impression most or all of NYC has problems with them right now). I'm not staying at a hotel to avoid my own home or anything like that. I just don't want my lovely family to have to go through what it sounds like can be an agonizing process of extermination.

I want to spare my family. So, I'm planning to stay at a hotel.

I also don't want hapless travelers after me to get bedbugs if I happen to bring one or two along for the ride, and I don't want the hotel to have to deal with the bedbugs either. Family comes first for me, but I want to be responsible to others as well.

1) What can I do myself to minimize the chance of spreading bedbugs to the hotel?

2) Should I notify hotel management? How, and when?

I wouldn't want the hotel somehow suing me for bringing bedbugs down upon them, should they get one from my luggage. I'm going to Syracuse, if it matters, and I don't know how understanding a hotel there would be since I don't know if they are as pervasive a problem up there as down here. It will probably be a place like a Hampton Inn or Fairfield, if how upscale the place is might affect how they will react or how I should broach the topic. I want to believe that I have a minor infestation and that I killed any bugs I did have yesterday when I sprayed the hell out of my mattress, frame, and moldings, but I also know that bedbug sufferers sometimes are in denial about it, so I realize that while I don't want to think I could bring bedbugs with me, I might. Hence the concern about being responsible about it and doing the right thing, while having the necessity stay somewhere upstate for a night.

Thanks for any advice.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yikes. I admire your wanting to keep the bedbug epidemic from spreading, but I would be way more concerned about getting your house bedbug-free than keeping the hotel bedbug-free. Anyway.

I'd make sure that any clothing you bring with you has been laundered/drycleaned between the time it leaves your house and is brought into the hotel. And i'd buy a new suitcase, or at least a use a light-colored duffle or something where you can visually make sure you're not bringing any critters along with you on the trip.

Also, dryclean your coat. Don't put it on anyone's bed/furniture until you do so. (That's how one of my friends got bedbugs-- someone's coat was laid on their bed at a party and that person was in bedbug-hell at the time.)

I can't imagine a hotel could sue you about bedbugs because how could they prove they were YOUR bedbugs?
posted by np312 at 9:15 PM on April 1, 2008

I had a blessedly brief bedbug episode last year. They weren't nearly as tenacious as the ones the bedbug blogs and mailing lists deal with, yet I'm sure they're bedbugs. Anyway, what you want to do is buy a load of extra-large resealable plastic bags -- 2 to 20 gallons. These work great for clothes. You wash stuff hot, you tumble dry it hot, and you whisk it into a plastic bag right away. They're transparent, so you can keep an eye on individual bags for sign of crawlies. And you can put smaller bags inside of bigger ones for ersatz luggage.

Avoid carting any cloth-type luggage with you, or use as little as possible, and use the fold-out luggage stand to hold your luggage instead of the hotel's furniture. Hanging stuff in the closet should be OK, but keep it away from the walls. Police your car carefully before leaving, and inspect the hotel room immediately in all the usual places (you have an LED flashlight, right?).

The legal aspects are the least of your worries. I wouldn't even think about it. Hotels don't want to sue because it would mean publicity. There are some stories about landlords suing and evicting people, but it's all very random and there's little recent case law to guide anyone.

Bedbugger travel tips (mostly about not picking them up)
posted by dhartung at 11:44 PM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'd imagine having a shower or bath before going to bed would help
posted by hungrysquirrels at 5:22 AM on April 2, 2008

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