What are the Chances of Bringing Bed Bugs Home From a Hotel?

What Are the Chances of Bringing Bed Bugs Home From a Hotel?

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Last updated on June 7th, 2023 at 04:43 am

One of the perks of traveling, besides exploring different places, is the diversity of accommodation. Hotels offer different options to different travelers. Most hotels maintain a high standard of hygiene because the needs of each guest are unique. However, not all travelers practice good hygiene, and that’s where the problem lies. 

Travelers bring with them a myriad of surprises. Some can be taken care of, while some might make your skin crawl. And all these surprises end up in hotels. Hotels can be breeding grounds for different pests, including bed bugs. Travelers come with them and leave them there. 

A quick chat with bed bug extermination experts will let you know that even the most beautiful hotels can have bed bugs. So, let’s find out your chances of bringing bed bugs home from a hotel and how you can get rid of them. 

How Easy Is It to Bring Bed Bugs Home from a Hotel?

It is extremely easy to bring bed bugs home from a hotel. And the more you go to a hotel, the more your chances of bringing home bed bugs increase. Perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “I’m a clean person and I visit clean hotels.” Sure, you might be a clean guest and your hotel might be clean. Still, bed bugs are adept at hiding in the most unlikely of places. 

Every time you use public transportation, you expose yourself to bed bugs. The person next to you might have a bed bug on them. Bed bugs can hide in crevices, clothes, luggage, and other places where they can’t be noticed immediately. All they require to multiply is to move from one host to another. They will quickly move from another person’s body to yours. And once you get home, they will find a breeding spot and begin reproducing. 

How Likely Are You to Get Bed Bugs from a Hotel?

Hotels are among the top three places where you’re likely to find bed bugs–the first two being single-family homes and apartments/condos. And if you don’t get bed bugs from the beds in a hotel, you might get them from another person’s luggage. Hotels change sheets every night. However, bed bugs hide in cracks in the furniture. 

Hotels are such high-risk areas for bed bug infestations that some hotel owners hire exterminators regularly to reduce the chances of an infestation. If you are a frequent traveler who enjoys staying in hotels, always check the furniture/furnishings in your room thoroughly before you start unpacking.

How Do I Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home From A Hotel?

How Do I Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home From A Hotel?

Staying in a hotel may be inevitable, but bringing home bed bugs is avoidable. These tips will help you reduce the chances of a bed bug infestation at your home. 

  1. Inspect Your Hotel Room

Before you start unpacking, quickly scan the bed and any couches or armchairs. Take time to look at the seams and folds of the mattress. Any small, dark stains may be a sign of an infestation. If the infestation is pretty bad, you may even be able to see pearly white eggs or castaway shells (ugh!).

  1. Examine The Wooden Headboards Closely

Most people have the misconception that bed bugs only cling to fabric. However, they can use their claws to climb bed frames. Check the front side and the back side of the headboard, as the critters often hide in cracks. 

However, it’s worth mentioning that the headboards in many hotels are quite heavy. Be careful as you peek, and don’t get too close to the headboards. If you do, the bugs might get on your clothes unnoticeably. Don’t be dramatic and take the headboard off the wall.

  1. Know How to Identify Bed  Bugs 

Most people who know what bed bugs look like have dealt with an infestation at one time or another. But even if you’ve never had one, you can know how to identify the pesky critters. When you know what bed bugs look like, you can notify the hotel as soon as you spot them.

Adult bed bugs have a reddish-brown color and measure about a quarter-inch in length. The younger ones are smaller in size and usually have a creamy coloration.

And here’s another feature that can help you to identify bed bugs: they crawl. If you see bugs jumping or flying in your hotel room, it’s not bed bugs.

And once you find bed bugs in your hotel room, take a specimen. Take one and put it in one of the glasses in your room or in a plastic bag. You will have proof that the room had bed bugs.

  1. Do Not Put Your Suitcase on the Floor

A mated bed bug or multiple bed bugs must stow away in order to bring an infestation home, but it’s important to take precautions. So, where do you put your suitcase if not on the floor? In the bathroom!

It sounds like a crazy idea, doesn’t it? But here’s the thing: bed bugs stay in areas where there is a higher likelihood of human contact. Bed bugs don’t stay in bathrooms because they don’t like water. They don’t need it to live (they need blood for that) and will quickly die if they are submerged in water. Keep your luggage in the hotel bathroom in a well-lit area–away from dark cracks. This might seem like it’s a bit much, but you’re better safe than sorry.

Taking bed bugs home is a matter of probability, and you can lower the probability by being more careful. In the world of bedbugs, anything is possible. It’s up to you to make a decision about the precautions you take.

  1. Once You Get Home, Unpack Immediately

If you think bed bugs live on a person’s body, you’re wrong.  What they do is they bite you, and then they leave. After all, they are in it for the food–blood. However, bed bugs can easily cling to the fabric of a suitcase or to your clothes. Once you get home and notice a few unwanted guests, put everything you had in the hotel in the dryer. High heat kills bed bugs at all life stages. Put the clothes in the dryer for about 30 minutes.

What about the suitcase? Just get a luggage heater–a tool invented for this purpose, however, it’s worth noting that luggage heaters are pricey. But there’s a simpler solution in the summer.

When it’s hot outside, put the suitcase in a closed car for a day or two. In summer, a car’s temperature can get as high as 80 degrees. This is enough to kill any bed bugs in a suitcase.”

  1. Declutter and Declutter Some More
How Do I Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home From A Hotel?

One thing most people never think about when they have a bed bug infestation is decluttering. Bed bugs can be quite taxing on mental health, and it can be hard to think of anything else when you have them in your house. However, if you reduce clutter, you ensure they don’t have a place to hide. 

But if you’re sure you already have these bothersome critters in your home,  get outside help. There are many horror stories about people who tried to control bedbugs and things went horribly wrong. The last thing you want is to be one of them. Reach out to a professional and let them do all the work. Once they are done, you can start decluttering.

Can I Get a Refund If a Hotel Has Bed Bugs?

Like most service providers, hotels hate bad reviews. A complaint about a bed bug infestation can spell doom for a hotel, and that’s why most hotel owners prefer to refund visitors. However, if you have a valid complaint about bed bugs, you can sue the hotel. 

You can claim compensation in a small claims court. Because the hotel proprietors won’t want any negative publicity, they will probably settle the matter privately instead of risking a court case. You will get a full refund for the number of days you stayed in the hotel. If you brought the bed bugs home from the hotel, you may get a full refund and some extra money–especially if you can prove that the bed bug infestation was as a result of staying at the hotel. 

What to Do If You Stayed in a Hotel with Bed Bugs?

If you realize that you stayed in a hotel with bed bugs, you need to gather everything you had with you at the hotel. If you haven’t unpacked the luggage, good. Just put it–and your clothes–in an isolated location to reduce the chances of spreading bed bugs. 

If you realize that the hotel room has bed bugs the next day, take pictures and keep them as proof. This might work in your favor if the case becomes a legal matter. Also, make sure you notify the hotel of its bed bug problem. Get rid of the bed bugs in your luggage by taking the suitcases to a laundromat as soon as you leave the hotel. If you are still in the hotel, isolate yourself and your luggage. Reduce contact with people until you have solved your bed bug problem. 

Can You Sue a Hotel for Having Bed Bugs?


You have every right to sue a hotel if it has bed bugs. You would have a great case in a small claims court if you were bitten by bed bugs in a hotel. And your case would even be stronger if you showed evidence of the bed bugs and it was proven that the hotel knew it had a bed bug infestation but you weren’t made aware. 

Most hotels avoid such cases by making sure their rooms are free of bed bugs. It is cheaper to prevent a bed bug infestation than to compensate people who get bitten by bed bugs in their hotel rooms. 

How Much Compensation Do You Get for Bed Bugs?

How Much Compensation Do You Get for Bed Bugs

Hotels usually compensate victims of bed bug attacks. Although there is no exact figure when it comes to how much hotels pay, compensation ranges between $25000 and $500,000 (Yep, it’s unimaginable!). We arrived at this figure after examining hundreds of previous bed bug cases

There are 3 things that help determine the value of the lawsuit:

  1. The number of times you were bitten.
  2. The physical and emotional damage the critters caused.
  3. The damage caused by the bed bugs to your personal property.

How Should Hotels Compensate for Bed Bugs?

If you’re a hotel manager and a client comes to you and says he suffered from a bed bug infestation in your hotel, there are a few ways you can compensate them–as long as they can prove it. This helps you to avoid any court cases or negative reviews. 

First, agree to compensate them for any money they spent treating bed bug bites. You should also compensate the client if they paid to have the bed bugs exterminated. Also, you could offer the client a free vacation at an alternative location. 

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