This Is The Very First Thing You Should Do When You Walk Into A Hotel Room
There are few things as heavenly as climbing into a warm, plush hotel bed after a long day of traveling.
However, before you order room service and dive into a “Law & Order: SVU” rerun or immediately conk out, there’s one thing you should always do. Actually, it’s the first thing you should do as soon as you walk into your room:
Check for bed bugs.
“I have two really good friends who have gotten bed bugs in New York [hotels] before,” HuffPost Senior Editor Caroline Bologna told us — Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, co-hosts of HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast.
The tiny critters, which feed on human blood while we’re sleeping, are “about the size of an apple seed” and “big enough to be easily seen, but often hide in cracks in furniture, floors, or walls,” according to a NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene guide to stopping bed bugs in hotels. The insects often hitch a ride into a hotel room in a guest’s suitcase or on their clothes and then continue to thrive there by snacking on new, unsuspecting travelers.
Paris made headlines last year when scores of hotels were reportedly infested with bed bugs, but the city of light definitely isn’t the only one facing this problem. In fact, a 2017 study found that eight out of 10 hotels had dealt with the pests during the previous year.
“It doesn’t matter how nice the hotel is ― they’re not attracted to grime,” Bologna noted. Bed bugs are attracted to “warmth, blood and carbon dioxide” — all of which are amply provided by humans, so no matter how well-rated or luxurious a hotel might be, it could still be a haven for them.
If you don’t want to end up being a bed bug’s next meal — or potentially bringing them home with you in your luggage — spend your first 30 seconds in your room doing a sweep of any area where they might be lurking.
“They like upholstery — just look at the sheets,” Bologna explained. “Just peel back one of the corners of the bed, look at the seams of the mattress… just check. Check anything upholstered. Look at the headboard. Look at the chairs. If you don’t see anything, you’re probably totally fine.”
However, if you’re still worried, there are a few more steps you can take.
“People who are really cautious — like my friends who have had bed bugs — put their suitcase in the bathtub… just not on upholstery,” she said, so if there are any bed bugs in the room, they won’t get into it. “Most hotel rooms are carpeted, so just don’t have your bag on carpeting.”
You can also attempt to bed-bug proof the fabric luggage stand in the room.
“Some people travel with plastic trash bags,” Bologna said. “You put the plastic around it and then put your suitcase on it, because bed bugs don’t really hang out on plastic.”
If you do find bed bugs in the room, alert the hotel management immediately.
“If you decide you don’t want to leave the hotel but you want to switch rooms, don’t move to an adjacent room because that would be likely to have the same problem,” Bologna warned.
We also chatted about the best way to score an upgrade, the dirtiest parts of hotel rooms and hacks for cleaning them, and many more hotel secrets:
After you’ve had a listen above or wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe to “Am I Doing It Wrong?” so you don’t miss a single episode, including our investigations of the ins and outs of tipping, how to score the best deals on airline tickets, how to apologize or vanquish your credit card debt, how to find love online or overcome anxiety, online shopping tips and the secrets to taking care of your teeth and pooping like a pro.
Need some help with something you’ve been doing wrong? Email us at AmIDoingItWrong@HuffPost.com, and we might investigate the topic in an upcoming episode.
A No-B.S. Guide To Life