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:
“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…