This Strategic Choice At The Airport Could Save You From Bedbugs

As we've come to learn from the infamous Paris bedbug crisis, bedbugs don't just live in the crevices of mattresses — they can thrive just about anywhere. In 2023, a surge in bedbug infestations was observed across public spaces, primarily those associated with travel. There were reported infestations in trains, buses, and airports, with some even forced to temporarily close to make way for urgent treatment. "'Bedbug' is such a misnomer," Bedbug Researcher Stephen Kells told Scientific American. "They should also be called pet bugs and suitcase bugs and train bugs and movie theater bugs."

If you frequently travel and want to pull all the stops to minimize your encounters with these creepy crawlers during your trips, precautions extend beyond sealing your clothes in airtight bags. You can do some bedbug dodging at the airport, too, and it's as simple as avoiding sitting on upholstered chairs. While it may be tempting to utilize your lounge privileges and laze around on cushy seats while you wait for your boarding call, it may not be the best idea if you want to avoid bedbugs altogether. The pesky insects have a tendency to hide in dark and cozy places, aka the recesses of cushioned furniture. So it's in your best interest to steer clear of those seats, no matter how comfortable they seem to be. Find waiting areas with plastic or metal chairs instead. Or, you know, walk around. At least that'll help you complete your daily steps!

How else to prevent bed bugs while traveling

When you go on trips, you want to bring home souvenirs, not bed bugs. To avoid this, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends to use luggage with a hardshell vs a soft-sided one so bed bugs won't have anything to cling to. Upon arriving at your hotel or Airbnb, it's also recommended that you avoid placing your luggage on the floor or even a spare bed. Place it on a rack or in the bathtub (assuming it's dry) instead. That way, you can lessen your chances of bed bugs crawling into your stuff as you conduct a room inspection.

Speaking of inspection, be thorough when you're doing it. Scrutinize everything from the sheets to the headboard to the seams of the mattress. Examine the couch and side tables, too, for good measure. Carrying a flashlight can be handy, as it helps you inspect dark corners where the pests may be congregating.

In the event that you do find bed bugs, Dr. Jim Fredericks, senior vice president of public affairs at the National Pest Management Association, advises switching hotels right away. Speaking with "Good Morning America," he noted: "Do not stay in an adjacent room. When signs of bed bugs are present, it is important to contact a qualified pest control professional to confirm the infestation and recommend a course of treatment."