Everyone's travel nightmare: bedbugs
When my son was 2 months old, we took a trip to Quebec city with my Mom and Dad who were visiting from Vancouver. I was not working and my husband was a medical resident so we chose a suite hotel that was moderately priced (around $120/night). My parents had their own hotel room next door to us.
Photo of Quebec City from www.quebecregion.com
That night at around 3 AM in the morning, my son awoke, crying. Since my husband was also awake too, I turned on the bedroom lights, placed the baby on the bed to change his diaper. As I was finishing up, I noticed that there were some tiny black dots on the bed next to the baby that was...moving! I quickly handed the baby to my husband and took a closer look. There were tiny dots the size of pepper moving very slowly towards the center of the bed. I jumped back and did a little yelp. I then turned around and stripped the baby of his clothes and checked his body. He had two small bites on one leg, and another on the other. I looked at my husband and he quickly whipped off his shirt. He had over 30 bites on his back! I was livid. I myself had not slept in the bed yet since I am a night owl and like to watch TV. Thank heavens!
I ran next door to my parents and banged on the door until they woke up. I told them to check their beds. My mother knew what to look for since she has seen them in her youth. She found a massive bed bug in her bed that was the size of a dime! We complained to management who moved us to rooms on a different floor. The following morning, the staff returned our cleaned clothes and we left for home, not bothering to stay another day in the city. When we arrived home, we took all our suitcases and tightly bagged them in garbage bags. The wicker bassinet that we brought along for the trip was thrown away. We also rewashed all our clothes and put the shoes we wore for the trip in plastic bags. For the next few months, we checked our furniture and beds for signs of infestation.
Today, I revisited this rather ugly travel memory with my friend Ann who responded with a story about her brother and his wife. They bring hand warmers and stick one in the hotel bed a few hours before they tuck in for the night. They then check to see if there are any bugs congregating around the hand warmer since bed bugs are attracted to warmth. Trudy, who was also having a chat with us, had another suggestion. Hand warmers can be purchased inexpensively at Fleetfarm.
As a precaution, we heat our luggage after a trip if we suspect a bug infection, using the Packtite Bedbug Killer. You can purchase it from Amazon.com.
*Below, I recommend another brand of luggage heater as the Packtite has issues a recall.
Packtite Bedbug Killer
Before you travel, you can check your chosen hotel with the Bedbug Registry. I also look for complaints of vermin and bugs in the hotel reviews in TripAdvisor. Have a happy bug-free trip!