Travelling is an eye-opening, healthy experience that is sure to make some everlasting memories for all who get to enjoy it. But, with travelling, there can be some little niggles (literally) that cause you to carry some additional passengers; bed bugs!
Obviously, you don’t want to have to deal with bed bugs, but when you consider how many people pass through hotels and hostels, in particular, it’s no wonder that you can come into contact with these little critters.
What is a bed bug?
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. Common bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood while other species opt to specialise in other animals. You might be able to smell a bed bug before you see them; they present a musty scent, the NHS website states.
They get their name from the fact that they like a habitat that encompasses that of warm houses and places that offer beds they can be inside. Bed bugs are mostly active during the night-time, although they’re not utterly nocturnal.
What are the effects of bed bug bites?
There are a number of unfavourable health effects that can come as a result of bed bug bites which include:
- Skin rashes
- Psychological effects
- Allergic symptoms
If you’re keen to avoid bed bugs while travelling, which we do not doubt you will, then follow our top tips on how you can achieve this.
Tip 1: Lift your luggage
Instead of putting your luggage on the beds in your accommodation, use either wire luggage frames or racks. Alternatively, you can put your luggage on the tiled floor in the bathroom, if it’s not a multi-person dorm and is safe to do so.
You can also opt to seal up your luggage while you sleep with a bin liner and/or hang the bag(s) from a curtain rail, bed frame, a shower rail, all of which will prevent bed bugs gaining access to your luggage.
Tip 2: Use preventative sprays on mattresses
It can be advantageous to carry some anti-bed bug sprays with you while you’re travelling, that way you can promote the repelling of these little critters from your bed.
SleepAdvisor.org recommend taking non-toxic sprays with you which you can spray over the mattress before you get in it to sleep. Focal points of the mattress should be cracks, corners and edges. You can even try making your own at home for next to nothing that can then be taken with you.
Tip 3: Request mattress covers
Okay, still not ideal, but a protective barrier to keep you away from any lurking bed bugs that may be in the mattress, so, if you make contact ahead of your arrival and ask if mattress covers are used, you can decide on your next plan of action.
It’s not totally bed bug-proof, but a mattress cover makes it significantly harder for the bugs to live in the bed if the mattress has an impassable layer.
Should the mattresses not be protected, you can always look into somewhere else to stay that does. Covers like this don’t give you complete immunity from bed bugs, but it goes a long way towards securing you a lessened chance of happenstances with these little guys while you sleep.
Tip 4: Sleep in a silk liner
If you’ve gone travelling and the accommodation has been booked up by a friend, for example, and you’re not 100% satisfied that the place is going to be bed bug-free, then you can take positive action to safeguard yourself from bites by sleeping in a sleeping bag with silk liners.
These liners are the best option to cut out contact. Anecdotal evidence from hikers and travellers suggests that bites are reduced at the very least, if not eliminated. Something is better than nothing, right?
Tip 5: Use a natural repellent to apply on your skin
Similarly to the previous point, if you arrive somewhere and there’s a known infestation of bed bugs, of which you can do little about, then you can take measures to protect yourself with skin repellent.
Simply feature in a natural bed bug repellent as part of your bedtime routine by thoroughly covering any and all skin that is exposed. This upshot of this is that if any bugs are able to get past the mattress you’ve sprayed, and the silk-lined sleeping bag/silk liner a third defence is at hand to help deter them.
Are there any natural repellents for warding off bed bugs?
Yes. You can use several different natural repellents that have been proven to be effective in cutting out encounters with bed bugs, which include ingredients such as:
- Tea tree
*Tip: these repellents should feature an oily texture!
There are many things to think about when you are travelling and staying safe on vacation, bed bugs shouldn’t be something you need to worry about anymore!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.